Tag Archives: infographics

Data Display of the Day: Climbing the Mountain of Resumes

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As the PCP reboot really takes off, Alex Rister and I are working on developing our weekly lessons/modules using a blend of video, image, and text-based instructional assets. Our ultimate goal for the reboot is to help our students understand what the true connection between effective presenting and professional success is. Why do they need to analyze their growth as professionals so far? How does this analysis better serve them when they present themselves online or in person? I truly believe that communicating and presenting your ideas to others is the most important skill a professional at any level can learn, especially when it comes to landing that dream job, keeping that dream job, and finding others with whom to collaborate. Today’s infographic can help our students take the project they create in Professional Communication and Presentation and present it in a way that is going to help them climb to the top of the resume mountain. This infographic, created by Kelly Services, provides job seekers with some excellent advice (some of which I really need to take on!). The connecting thread is audience awareness and adaptation. Just as in a strong presentation, a job seeker must adapt to his or her audience’s needs to better persuade and motivate them to act.

1. Make sure your resume aligns with your target company

Creating a different resume for each company may seem tedious, but it can make the difference between a resume that catches a recruiter’s eye and a resume that gets put in the virtual or physical trashcan.

2. Know your target company’s culture

As the infographic explains, in our age of connectivity and instant access to information, it’s easier than ever to conduct research on a company and adapt your approach to their needs.

3. Be confident and attentive

Those who are hiring you want to hire someone who is confidence in his or her abilities (not cocky!) and who is “present” during an interview. Show recruiters you are confident that you are not only a good fit for the job but also that you are confident in your definition of what it means to be a professional.

4. Don’t forget to say thank you

Whether via an email or phone call, show gratitude for the time your “audience” gave you.

What are your interview “must dos”? What did you do to land that dream job?

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Data Display of the Day: Get the Most out of Google

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Google has become the bane of many a teacher’s existence. Yes, it’s an incredibly useful tool for research and learning, and it has made it easier for us to access the world’s information. But, it’s also made our students lazy and reductive when it comes to research. When I was in school, research meant going to a library, opening up the creaky cabinets of a card catalog filled with typed dewey decimals, authors, a terse description of the work, and a location. To find credible and viable research, I had to decipher that card, pore through shelves of hard bound journals, find my article, read it, copy it, and handwrite a citation using the MLA Handbook (I won’t say which edition) as a guide. This process reaffirmed the worth of that source to me; it forced me to really think about how I searched for information; it emphasized that good research is a process–sometimes a lengthy one. In graduate school, this process was streamlined by the introduction of online databases, which saved me a trip to the library, a bit of search time, but no less emphasized that good research as some quantifiable characteristics–a credible author, a spot in a reputable publication, and verifiable sources of information.

Today, my students cringe at the thought of using these databases and wonder why they can’t just type in a random search term–“banning pitbulls is wrong”–in Google, indiscriminately grab the first three results including Wikipedia and call their research process complete after 10 minutes. The downside of Google’s openness and ease is that it reinforces in students that if it’s on Google, it’s perfectly good to use, even if the source is clearly not credible (no author, a dubious author with no credentials or experience, extreme bias, zero publication information).

Today’s infographic, created by HackCollege.com and found via Daily Infographic
helps move students’ use of Google in the right direction, and helps curb a big problem they found: “3 out of 4 students couldn’t perform a ‘well-executed search’ on Google” (Source). The infographic is easy to navigate and is organized first by using operators to streamline the type of information a student wants to find (statistics, examples, etc.). One of my favorite tips is “don’t ask Google questions.” Google is not a person, it’s not going to understand what source is best if you want to know the average air speed of a swallow unless you use operators like “intitle:” (I love this operator–it helps reinforce scholarly research as opposed to general education sites; if velocity is in the title of a pdf document, chances are you are moving closer to a paper conducting research on the average velocity of birds).

Next, the infographic covers Google Scholar, a rarely used subset of Google that can direct students to the exact type of research they SHOULD be using in papers and presentations. The infographic then introduces students to some tips, tricks, and hotkeys (did you know Google could do math for you??). Finally, students are given three other important tips: 1. use the library; 2. don’t cite wikipedia, check the references instead; 3. look to a source’s bibliography for more great information.

This is sure to become an asset in the PCP reboot for both online and campus students!


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Data Display of the Day: The Secrets of Happy Couples

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Though I don’t devote much time to discussing my personal life via Tweak Your Slides, I am happy to say that I am coming up on one year with my tender ginger beard of a boyfriend.

His silliness definitely adds to the gaggilion reasons why this one is a keeper.

His silliness definitely adds to the gaggilion reasons why this one is a keeper.

