Friday, May 21, 2010

Using Cartoons/Graphics to Convey Info

I've always been struck with some of the creative uses of graphics to convey information. I was particularly impressed by the way Global Kids at Holy Meatballs used graphics to present qualitative research data. The teens had conducted an open-ended survey of other youth about how they use and relate to digital media. Instead of a text only summary of replies, the Global Kids prepared a much more interesting results report by using illustrative graphics to accompany each survey answer. Kept me reading in a way that text-only reports might not have.

I assigned my students to experiment with similar graphical approaches when summarizing an article about the obstacles facing inner-city teens trying to navigate the online financial aid application process. (See “Low-Income Urban High School Students’ Use of the Internet to Access Financial Aid" by Kristan Venegas)

I suggested the students might try using PowerPoint in a graphically intensive manner (not the traditional bullet points) or they might try making a "comic book" using the ready made cartoon elements at

Above is the first panel of one student's cartoon rendition. Check out the complete cartoon/comic book on our class wiki.

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