Lesson Plan: Advanced Piktochart

Over the last “decades a revolution has taken place in the area of communication”: a revolution that has “dislodged written language from its centrality which it has held […] in public communication.” Gunther Kress observes that in this foundational shift towards more diverse modes of communication, visual media have gained most prominently in “many areas of public communication.” Despite this prominence, Kress agued already in 2000 that “the implications of this shift have not in any sense begun to be drawn out or assessed in any coherent, overt, fully conscious, and consistent way fashion” (Gunther Kress, “Multimodality,” in: Cope/Kalantzis (ed.), Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures, 2000, 179-200 [here: 179]). Today, university education in general and writing classes in particular still mostly focus on written texts as the main mode of communication. Therefore, this lesson plan seeks to encourage teachers to have their students acquire essential skills in a multimodal world of writing.

Learning Objectives

This lesson is to follow a first introduction to the basic digital skills working with Piktochart. Building on these skills, students will learn how to implement different media into Piktochart and how to critically reflect on using different media in their infographic.

More specifically, students will learn:

  • how to add images, videos, maps, and charts to their infographic
  • how to import statistics from Google spreadsheets as a chart to their infographic
  • to critically reflect on the effective use of different media in light of an argument
  • Assignment Length

    2 lessons

  • Required Materials

    Piktochart; Google Speadsheets

  • Skills Necessary

    Basic Piktochart skills

Access and Adaptability

To conduct this lesson during class time, it should be taught in a digital class room with computer access for all students. Ideally, students can share their final infographics with each other for peer-review via “Apple remote.”

Assignment Description

After an initial reflection on the advantages and disadvantages of developing infographics with Piktochart, a DWRL YouTube tutorial shows students how to add media to Piktochart. After adding different media to their infographic, students will peer-review their infographics before submitting them for a grade.

Instructor Preparation

  • ideally “Apple remote” hardware to share results

Student Preparation

  • familiarity with basic elements of Piktochart
  • prepare an argument to be communicated through a Piktochart infographic

In-Class or Assignment Instructions

  • LESSON 1:
  • 1. Introductory discussion with students about their current experiences with Piktochart: What are the problems/disadvantages and potentials/advantages of using Piktochart for conveying an argument? Teacher point out the differences of communicating via different media (0-7min)
  • 2. Show YouTube “Tutorial: Adding Media to Piktochart”; afterwards go through the three steps again slowly; discuss pros and cons of different charts for different messages (7-17min)
  • 3. Students import a statistic to their infographic using Google spreadsheets and try to make an argument with it. For this, students start a new infographic; then, they find an interesting statistic about UT Austin, e.g. from the two websites (the latter one offers more details):
  • the UT Facts and Figures website
  • the UT’s Common Data Sets
  • Students insert a statistic they find interesting to Google speadsheets and then download it either as a CSV or a XLSX file (only these are supported by Piktochart); then, students “import data” to their infographic and choose an appropriate chart; eventually students add texts and colors to make a persuasive argument or question about this statistic (17-40min)
  • 4. Students present their charts in infographics to the class (ideally with “Apple remote”); class and teacher give feedback and discuss about alternative charts/texts to possibly strengthen the argument/message (40-55min)
  • 5. Students add media to their own argumentative infographic: for reasons of practice, they each add 1 image, 1 chart, and either 1 video or 1 map (until end of class and finish as homework)
  • Homework: add media to argumentative infographic (see 5.)
  • LESSON 2:
  • 1. Students present their infographics to the class; at first, assigned peer-reviewer gives oral feedback about how to improve the infographic; then the whole class and the teacher give oral feedback (30-40min)
  • 2. rest of class time students improve their infographic according to the feedback given by the class (-75min)
  • Homework: assigned peer-reviewer give feedback following the instruction sheet with a focus on mediality; final infographics to be submitted
  • Click here, to find a PDF with the instructions for your students’ written peer-review. Credits for this PDF go to Jeremy Smyczek.

Skills Workshop

This is a DWRL produced tutorial about how to add media to your infographic in Piktochart.

Assessment Suggestions

Grades can be given for 1. the students’ oral presentations and feedback in the classroom, 2. the final infographic handed in after all feedback, and 3. possibly the written peer-review by the students.

Beyond assessing the final infographic, this lesson plan encourages teachers to also assess how and what feedback students give to each other. Teachers can grade not only the oral feedback given in the classroom, but they can also have students submit the written feedback students give to each other.

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