Like most people, I take in a lot of information. I read, see, and hear a ton of stuff. Just looking at the items I use daily: my news feed, Twitter, Facebook, Podcast library, Kindle library, Pinterest, BuzzFeed, StumbleUpon, and FlipBoard (not to mention the copious emails I read and write each day) I must read a gazillion words! But at the end of the day… what am I remembering? What information sticks? And to that end, why does some stuff stick and other info just wash over me?

The Investigation

This week, I conducted a personal inquiry to track the new and “important” information I was able to retain. In order for me to classify it as “important,” it had to be something I wanted/needed to use later (a character description for a story or a meeting change) or a piece of information that required sharing. Each night, I took notes to see what I remembered from my day and then I organized it in this tidy looking graphic:

Untitled Infographic

The results weren’t exactly what I expected. I thought I would have remembered a lot more information at the end of each day. I remembered only 70 “non-essential” things each day averaging a measly 10 items per day (and nearly none of that was related to world news). Upon reflection, I was interested (and somewhat saddened) to see how much of my remembering was tied to the items on my ever-growing to-do list or things that have to do with my job (which comprise 2/3 of the information retained!) If I remember to do this test again in the summer, perhaps my results will be different… but that’s for another blog.

A Realization

The reason I did ALL of this work was just to figure out why I remembered what I remember. When going through all of my rememberings, I noticed that part of the reason some things stuck was because they were visual in some way. Either the information was accompanied by a picture, graphic, digital story, or I sketched or drew something for my own visualization process.

I use little to no infographics with my students. They are 7 and 8 years old and their “infographics” are more like classroom created anchor charts or photos of our learning. But I have used infographics to communicate with their parents. I have inferred, partially because of my inclination as a visual learner, that my students’ parents would understand me better if I shared with them visually. My team and I have even taken this to the extreme by making videos to help explain concepts we’re teaching in class. Here’s an example:

Over the summer holidays, when I needed evidence to prove how important nightly reading was to little kiddos, I came across a variation of some reading data again and again and again. The graphic at the left is a variation of what I continued seeing.

Using some data from a few different sources, I decided to lift

the data and try my own infographic. During parent “Meet & Greets” in September, most of my students’ parents were pleased to see the infographic on reading because they could understand it quickly and so could their children. Though it’s not flashy, it gets the job done.

The problem with good looking infographics is they take a long time to create. And time is a teacher’s archenemy. So for all of my COETAIL peers, I have a proposal: Let’s share! If each of us produces 1-2 infographics by the time we have completed our coursework,@coetail-admin could have a database of beautiful infographics that could be shared beyond our Reading10v20Minutes (2)incestuous COETAIL world.

Next steps

So I’ve started. I have added a page of infographics to my blog. I’ve put my own creations and am happy to add any that you have made as well… but only if you’re willing to let people steal it, use it, and offer feedback! As I find some cool infographics elsewhere, I’ll also add those links to my page so you can explore them on your own. I’ve you’d like to investigate…I’ve also made a board on Pinterest to organize my own database of infographics.

So… @coetail-admin @brandonhoover @jutecht @mscofino, what are your thoughts on organizing such a database? I’d love to hear your thoughts!