Engage with Infographics

With the great focus on improving student performance in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) academic areas, there has also been an awakening for STEAM. The A representing the Arts.

The University of Florida has created a fantastic infographic to describe the reasons why the arts are vital to well-rounded students. The work they put into this is notable on its own. But guess what else they did? This very cool infographic is designed to be a feeder or marketing tool to pique interest in their Online Master of Arts in Art Education!

This type of marketing is more and more prevalent now. We receive emails embedded with cool articles, graphics, etc. and then when we click the “eye candy” we are taken to some sort of advertisement.

How can these lessons of engagement be applied in education?

Professor Liz Farley-Ripple, who is teaching Education Policy and Governance at the University of Delaware, has found a way! The very first correspondence students received from her was this Piktochart news-paper headline engagement piece.

ed policy class 1st contact

ed policy class 1st contact

EDUC 839 Intro | Piktochart Infographic Editor.

Taking a summer class is already a daunting task, but having the first connection be something visual and engaging put me at ease as a student. However, it also piqued my interest to log into the class LMS and start learning!

So, tell me, what ways will you engage students with infographics?


Thoughts about education


Places please! Sit in your seats! Be quiet. The play is about to begin and I am ready to play my part as an eager, attentive student. The teacher plays the leading role and her students play their supportive (or not) cast of characters.

I loved getting positive feedback from teachers. Any nod of approval and I was in heaven. And I learned that I was able to get good grades by following the formula. Good grades=Listen + Do the Homework + Be Attentive. I really did like school, but I think I liked the attention more.

I certainly felt that I could not show that I liked school. It was not “cool” to like learning. School was something to be dreaded. When many people were groaning about something, I was usually secretly excited.

I even noticed this sentiment when I took my first doctoral class last spring. The students were tiiirrreed. Because it was my first class in a few years, I was very motivated to have the opportunity to be in this class. I had energy and they were clearly exhausted. Not everyone, of course, but many. I felt guilty for having so much enthusiasm. But I did not let this interfere with my momentum and I forged on to have a great learning experience.

Yet, I learned the most about learning when I was a teacher for the FIRST Step Program in Wilmington, Delaware, in the early 90’s. “My” students were obligated by the State of Delaware to attend high school equivalency classes in preparation to take the GED test because they were on public assistance.  It was in this electrified emotional environment I realized that the curriculum needs to meet the person not the person adjusting to curriculum. With significant effort I was able to create multiple levels of learning on just about everything we did. Our time spent together was more of an evolutionary process as we developed a strong community.

I believe that everyone can learn and that this learning can provide opportunities. Unfortunately, education is only one piece of a complicated puzzle. Several of my students were battling various kinds of issues like substance abuse, domestic violence, and poverty.  Other women were clearly controlled by the men in their lives. These adults were the children who were seen as difficult when they were in elementary and middle school and eventually dropped out. They felt that teachers did not care about them and because they were dealing with a less than supportive home-life, they chose the path of least resistance.

paulo freireIt was during this time that I learned about Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed and how society can be changed by creating a community of learners.

I think the most important step in any educational activity is finding and igniting passion and a sense of exploration that is not dogmatic and tied to some artificial timeline. Preconceived notions of deadlines are the antithesis of true learning.

Reflections on The Connected Learner in a PLE


Connected (Photo credit: steven w)

My reflections after reading The Connected Learner in a PLE.

Thank you Professor Plourde for posting this on our Pintrest site. I think articles that center around “connected learners” is a great direction for us to start thinking about HOW to use these tools. When I think of the possibilities I am a bit overwhelmed and feel that we need to have our own “Connected Classroom Learning Standards/Rules/Manifesto..etc.”

We need to address these challenges:

1. How do we navigate the infinite choices that change, break, get bought/sold?

2. In what ways should we use the tools of choice? What are the best practices?

3. What privacy issues need to be addressed by the school district, the parent, future stakeholders in this child’s life?

4. How do we address this ending paragraph from this site?

  • “As proponents for the use of technology, we also realize that the noise from myriad digital distractions threatens the cognitive complexity of learning. Learners need to have the skills to know how to self-regulate the use of these tools.”

I hope that we will begin to discuss some of these questions that keep me wondering about web 2.0.