Highlighting the Educational Perspectives of Outdoor and Nature Play with Digital Infographics
An ‘info graphic’ is a visual representation intended to present information at a glance. Some simple examples of this concept are a poster, a map, a chart, a graph or a comic strip. The infographic genre adapts well to the online context and, as the capacity to manipulate and upload high quality image has becomes easier, there has been a flourish of software and web-based sites for both generating and displaying these images. The potential of the infographic for education is significant. This genre constitutes a ‘multimodal text’ (Kalantzis, Cope & Cloonan, 2010) that provides information through multiple symbol systems rather than the printed words and pictures of a traditional text. Both teachers and learners can benefit from engaging with new form of literacies in order to develop skills for a multiliterate world.
The ‘Connecting with Outdoors and Nature Play for Sustainable Futures’ project was funded by La Trobe University’s Design for Learning initiative to support the La Trobe University essential ‘sustainability thinking’. The project was based on the premise that a meaningful and connected understanding of the natural environment is an essential precursor for young children to develop a ‘stewardship of the planet’ perspective. The project team worked with a local Bush Kinder program to develop a resource for pre-service teachers to learn about the advantages of children experiencing play in a natural setting. The project team decided that an interactive infographic approach could meet the needs of the brief and so designed a digital resource based on annotated images highlighting educational perspectives such as lifecycles, learning through looking, Indigenous perspectives, data collection technology, spaces through time and conservation practices.
The Outdoor and Nature Play resource provides a series of images with ‘hot spots’ that connect to relative media including websites, video, audio recordings and information and it is currently being trialed in the online summer elective subject EDU3ONP: Outdoor and Nature Play. It is anticipated that this infographic resource will be used to communicate concepts to a wide audience. It will used as a teaching resource for pre-service teachers but will also be hosted on a public website for wider access. Teachers, children and parents of the Bush Kinder Group will be able to use the resource to learn more about the philosophy of the program and reflect on the activity in the program. The resource will also serve to promote the concept of Outdoor and Nature Play to the general public.
Kalantzis, M., Cope, B. & Cloonan, A. (2010). A multiliteracies perspective on the new literacies. In E. A. Baker (Ed.), The new literacies multiple perspectives on research and practice (pp 61–87). New York: The Guilford Press.