In our digital and media saturated world, our student's ability to think visually, to have visual literacy skills, is extremely important. The Common Core ELA standards mention the use of visual materials in three of its anchor standards, the ones that undergird the rest of the standards.
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Visual Literacy in the ClassroomIn the classroom, this might mean having students analyze the argument of an image or evaluating the claim made by an infographic. But even more powerful is having students create their own graphics for presentations, research projects or other assessments.
If you are interested in trying to incorporate more visually literacy into your curriculum, you might start with Edutopia's post Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies and the Infographics as a Creative Assessment page on Kathy Schrock's website.
There are a number of free web based tools out there that could be used by students to create their own visuals. The Cool Infographics blog has a great list of tools you can use for creating infographics, along with the pros and cons of each one.
Canva for Great Posters, Infographics and other VisualsI have been playing around with Canva lately, figuring out how to create eye catching infographics for our school library. It is not a new tool, but they have been getting some buzz lately for the extras they provide.
In addition to being a great design tools (especially for beginners), Canva also has some sharp tutorials for using its product and design concepts in general. Their teaching materials section also has a growing list of lesson plans for a variety of subjects. If you are a bsuiness or graphic design teacher, you also might want to check out their design school blog.
And of course Canva has a YouTube channel. Below is a video from their channel that provides an introduction to their service.