I know everyone loves Information Graphics, or Infographics.  It’s the new best way to describe and understand information by using images, flow charts and text all at once.  Lately I feel like it’s been a tad overdone.  People are getting way too excited about it, and humorous and interesting things are being done constantly.  Now, I do think that they are useful, and since they are gaining tremendously in popularity it brings up an interesting question.  What does this mean for educational practices?

Look at current day text books in for many high school students.  Those books are changing more and more to become a large collection of Infographics.  Look at the books many children learn by.  Those collectors books regarding history where they have images and graphs and writing all over large glossy pages.  For so many high school students that is the trend.  Then for many of them they go from glossy pages and pictures to the original source-work of many classic writers.  People talk about symbol shock when it comes to mathematics or learning new languages, what about page shock.  I can understand that for many children who are overwhelmed with websites, TV shows, and games that are purely Info-graphic in nature; I can see how the next generation can be severely intimidated by primary source materials.  Going from a mashed up recreation of Hamlet to straight Chaucer in college would be incredibly intimidating.  So many teachers are choosing not to do the more difficult material because, honestly, who expects a high school student to understand such things in most US public educational systems?  Perhaps it’s my medieval background, but I feel that to be able to look at texts and recognize similarities between Middle English words and modern English should not be difficult.  I was continuously astounded in college when some of my fellow classmates had difficulties recognizing these factors.  

Back to the original point.  Infographics, while incredibly helpful in getting the point across, are, I feel, making it horridly difficult for the next generation to connect with primary source material from anything previous to the late 20th century.  Yes, they can read books, but unless the books are much more simplistically written it can be difficult for them to get through it.  There is so much more out there to read in order to be considered ‘well read’.  Does reading simply written books increase your ability to read and decipher?  Does it increase intellect like so many think?  What is the future of Infographics?