Thing 18: Infographics and Data Visualization (17/18)

After doing my last post on Annual Report, being impressed by Tony Vincent’s infograph from App-palooza, and attempting to make a newsletter, I realized I needed to do Thing 18: Infographics and Data Visualization.  We’re beyond the age of power point and slide shows.  People want to look at something quickly and be informed.  Infographics need to be informative, easy to read, and visually beautiful.

So I read The Anatomy of an Infographic by Sneh Roy, Producing Info Pics by Tony Vincent, Infographics Lie: Here’s How to Spot the B.S. by Randy Olson, and I watched the Ted Ex talk by David McCandless and Infographics as a Creative Assessment by Kathy Schrock.

Many of the articles and videos covered similar concepts.  Infographics must be visually stimulating with accurate and meaningful content.  David McCandless mentioned that he was self-taught in the art of design literacy, mostly because there are so many great examples to study and learn from.  Both David McCandless and Randy Olson point out that it’s important to read infographics for accuracy.  Just as with Fake News, consumers need to check the source, read the labels carefully, and be aware that we tend to trust images more than text.


I wrote down a list of apps and websites to try with my students.  I am thinking of many ways my students can begin creating infographics or at least using design literacy tools in order to make book summaries, valentine cards for ePals, or as in my example below, to highlight the benefits of a database.  I can see the application for design literacy skills in nearly every lesson moving forward.

database awesomeness.png

Fourth and fifth grades will be moving into comparing databases with searching the world wide web.  I will use this infographic to introduce databases and also to model what I would like them to accomplish in their own creation of an infographic using the app phonto.



Thing 32: Annual Reports – Make Them Matter (17/18)

Our amazing middle school librarian, Rebecca Ekstrom, does quarterly and annual reports for her library.  This is my third year in our district and she recently approached our elementary team about joining her in this annual reports initiative.  I’ve seen a few annual reports and worked on my own for coursework or internships, but I have yet to do one in my current district.  I like the clear message in several of the articles included for Thing 32, keep annual reports brief and visually stimulating and relevant to student impact.

The Blue Skunk Blog by Doug Johnson had a couple articles to this point.  I started with 7 Tips for Making Your Principal Your Ally.  His list of tips are great.  Most importantly, I think creating an annual report for my principal and staff will help inform those I work with and create an ally out of not only my principal but my staff as well.  I found a comment on the Teen Services Underground blog by Sereena Hamm about a monthly newspaper called “The Toilet Paper,” which is installed on bathroom doors for light and easy bathroom reading.  While entertaining people and being humorous doesn’t come naturally to me, I think something like this could be enormously valuable.

Library Girl’s School Library Annual Reports: Connecting the Dots Between Your Library and Student Learning, started out by saying, “Assuming others know what you do is silly,” which is true, but I guess I’ve been doing a lot of assuming.  When I started in my position, teachers were required to accompany their class to media lit.  This was a sore issue for teachers and a practice put in place before I arrived and I’m afraid resulted in some bad blood between teachers and the library.  Now, teachers are not required to be there during media lit. and there really is no reason they would know what is happening in the library.  So… it would be a great time to start newsletters!

The most important message I read while reading through the articles is to make sure newsletters and reports focus on students.  Doug Johnson wrote, “the alignment of our “it” to their “it,”” referring to the goals of librarians and administrators in terms of student success as the most important focus.  And Jennifer LaGarde, aka Library Girl, wrote that “Our work doesn’t matter if it doesn’t impact students.”  It’s clear what my focus will be!

I remembered Tony Vincent’s infographic in iPad as the Teacher’s Pet and want to try using pages to create the initial workings of a newsletter.  I will consult with my media lit. team because I think we will try to create unity and work together on this to keep our libraries and schools on the same page.

Here is a start to a newsletter.  I’ll need to meet with my MLS team before continuing on, but Thing 32 was the boost I needed to get started.  Averill Park Elementary Library newsletter.


Thing 28: App-palooza! (17-18)

Our district has recently acquired iPads.  I wanted to work on App-palooza! because I hope to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest apps should a teacher come with a question or an idea.  I continue to use the iPads on a regular basis in the library.

My favorite newest app is Flipgrid.  We use it to exchange videos with a school in India.  So far it has been very casual and we’ve only opened up one room for exchanges because that’s all that is available for free.  I really like the app and as our activities with our ePals evolve, I hope to subscribe to Flipgrid and open up more rooms for different schools and focuses.

I’ve also heard a lot about Seesaw and can’t wait to try it.  We have it installed on our iPads, I just need to think creatively about how I can get it in use and properly expose teachers to the tool.  Because digital citizenship is such a big focus for me in the library, I hope to use apps like Seesaw not only for their intended purpose of sharing work with parents and the classroom, but to practice and be mindful about ways to be good digital citizens.  My thought is to have one grade level use the free version to share their learning in Media Literacy (the library) and allow teachers to see how it works.

While reading through the list of Apps, and there are a LOT, it can be overwhelming… I kept a list of apps I would like to try for school.  We have a very focused approach to how iPads can be used in our district, following the SAMR model.  iPads are intended to be tools for creativity with an emphasis on transforming learning.  Many of the apps reviewed on Common Sense Media are educational, but don’t offer students the opportunity to create and share their learning.  I found many apps on Common Sense Media that I would like to let my own children play and explore including several created by Tinybop, 1600 (an augmented reality tour of the white house using a dollar bill), Flocabulary, and Ginkgo Dino.  I read that Shannon McClintock Miller’s son likes Terraria better than Minecraft, which I will try with my son.

My favorite article was iPad as the Teachers Pet – Version 2.0 from the blog written by Tony Vincent, Learning in Hand.  This article is really one big giant Infograph about the many uses of iPads in the classroom.  I like infographs and this one does a great job of chunking iPad uses into 7 different categories including: 1. Show on a Big Screen, 2. Manage the Classroom, 3. Assess Student Work, 4. Interact with Students, 5. Manage your Files, 6. Make Instructional Media, and 7. Learn New Things.  In another article I read how much device use in classrooms improved student performance.  As long as teachers are mindful about the purpose of iPads in education, using them as a means of reaching learning standard, iPads should be utilized.

Some other apps I want to try right away include: Post-It Plus, Pic Collage, Mindmup, Adobe Capture, Photo Editor by Aviary, and Masterpiece by Osmo.  Post-It Plus is the solution to sharing student ideas without having a device in every hand as you would need for Padlet.  Pic Collage will be a great way for students to create a visual representation or digital poster for an academic purpose, perhaps a book review.  Mindmup will be useful for students to organize thoughts or review content.  I have on the look out for a photo editor.  This winter/spring my goal is for students to create fake photos so they can understand how easily fake photos are made and from that experience, be more critical and wary of the questionable images they may see online.  For that purpose, I am going to consider Adobe Capture and Photo Editor by Aviary.

Staying current with the latest and greatest apps is a challenge and time consuming.  It is also very rewarding though, as I’ve experienced while using Flipgrid!  Thanks to CoolTools for compiling and sharing all these resources!