This is only the second time in my life that I’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day with a partner. It’s not something I regret, but something I celebrate. Having been single for most of my life has made me a stronger, more resilient and self-reliant person. But, it also means I have a lot to learn about how a strong relationship works. Today’s infographic, which comes by way of Daily Infographic and was created by Happify, is a great tool for comparison. While one cannot completely codify what makes a relationship work, by analyzing data related to what makes couples happy, we can get a bit closer to understanding what it takes to have a happy relationship:

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Data Display of the Day: Two Grammar Infographics

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Today’s data display offerings are all about grammar. Though I have been teaching public speaking, business communication, and presenting for the past five years, I still work to emphasize in my students that they should devote sufficient time to grammar and mechanics in both written, visual, and verbal communication.  An interview and potential job can be lost over a misplaced comma; an audience’s understanding of your subject can be lost through a misused or misspelled word. As David McCandless says, we are all now data visualizers; we demand a visual aspect to our information. So, a great way to brush up on grammar and mechanics is through the various grammar visualizations found on sites like The Oatmeal. Two particularly useful infographics help users navigate through the often confusing (and in English departments, feud inducing) world of punctuation.

The first is “The Oxford Comma”, created by OnlineSchools.com. This infographic tackles the controversial use of this most ubiquitous of punctuation marks. Did you know that the Oxford comma isn’t actually used by Oxford University’s PR department?

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The second example comes from my favorite site, The Oatmeal created and curated by Matt Inman, whose Ignite talk I shared with you yesterday. Apostrophes have become one of the most incorrectly used forms of punctuation in our first draft digital culture. Inman’s flowchart moves the user through when to and when not to use an apostrophe and includes excellently funny examples. To view the rest of this visualization, please click on the image below.

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(Source: The Oatmeal.com)

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My Year on Slideshare

So, my readers know I love Slideshare.net; my students now have two assignments they must share with others on what’s becoming THE place to share and spread deck and infographic-based content. But, you might have also noticed I’ve been quite silent on Slideshare lately. I produced on average one new deck per month in 2012; that’s fallen to only four decks and three infographics for all of 2013. I admit, some of this has been work with my courses and my baby, the Liberal Studies department Round Table (which is being rebranded as the Liberal Studies Brown Bag Extravaganza for 2014), but a lot of it has come from a serious lack of inspiration to ideate. I’m working on my first upload of 2014, based on my content development series, as well as the next infographic, analyzing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” as well as one more deck on creating infographics as a teaching tool, but apart from developing my teaching portfolio, I haven’t found my way to the level of design-awesomeness I saw myself create in decks like “Your Speech is Toxic” or “Simple Design.” However, I happened to click on a link on my Slideshare homepage touting that my content was among the top 1% most viewed on Slideshare in 2013 and it got me thinking–I need to get back in the game! So, it’s on 2014. Time to step it up, put my design glasses back on and iterate, iterate, iterate!

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All things Infographic

On July 25th, Slideshare.net launched their new infographics-friendly viewer. I was stoked to see an influx of new visualizations begin appearing right away. I’ve recently turned my focus from slide design to infographics as a teaching and learning tool. The process of learning what makes a good infographic has been inspiring for me as a designer, and I’ve enjoyed presenting and communicating ideas in a different way. So, what makes a good infographic, and why are infographics such a useful tool for educators to consider?

Why Infographics?

The many resources available on the web and in print have much to say on the subject. According to the infographic, “What Makes Great Infographics,” infographics are so powerful because we are drawn to formats that are engaging, efficient, and entertaining; because they help us digest information more efficiently, and because they help us retain information. According to edudemic’s 70 Tools and 4 Reasons to Make Your own Infographics, there are three reasons teachers might consider using an infographic as a teaching tool:

1) to grab an audience’s attention (students as we know have short attention spans).

2) to pare down ideas, theories, and content so students can not only understand the information more easily but retain information longer.

3) to challenge students to think critically about course concepts and create a non-traditional mode of composition/communication.

What makes a good infographic?

Okay, so infographics can help our students learn and retain information, but what makes for a great infographic? A good starting point is David McCandless’ What makes Good Information Design visualization. For McCandless, great information design requires four qualities. Notice that all four of these qualities must be present for information design to be successful:

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Daniel Zeevi of Dashburst adapted this visualization specifically for infographics. According to Zeevi, “the key to a good infographic design is to find interesting and reliable data, then come up with an awesome blueprint and visual story to deliver the underlying message.” (Source). Zeevi’s four qualities expand on McCandless’ general comments about design:

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During our recent summer continuing education series, I participated in a poster session on the subject of infographics and how teachers can use them to present information to their students in a way that taps into both text-based and image-based modes of communication. Teachers can use infographics to communicate course concepts, record class notes, and enrich the online classroom experience. I shared this advice with attendees when designing their own visualizations: 1. Consider dimensions; 2. Choose a clear, strong color palette; 3. Display data for impact; and 4. Keep visuals simple.

