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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
Now that we're ready to start making our first infographic, let's go ahead and become familiar with the Pictochart digital editor. In the middle of the screen, I have a preview of what my particular infographic currently looks like. If I hover my cursor over various parts of this infographic, I can see that it's broken into blocks. In order to edit a block, all I have to do is click on it. Now, in the right hand side, there's some functions that are the block-level functions. For example, I could choose to add a block by clicking the Add Block button and a new block will appear directly below it.
Or, I can also choose to delete a block. This gives you the ability to create various sections of your infographic. And any time you don't like the order of them, I can always choose to move those blocks up and down and reposition them inside the infographic itself. This is a really nice feature for students, because they can start laying out their ideas, and then reposition their ideas. I've even had students use Piktochart to create visual outlines of a paper, and then rearrange the format of the paper simply by moving the blocks around. Now, once we've selected a block to edit, the things inside of that block I can now choose.
So, for example, I've clicked on this top block in this particular theme, I can now double click, and I can change this font. I'm going to and start creating an infographic for planting trees. One of the activities I used to do with students was to have students plant trees in order to protect the surrounding streams from run off. This is a great way to teach the kids about the watershed and at the same time providing a valuable service to the campus of the school that we were at. Now, when it comes to planting trees, it's a lot more than just sticking a tree in the ground. There are several things that have to happen. So, if I was creating the infographic for my students, I may want to help outline what those steps are.
This particular infographic's already set up with step 1, step 2, and step 3. However, when I look at these icons, the boat, the fork and the knife, and the binoculars don't seem very appropriate for planting trees. So, let's go ahead and talk about how we can use the tools built into this editor to change those icons. On the left-hand side of the screen, we have a variety of options we can use to edit our infographic. For example, under the Graphics button, I can choose to add icons, images, or even upload my own images. I can change the background of any given block, and I can even add preformatted text such as headers or paragraph text.
And using the Tools option, I can even go through and fine tune how some of these things work. At the very top of the page, I can change the entire style of the page, which would be changing all of the colors that are predefined with the theme. And at the very bottom of the page, I can choose to add Charts, Video or even Maps directly inside of my infographic. To get us started in how this works, I'm going to go ahead and change out this boat icon. The first step is, I go ahead and click on the block where the boat icon is at, so I now have the ability to select items inside of that block. I'll go and select the boat. I'll use the Delete key on my keyboard to delete that icon.
On the left-hand side, under Graphics, I'll go and select Icons. And I've all ready navigated to the agricultural icons. As I scroll down this particular section, I see that there's a few of these that are really appropriate to planting trees. Now, I'm going to do a three step process that talks about planting the tree, caring for the tree, and even what happens when the tree gets older. So, I'm going to start with this icon that has a hand and a leaf. To use the icon, I'll simply click on it and drag it over to the infographic. Now, when I release my mouse, I can see that it's preformatted to a certain size, and it's way too big for the circle that I'd like it to fit in.
To change its size, I'll use one of the corner boxes. I'm going to click and hold, at the same time holding Shift in the keyboard to shrink this image down. Now, the reason I'm holding Shift is, it allows the ratio of the height to the width to remain the same. If I don't hold Shift, then I have the opportunity to warp this image. That's not what we want. We want to make sure the icon still looks nice and crisp. I'm going to undo the warping of that icon by using the keyboard shortcut, Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z on the PC, in order to undo that change. I'm now going to go ahead and take my icon and start positioning it onto my circle.
Now, you can kind of see that it's trying to line up and snap to other images that are already on the page. And as I look at this, it's not quite centered. I'm going to go ahead and use the keyboard arrows to just kind of nudge it into place. Now, while we've replaced that icon, and its already starting to look good, you'll notice that it's a different color than the other icons, and that's because I haven't selected a color for this particular icon yet. If I click on the icon or click on any element of the page, the options for that element appear at the top of the screen. So, with this icon selected, I can go ahead and click in the color area, and then select a new color for this icon.
I can do the same thing with pre-existing icons. For example, if I wanted to make this knife and fork a different color, I could select it, click the Color box, and then choose a new color. But I'm going to go ahead and delete this icon so we can finish up this infographic. The next thing I'll do is to go ahead and grab the watering icon, drag it over. Once again, I will resize it, holding down the Shift key, so that the height and width ratios remain the same. Looks like it's not quite small enough. Use my keyboard arrows to position it into place. And then I'll go and change it's color to this kind of dusky blue to match the other icon.
And I'll do the same thing for our fully grown tree. So, at this point, with just a few clicks of the mouse, I've made a few changes, and it's already starting to take shape, as our planting trees infographic. In addition to that, I can see in the upper right-hand corner that it's been auto saved. Meaning that the changes that I've done are being automatically saved for me every couple of seconds. This is a great thing for students that are working inside the program. Or, if their laptop battery dies, their work is automatically backed up. All they have to do is log back into Piktochart and pick right up where they left off. Now, once you're done editing your infographic, the last step is to publish it.
To publish the infographic, we can click on the Publish button in the upper left hand corner. Now, here we have a variety of options. The default option is to create an image or a JPEG of that particular infographic. We can choose to do this at web quality, or at a high resolution for printing. We can format this for an A4 or ten and a half by 11 piece of paper, either portrait or landscape. If you're going to upload this to your class website or a learning management system, then using a web quality graphic will probably be just fine. You can also choose between a JPEG or PNG file type.
Now, when I create one of these two images, it's going to have a watermark at the bottom that says Piktochart. If you're a pro member, then you have the option to remove this water mark. Now, if you've embedded videos in your Piktochart or you'd like this to be interactive and on a webpage. You can also select HTML in the upper left-hand corner. This allows you to create the HTML code to embed this Piktochart directly inside of a webpage. If you have a learning management system for your class room, this may not be the best option, as some learning management systems don't handle HTML code very well. However, if you're using something like wordpress.com, then you can definitely embed the HTML code directly on to your classroom website.
And the final option you have is the ability to share your infographic on a variety of social media websites. I hope you've enjoyed exploring Piktocharts, and this can be a great tool for your students to increase their creativity and for you to visually represent your teaching.
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