Infographics are literally taking over the content marketing sphere. They are graphical visual representations of data which is presented in an engaging and captivating manner to an audience. Critical thinking, on the other hand, is the purposeful, objective and deliberate analysis of issues in order to form judgments. Critical thinking skills can be developed using many ways, but our focus will be on infographics.
As earlier mentioned, infographics have become a popular tool, especially in the classroom. It simplifies processes and reduces the mental load on the minds of students. If properly utilized, they can even contribute greatly to in-depth learning. The use of infographics in classrooms gives students the opportunity to process and enhance the interpretation of symbols at a faster rate than if it was given to them through dictation. With special regard to the age of the student, a concept that has been presented in the form of an infographic is absorbed faster than when the same concept was presented through reading or listening.
When it comes to the collection of data for the purpose of exploration, visual exploration enables a student to retain at least 80% of the data.
So How Can An Instructor Use Infographics To Stimulate Critical Thinking?
You can begin by utilizing models. There are various ways of projecting models. They include screen projection, printing them out, laying them on large posters, or the utilization of digital linkage. The students have to discuss their perception or understanding of the model. They should come up with a conclusive observation or questions if any. One aspect that you should realize is that while the students are analyzing the models, they should also be asked to employ the “See, Think, Wonder” routine. This routine is one that encourages students to carefully observe and make interpretations wisely. It enables them to stimulate their curiosity and eventually sets the stage for further inquiry.
This routine can be applied in situations where you as an instructor want your students to grasp the underlying reasons as to why things look a certain way. To effectively employ this routine, try it when you are introducing a new unit to arouse the interest of the students. You can also employ it near the completion of a unit to encourage the students to apply the new found knowledge.
Some tips that could enable you to effectively employ this routine include:
Tell the students to make an observation about a particular object. This object could either be artwork, artifact, or a certain topic. Be keen to follow up on what they perceive the object to be. Encourage them to give their interpretations with reasons. Tell the students to have a mental reflection about the object at hand or topic at hand. As the name of the routine suggests, your student should convey their answers in the format of: I see…, I think…, I wonder… .
The best place to use this routine is in a group discussion. In some instances, you might consider letting the students try the routine mentally or on paper before presenting it to the class.
The second step is having the students generate their own ideas and thinking as opposed to copying it from somewhere else. This cultivates in them the discipline and skill needed for individualized thinking. After they have generated their own ideas, it would be in order to let them identify a template that’s closely aligned with their line of thinking. Ideally, this will foster originality in thinking and also ensure that technology is an aid to learning.
After modeling and generating ideas, the next step is to critique and revise. This process stimulates the students to analyze their previous works and to revisit the material within the boundaries they initially had created. This is followed by an inspiration to produce work that adheres to the highest standard of quality.
By now I am sure you are able to see the positive impact that infographics have on the mind of students as far as critical thinking is concerned.
Why Should You Use Infographics?
They Are Captivating and Compelling
If you’re already writing a blog that provides top content, introducing an infographic would be a smart move that could improve the readability of your blog.
It Shows an Expert Understanding on an Issue of Interest
The kind of research needed to create a fully detailed infographic will confirm your expertise on the subject matter.
Many educators and instructors have found it cumbersome to keep up with dynamics of knowledge. This is because the access to knowledge in contemporary time is so fast. Thus, you could be teaching students things that they already know of.
Tips To Enable the Students to Properly Utilize Infographics for Critical Thinking
Teachers, instructors, and educators should collectively use the following tips to enable the students to properly utilize infographics for critical thinking.
Employ the Use of Provoking Statements and Intriguing Questions
Young people love a challenge rather than being bombarded with heaps of material to study. Pop in a few intriguing questions and bold utterances that they won’t anticipate. Use infographics that have the same effect of provoking their minds.
Leave Them to Explore and Discover By Themselves
If you want to assist a student in sharpening their memory, let them do their assignments all by themselves. This will have a long-term impact on the memory as it will stimulate the students to do research using various mediums.
Create Infographics That Go With the Present Times
When creating infographics, remember that there’s a generational gap between you and your students. It will be proper if you relate to them since you don’t want a classroom that’s gazing at you blankly. In fact, when the conventional ways of teaching are neither convenient nor effective, then it’s up to you to be smart and take charge of your classroom. You can even send them emails on a regular basis or simplified infographics, if need be, to assist them to learn faster.
Zig Ziglar states that “People often say that motivation does not last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily”.
Those were the words of a renowned author touching on the aspect of motivation.
As an instructor, you should always incorporate motivation in your classes. With the necessary infographic and the right dissemination of knowledge, put your best foot forward while trying to impart knowledge on your students. Accept the fact that not all of them will have the same thinking capacities. Do not condemn anyone who is a bit slow in understanding how infographics work. Instead, keep on motivating them on a daily basis. Focus your energy on not only knowledge dissemination, but also on the practical application of knowledge in real life. Accept the fact that each generation is special in its own way, and each generation has various flaws. The point is to desist from focusing on the differences but to tolerate them while embracing the similarities.
As an instructor, you will greatly stimulate critical thinking with infographics if you stay in touch with latest events, research, and information. Make sure that the standard for applicability of knowledge and relevancy of methods is high always. Teaching young minds is easy but educating them is not a walk in the park. Critical thinking will help readers and students alike in various aspects, from understanding an important point you’re trying to discuss in your blog to writing a really reasoned and meaningful term paper.