Easel.ly

Easel.ly (pronounced “easily”) helps users create infographics. Infographics use pictures, graphs, and a bit of text to quickly and attractively share data. 

Price Free
Type of learning Cognitive Constructivism since the tool allows students to visually create and modify an intellectual framework.
Ease of Use ★★★★★
Privacy ★★★★
Accessibility ★★★★
Class Size Unlimited
ISTE Standards for Students Empowered Learner (by allowing students to take an active role in showing off their acquired competencies);  Knowledge Constructor (by encouraging students to visually connect ideas and resources such that they can share their learning with others), Creative Communicator (by allowing students to express their ideas in visually appealing ways).

Easel.ly (pronounced “easily”) helps users create infographics. Infographics use pictures, graphs, and a bit of text to quickly and attractively share data.  Easel.ly lives up to its name since this is a tool that builds sharp-looking infographics simply by modifying existing templates. The trick is making sure the templates available suit the information you want to convey. An infographic adds visual interest and emphasis to content through maps, graphs, charts, diagrams, flowcharts, and timelines, and can also replace traditional text by grouping discrete pieces of information and showing the relationships between them. Because it provides a visual depiction of ideas, which in turn may provide students with a cognitive frame, Easel.ly can be used to create teaching aids.  Because an infographic helps students visualize relationships between concepts, Easel.ly can also be introduced to students as a tool to synthesize and document learning.  Easel.ly is a learner-centered tool because it readily provides a means for students to visually construct knowledge, to demonstrate connections they are making between concepts, and to personalize and differentiate their work.

Privacy:  The tool has a privacy policy which references both COPPA and FERPA standards.  Sign-up requires only an email address and password. Or, you can login through third-party site such as Facebook or Google.  You can create groups of student accounts without using email addresses by creating a group name and group password and a user name for each student.  Infographics created do not appear to be automatically shared publicly and are owned by the user, however Easel.ly maintains the right to make it available to the public, unless you open an fee-based account. (4 stars)

Ease of use:  Very easy to use for those with even limited experience manipulating shapes, objects, and text online.  For those needing guidance, text-based and video tutorials are available through the site. (5 stars)

Impact on Student Learning: Easel.ly can be used to create attractive visual aids for knowledge-based learning, as well as a student-centered tool for creating, applying, and synthesizing information.  Especially valuable for visual learners, and may strengthen visual literacy. (5 stars)

Cost:  The tool is free.  It does not sell user data or embed advertisements, however for a small fee ($3.00 per month), users receive access to additional templates and images and increased functionality, as well as greater privacy.  Educators can apply for 50% reduction of costs.  (4 stars)

Power & Bias:   Access to limited templates may restrict the user’s ability to depict information precisely or completely avoid image biases where depictions of people are included in the template. As a student-centered tool, Easel.ly relies on the user to ensure the information presented in infographics is free of bias or deception.  (4 stars)

Access:  The tool can be used on any desktop or laptop device and does not require separate plug-ins. (5 stars)

Accessibility:  this is a tool for presenting information visually, thus sight of the user is assumed.  Multiple contrasting colors and zoom abilities may help for those with impaired sight.  Because of the sometimes delicate and fiddly adjustments needed with online design, fine motor skills are also necessary to be successful with Easel.ly.  Additionally, you can’t embed alternative text for images and icons, so screenreaders may not be able to see the detail provide by the infographic (3 stars).

Easel.ly & the SAMR Model

  • Substitution:  Students will learn from a teacher-created infographic which provides information in a concise, attractive manner (taking the place of a diagram on the whiteboard, cardboard poster or bulletin board).
  • Augmentation:  A teacher embeds links in the infographic to other online resources, and/or personalizes the infographic by including examples of student work. Students create their own infographics, from scratch, based on a reading, lecture, observation or experience.
  • Modification:  Students alter a teacher-created template to emphasize the elements most relevant to their own lives.
  • Redefinition:  Students synthesize information garnered from multiple sources or disciplines to capture learning in a particular week or month and use an infographic to depict it.  
Infographic of UMass Amherst World Traveler data

Sample infographic created with Easel.ly Pro.

Learning Activities

Math: Choose an article from the newspaper or current event with a mathematical element (sport statistics, budget concerns, weather patterns, etc) and create an infographic that would augment the story.  Depict quantitative data in multiple ways and compare interpretation.

Science: Prepare diagrams of flora and fauna. Once students have each prepared infographics on a target subject, have the class as a whole design a cumulative infographic which incorporates elements of each. Choose two or more scientific fields and prepare an infographic which depicts the relationships between them.

English/Language Arts: Diagram sentences for grammar, or writing samples for rhetorical or literary devices.  Create an infographic that compares and contrasts two works of fiction, poetry, or journalism. Have one group of students follow the procedures outlined in infographics created by another group of students and vice versa, identifying areas of confusion and need for revision.

History/Social Studies: Create maps and timelines related to events or issues. Chose an article from the newspaper and create an infographic that would augment the story. Create individual infographics of an event or shared experience then compare the documents (e.g., through a “seated poster session”) and discuss the reasons for differences and similarities.

Resources

From Easel.ly:

From other sources:

How to Use Easel.ly

  1. Go to https://www.easel.ly
  2. Click “Sign Up For Free” and register for an account.
  3. Login.
  4. Consider the type of information you want to communicate and choose a relevant template (also called “vheme” in Easel.ly, or use the blank page to start from scratch.
  5. Use the toolbar to add or modify objects, text, and add links or media.
  6. Save, export or share the infographic by using the home menu.
  7. The infographic will appear in the “My Visuals” section of the homepage, unless you delete it.  
  8. If you have downloaded the infographic but deleted the item in your “My Visuals” you can upload the infographic again to continue editing by using the “Open” item on the home menu.

Research

Noh, M. A. M., Shamsudin, W. N. K., Nudin, A. L. A., Jing, H. F., Daud, S. M., Abdullah, N. N. N., & Harun, M. F. (2015). The Use of Infographics as a Tool for Facilitating Learning. In O. H. Hassan, S. Z. Abidin, R. Legino, R. Anwar, & M. F. Kamaruzaman (Eds.), International Colloquium of Art and Design Education Research (i-CADER 2014) (pp. 559–567). inbook, Singapore: Springer Singapore. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-332-3_57

Yıldırım, S. (2016). Infographics for educational purposes: Their structure, properties and reader approaches. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3), 98–110.