The most recent assignment for my teaching multimedia class required us to use websites available at little to no cost to aide in the creation of digital infographics – more specifically a map, a survey/poll and a timeline.
I created the map first using the “My Maps” feature on Google maps. This was very easy and hardly took anytime at all. On this feature you can select different map options such as the color or typographical features. You can add points of interest and also connect them using lines or the travel features. One of the great things abut each point is that you can name it and write a description as well as modify the indicator icon.
For the map I created below I plotted the various schools that impacted my journalism career. I choose to use color to differentiate between schools I’ve attended and places that I have worked. I then added a description of each event so I feel it has a story element as well.
The poll/survey option asked us to explore the service Polldaddy. Again creating an account was straightforward, especially since it integrates with WordPress and as this blog is hosted by WordPress I could simply log in with that account.
I used Polldaddy to create the survey below based on the type of survey my newspaper students would use to gather information. The survey options has multiple formats for questions including multiple choice, open response, ranking and Likert scale settings. I liked the way this service integrates with WordPress and the clean simple look. Our newspaper’s online site is hosted on a WordPress site through School Newspapers Online (SNO) and it seems this would work well for public polls or some surveys.
However, most of the time when my students conduct surveys the use Google Forms. We are a GAfE school and all students have Gmail accounts so most of the time our surveys are distributed that way. This allows us to track who has responded to the survey to ensure a more representative sample.
The timeline element proved to be the most challenging. I found that one of the suggested services, Dipity, no longer existed and while the other, Tiki-Toki, did offer a free account, from what I could gather on the website this type of account did not allow the user to upload photos for integration into the timeline. Since that was a requirement for my assignment, as well as something I’d want my students to have the capability of doing, I searched for another option.
I settled on Timetoast, which like the map and survey service was intuitive and user friendly. One nice thing about this service is that you can display timelines in a traditional linear format or a list format that displays larger previews and photos. Additionally, events for both a specific date as well as a timespan.
One drawback I noticed was that dates required a day, month and year. This proved difficult as I didn’t always know the specific day for the topic I chose. Additionally the timelines are very basic looking and don’t provide options to customize the layout to match the tone/mood of the topic. Lastly this service does not allow free users to access embed codes for their timelines, therefore in order to view the timeline I created to showcase the construction occurring at our high school you must click the following link: https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/1498678.
I think I would look into some more options before committed to this site for my publications staff; however, it would be a great introductory tool for my 21st Century Journalism students or to use in other content areas such as English.
Overall this was a beneficial lesson and I’m excited to have more options for storytelling as my staff works to improve and increases its online coverage.