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Education and Technology Infographic

I ran across this infographic from Good Magazine recently that demonstrates a breakdown of how teachers believe technology enhances learning. While the data itself is of interest to the class, I couldn’t help but be critical of both the design and methodology. I feel that the visual hierarchy of the design makes it difficult to sort out the relevant information from the overall illustration. More importantly though, I’m not really sure what the information presented demonstrates. The questions seem phrased in a way that is too general to illicit meaningful answers. As a result, I’m not surprised that the “agree somewhat” response seems to be the most frequently chosen answer across the board.  In  general, the most I get out of this piece is that teachers are “cautiously optimistic” about technology in the classroom.

For me, this infographic mirrors the larger trend in the perception of how technology relates to education. There is the general sense that the incorporation of tech is positive and needed, but concentrated and detailed examinations of how it should be applied are difficult to come by. Our course does address the specifics and complexities of the teaching and technology relationship in a manner that has been very helpful so far. Examples like the one above however, remind me again of the larger institutional issues we face.

Posted in After Class Discussion.

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2 Responses

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  1. Jared Simard says

    Jennifer, thanks for this post. I agree with much of what you have said, and Prof. Stein as well. Is there any background information given to help interpret the “data” shown? E.g. What grade level teachers? How long have they been teaching? Age of teachers? What is meant by “technology” or “classroom magazine and books other than textbooks”? Answers to these would help in interpreting the colorful pie charts.

  2. Christopher Stein says

    I also agree that the infographic itself is pretty horrible. For one thing it is misleading in that it looks like you can click and drag the elements around when you can’t (or maybe it just wasn’t working for me). But even worse is that their placement of them makes it very hard to compare each to each other.

    It did make me think of this infrographic by Duarte Design, http://blog.duarte.com/2011/01/communicate-like-mlk-and-change-the-world/, that is actually more of a video infographic because it is presented as a video and shown piece-by-piece instead of as a single image. Adding motion to graphics, especially ones with a lot of information can help people unpack them. This site has some good examples of graphical information, http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/, and to see another example of where motion helps look for the Debtris example.

    I also share your worry that technology is often seen in a vaguely positive way. I’m glad you think this class is not quite so vague and hopefully it will continue to be so.



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