Art students should have opportunities to explore a wide range of different purposes for making art. These include making art for the purpose of communicating information. Infographics are showing up more and more in print and online, and are worth some consideration and some time in your curriculum.

The Common Sense Census,
The Common Sense Census,

Artwork can be made for personal, social, religious, cultural, and political reasons. An artist may create for aesthetic enjoyment, to entertain, to document an event or likeness, or to provoke thought. Artwork can also be informational. In the case of infographics, this means using images to present data or other information quickly and clearly. While it may not fit into the fine-art preferences of some art teachers, this approach to art making offers many qualities of highly effective instruction.

An infographics lesson would ask students to visually present information about a selected topic allowing students to engage in authentic learning activities such as these:

  • Select a relevant and meaningful topic (within a developmentally appropriate range of options)
  • Research the topic to gather data
  • Use critical thinking skills to evaluate and determine what data to present
  • Engage in the creative process to develop creative ways of presenting the information
  • Apply media skills, techniques, and principles of design to create an effective infographic

The teacher might also choose from other authentic learning options such as collaborating with other artists and presenting the infographics to an authentic audience.

If you have never asked your students to create infographics, give it a try. And take a look at Common Sense Media’s 2015 report on media use by tweens and teens for some examples of info graphics that just might tell you a thing or two about your students:

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