Consider Dimensions

While the sky pretty much is the limit when it comes to sizing an infographic, experts provide a set of standard guidelines that can help you create an infographic that is easy to scroll through for the audience.

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Choose a clear, strong color palette

One aspect of infographic design that surprised me was choosing a strong background color. Most infographics use lighter backgrounds with subtle textures. This makes the infographic easier to process quickly.

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Display Data for Impact

Charts, graphs, and data display are integral to a strong infographic. After all, one primary purpose of an infographic is the communication and explanation of complex, dense information.

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Keep Visuals Simple

While some infographic designers are experts at programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, the average educator (me, for instance) has less knowledge of these programs. So, how do you create something that is still dynamic and well designed? Check out the resources below!

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My Current Infographic Projects

Educational Infographics

In Professional Communication and Presentation, I use the “Choosing an Ignite” infographic to help students brainstorm and choose a strong Ignite topic.

One of the most difficult tasks for my students is the development of a strong persuasive presentation topic. I combined an article from Six Minutes, Nancy Duarte’s discussion of convergent and divergent thinking, and my 4-year experience with the Ignite-style presentation to develop this “how to” for students.

Currently, I’m also working on a “great speeches” series of infographic that provides students with historical background on a speech, the context in which the speech was delivered, and lessons they can draw from an analysis of the speech. I am beginning with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream.” Finally, I’ve been working on a Welcome to Professional Communication and Presentation infographic that provides students with an at-a-glance overview of the course. As Alex Rister and I used her “look” for the course introduction, I used her colors and typefaces for the infographic. Below is a “preview”.

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Professional Persona Infographic

As part of the re-branding/rebooting of my visual resume and teaching portfolio, I created this infographic of my teaching philosophy, approach to course development and instruction, and leadership style. I am using the same color scheme and type for the slide version of my new Superteacher Visual Resume.

 

Want to learn more? Check out this list of resources!

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Data Display of the Day: Kitchen Cheat Sheet

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At the risk of saturating readers/viewers with Tweak Your Slides overload, I am sharing with you another awesome sampling of design from the web. This link comes by way of former superstudent and current superperson Sapan Shah. Check out this incredibly useful and also beautiful visualization from Everest Home Improvements.

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Data Display of the Day: Two views on Online Privacy

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All infographics by GDS Infographics

After seeing this beautiful video by Michael Rigley’s Network via an Ethos 3 Motion Design analysis, I was both fascinated and terrified.

Network from Michael Rigley on Vimeo.

Rigley’s approach to explaining data networks, a topic that most of us (including me) would find much too abstract and puzzling if presented in report-form, is beautifully illustrated and animated–it’s also understandable and impacting. Rigley doesn’t just lay out a series of facts, he interweaves them with a visual representation. It’s the approach to presenting this information that makes it that much more impacting. The information comes to life in a way the audience can understand; one cannot ignore the ramifications of our networked world. I found myself surprised and shocked at what I didn’t know about my digital footprint, and of course wanted to know more.

I ran across this infographic created by Abine, an online privacy company,  from Daily Infographic, and it only confirms what Rigley explains in Network.

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Through our activities, our private information and habits, from shopping and liking someone’s status to making travel plans, are being mined and sold to advertising and tracking companies. This may seem innocuous when a site raises a price because an individual looks up a certain item, but when it can cost a person his or her job of affects his or her credit, the need to stand up for privacy becomes greater. Today’s examples amplify their important messages through design, so what design lessons can we draw from today’s examples?

Lessons from Today’s Examples

  1. Use simple shapes and icons to convey complex ideas.
  2. Organize information so it sequentially builds towards a solution.
  3. Infographics in print do not necessarily follow the glance media rule; they are meant to be absorbed over time.
  4. Video motion display should have a cohesive theme that helps further clarify the complex concept being animated.

Consider these four lessons, and remember, there is always room to…

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Infographic Candy: David McCandless’s Rhetological Fallacies

Logical fallacies are an element of Professional Communication and Presentation that have fallen a bit by the wayside–with only one month of class and a semester’s worth of material to cover, it’s difficult to talk about everything without just lecturing at students for 4-8 hour periods. Any true superteacher knows this doesn’t work. That’s why I am glad for beautiful visualizations by the master, David McCandless of Information is Beautiful. Check out his infographic on all things logical fallacies, “Rhetological Fallacies” below and at his site, Information Is Beautiful.

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Via Alex Rister, Design: The Bountiful Year Infographic

Check out Alex Rister’s excellent share! As a would-be gardner myself, I appreciate the usability of this infographic, and cannot wait to find a way to print this out in color!

Design: The Bountiful Year Infographic.

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