“Infographics” just means presenting information in pictures, graphs, charts, tables, or in a series of them (perhaps a set of slides). So what?
Consider that UDL is the instructional framework guiding this module. After all, students learn differently from each other, and UDL takes those differences seriously. Providing students with infographics that show the content of a lesson is one of the things paraprofessional can help with.
Not every student can benefit from lectures and discussions, or from reading. Every educator and parent knows this. Mostly, though, schools find it difficult to adapt to differences in how students learn. For years, in fact, schools acted as if one size would fit all. Many schools are now trying to move away from “one-size-fits-all” teaching. They are changing the “size of instruction” to fit students rather than trying (without much luck) to change students to fit the one-size instruction. Educators who understand UDL offer several different ways that students can learn and show what they’ve learned. Infographics can help.
Here are some examples of infographics that could be useful in lessons you might be involved in:
Note: all images are in the public domain; those without attribution appear in Wikipedia entries.
The first one, on the upper left, shows the different forms of money in England before that country decided to use a base-10 system (100 pennies in a pound). So it’s both math and social studies. The cartoon on the bottom right, by the way, is from 1789 France, and shows the common people (“the third estate”) carrying the first and second “estates” (nobility and clergy) on their back. It illustrates an important idea in social studies.
You can use infographics in many ways as a paraprofessional, but your teacher or instructional team will need to provide guidance about specifics: what infographics to use, when to use an infographic, with which students, or in what ways.
For instance, you might use infographics that already appear in the textbook for the class. Today, lots of textbooks—especially in social studies, math, and science—use infographics (pictures, graphs, charts, tables). Reviewing these resources with students can help reinforce what the teacher presents in class. Or, along with your teacher or other members of the instructional team, you might decide to create an infographic. And there’s a middle ground. You can, with your teacher or team’s help, modify an existing infographic. This could combine the convenience of something that already exists with the changes needed to help particular students learn the material.
The Internet is an especially useful place for finding infographics. For example, many topics in math, social studies, science, and literature have Wikipedia entries that include infographics. On-line searches will bring up many others. Searching on-line for infographics may take more work than using those already in the textbook, but some on-line infographics are far more detailed and interesting than what’s typically in textbooks. Some are very pretty to look at, some are animated, and some call for interaction.
Remember that infographics are not just a nice touch. Some students need them—in the sense that they learn much better with them than without them.
By the way, an example of what excellent infographics look like is on the web at this URL:
One more thing: infographics can misrepresent matters through oversimplification. For instance, in the infographic about “most-read” books, many people own a Bible, but how many actually have read it from cover to cover? Think about it: no one actually knows who reads what! This sort of thing can be a topic of discussion with students! (The numbers in the infographic represent books sold, only. For best-selling books see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books ).