Main Idea and Summarizing Digitalized

It has been some time since I have taken a task/lesson and digitalized it.  With the increase of infographic tools online I thought this was the perfect time to revisit my ‘tasks digitalized’ series.

Purpose/objective: Students will demonstrate that they can read a passage, or multiple passages/research papers, and summarize the information in a concise manner.

Before digitalizing: After reading a passage, students might write a summary paragraph, state the main idea in their own words, or otherwise synthesize the information in a poster or essay.

Task Digitalized: After reading a passage, or multiple passages, have students pull the main ideas and summarize them in an infographic. Information graphics, or infographics as they have been known to be called are just that: graphic representations of information.  In order to do an infographic well a student will need to be able to read text and pull out the  most important information and then synthesize this information into a concise, well presented graphic that others can access easily.

Process: After direct instruction and modeling of how to pull out the most important main ideas from a text and having students practice this process, they will then be ready to demonstrate summarizing by creating an infographic. You will want to start by finding some exemplar infographics to show your students. Infographic Post also has great exemplars, although for both of these sites make sure you check them first (they do have infographics about every topic, even some that may be inappropriate for your students).  I like Infographic Post because they are categorized by topic. For instance, after searching in the education category you can find this ‘Students Using Technology Infographic’.

Give your students the text you want them to summarize and have them pull out the main information. After creating a draft/storyboard of their infographic give them access to a tool like Google Public Data Explorer, Creately, Hohli, or Many Eyes. To learn more about these tools check out the resources below.

Resources to check out:
Creating Infographics with Students
Infographic: How to Create an Infographic
The Anatomy of an Infographic: 5 Steps to Create a Powerful Visual
The 5 Best Free Tools for Making Slick Infographics
10 Tools for Creating Great Infographics
You could also extend your project by having the students enter an infographic contest at Cool Infographics.

Here’s a perfect example by Saint Xavier University. They took the 2011 Horizon Report and summarized it in the following infographic:


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