U Colorado Boulder To Tackle STEM Ed with Infographics

A group of teachers will visit University of Colorado Boulder to learn how to use infographics in their classrooms as the result of a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation aimed at increasing STEM literacy. In addition, the researchers behind the project will offer a class in infographic design to high school students in July along with an after-school program in the fall.

Led by the associate dean for research at the university's School of Education, Joseph Polman, the initiative follows a previous project that asked students to report as journalists on scientific issues they were interested in.

"We're not asking them to pursue journalism as a professional career but to become 'citizen science journalists,'" Polman said in a prepared statement. "They're feeding their curiosity, and by being in the position of being the journalist, it pushes them to better understand the material and to become engaged and interested in STEM."

The success of that project led to the current infographic intiative, with topics for infographics ranging from snakebite effects to how false memories work.

"The purpose of the new grant is to expand on the success of the infographics model by making it more flexible so that it can be easily used in a variety of in-school and out-of-school environments," according to a news release. "Over the next few years, the researchers plan to build an online resource that teachers across the country can access for use in their own classrooms."

"It's difficult for people to find, make sense of and use the data to check what they're hearing in the media," added Polman. "Formulating visualizations of data is an easier way to understand the data than just trying to make sense of the raw numbers."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].