Updated: Oct 22, 2018
NOTE: This post is part of a series, How to Flip Your Classroom Without Screencasting Your Face. Please see the explanation here.
While most flippers jump to video as the primary method of flipping, there are other types of tools that are often forgotten as a possible structure for flipping content. I agree with Caitlin Tucker when she says, "There are many teachers who do not want to record videos either because they don’t have the necessary skills or equipment, their classes don’t include a lot of lecture that can be captured in recordings, or they are camera shy."
This is one reason I like keeping infographics as part of my flipped classroom repertoire.
Infographics allow you to take a traditional lesson, perhaps something you already have on paper or in a PowerPoint, and create something visually appealing and memorable. In addition, because several infographic tools allow you to embed other content, these tools can be often more versatile for flipped learning than most expect.
Below is a review of three infographic tools I've used that are great for flipped or blended learning environments. While I know there are others out there, these are the three that I find to be the most user-friendly and helpful to those wishing to flip their lessons using infographics.
Canva offers a simple infographic creator with unlimited projects and one millions graphics and fonts to choose from. An overall dependable infographic maker, this is a good starting point for those who are jumping into infographic-making for the first time, especially because it offers soooooo many templates.
In my flipped infographic lesson using Canva, I decided to transfer my Rainbow Quote Integration Method handout into a colorful infographic for students. While I love Canva's ease-of-use, its limited in that it only allows users to add images/graphics and text. Therefore, I will probably recreate this lesson using another infographic tool that allows more embeddable options.
Pikochart is my go-to infographic tool for my flipped lessons because not only does it have a decent template library, it allows video embedding as well. In addition, like Canva, it offers users an unlimited amount of projects, which means you can make as many infographic-lessons as needed. In addition, unlike Canva, it allows users to import spreadsheets for charts and graphs, a great feature for those needing to show data on their infographic.
As a high school English teacher, a lot of my time is spent reviewing literary terms with my students in the beginning of the year. ELA is an interesting beast in that many of the skills remain the same from year to year while what changes is the complexity of the text we are working with. (Hence why my oldest daughter came home from kindergarten last year singing, “Onomatopoeia!” the same week my ninth grade students had been analyzing its use during our poetry unit).
A problem that arises from this is that often we have to spend class time reviewing literary terms students have already learned in the past. We can debate why this is frequently the case; however, I believe one of the culprits of our students not retaining these regularly-used terms (I mean, how many times do we have to teach theme?), is that we are spending so much time teaching these terms instead of the students spending the time learning them.
I know many believe teaching time and learning time are equivalent, but often they are not.
Teaching time is how much time a teacher spends directly instructing on a concept. Learning time is how much time a student spends learning about (being introduced to, engaging with, absorbing, acquiring, etc.) the concept, which will vary from student to student.
For example, some of my students struggle with using transitions in their writing. However, I often spend class time teaching the concept of transitions to my entire class. Instead, by flipping this lesson, I can provide this lesson only to the students that need it. In addition, these students can spend as much time with the lesson as needed. They can reread the infographic as well as rewind, pause for note-taking, and rewatch the videos embedded in the infographic as much as needed for them to learn at their pace.
While I use someone else’s videos in the flipped infographic lesson below, I will most likely eventually replace these with my own videos. However, these work for the time being.
While Piktochart is my go-to tool infographic tool, Visme is by far my favorite for the fact that it not only allows users to import data and embed videos on the infographic the way Piktochart offers, but it allows users to embed essentially any embeddable content (Google or Microsoft Forms, Sway, H5P, etc.).
While Visme limits the free-version user to just three projects (womp, womp) and limits templates and graphics, I love using it for the lessons where I need to combine tools in the same infographic.
In my flipped infographic lesson below, I taught my students about direct vs. indirect characterization. Because I was using Visme, I was able to embed not only the two video clips I have traditionally shown in class when teaching this lesson, but I was also able to embed an H5P "Single Choice Set" quiz that I created for them to practice their understanding of characterization in literature and then a Google form to formatively assess their grasp of the content before we jumped into reading and analyzing literature for characterization.