Sunday, November 8, 2015

Making your data POP with infographics!

Well ,it has been a little more than a quarter of the school year and have been faithfully using my Google form for tracking my Daily Counselor Activities.  In looking at my data, I realize several things.  First, how incredibly lucky and blessed I am to have an administration that values what I do and allows me to do the job of counseling. My data clearly shows that more than 90% of my time is spent in direct services to students. Secondly, as much as I like my Google form I have to do some revising to make some of my data a little easier to summarize and share.  I will share that next week.

But today, I want to focus on presenting your data.  I love the graphs created automatically in Google forms for use in my PowerPoint presentations, however I wanted something more. I was looking for something with a lot of visual appeal and an "at a glance" look at how I spend my time in my school counseling program.  I

Sharing Data with Others
Before I even began looking at my Google form "Summary of Responses" I had been thinking about how to put my quarterly data in some sort of cool "infographic" format. I had seen lots of awesome charts folks had made but didn't know how to go about making one of my own.  So I used my favorite search engine and typed in "infographic charts" and two  free web-based programs came up. I have tried them both and have displayed the features and some of the cons below.

Attempt #1 with Canva before using Piktochart
The first infographic I tried was Canva. I really struggled to find a template in which to share my data and eventually created my own.  Not being a terribly creative or artsy person I felt my first attempt was "too wordy" and not the sort of thing I was hoping for with an infographic. However, my shortcomings are not the shortcomings of Canva.  After playing with Picktochart I felt a little more inspired and went back to do some editing on my original document.  I also easily made a graph in Pictochart and wanted to try and
Attempt#2 chwith Canva after using Piktochart
do the same in Canva.  I found that was not possible.
Some features of Canva are:

  • about 20 free templates, lots more for a fee of a few dollars ( it warns you when you go to download your creation if you have pay elements)
  • more than 200 free text frames
  • more than 120 free photo frames
  • large library of clip art (over 1,000,000 pieces, however personally I found it difficult to navigate and many have a fee)
There are some funky things with adding text and changing text size and color in some clip art you can download your creation as a PNG or a PDF file and keep it private. 

The main thing I did not like about Canva was you cannot create a graph in the program.  I tried making a graph in excel, then uploading the graph to Canva and I could never get it to work.  I am sure there must be a way, but I couldn't figure it out. And to be quite honest after trying to copy my graph to Paint and make it a PNG file and that didn't work I said, "Fooey!"  and moved on.

There are tons of other cool ways to use Canva like creating all sorts of awesome social media posts, marketing materials, presentations, posters, blog graphics, and e-books.

The chart to the left I created with Piktochart.  I had a little easier time making this one, using the same drag and drop technology with template elements like frames, graphics and text. Your project is also organized in blocks for ease and flexibility of organizing your ideas.
Some features include:

  • more than 30 categories of icons to choose from
  • more than 40 frames in which you can drop in your photos
  • you can upload images from your computer
  • you can insert charts,  graphs, maps, and videos
  • you can CREATE graphs right there in your document!!!
  • over 75 backgrounds to choose from you can adjust for color and opacity
  • over 240 cool text frames in which you can edit for size, color, and font

Piktochart is free, but with limited templates; only about 10.  However, for just $39.99 a year, educator's account, you can get over 400 templates for free with no watermark. When you download your creation with Pictograph it is public on the web.  The only way for it to be private is if you buy a subscription.  With Canva, the download of your creation is free and it is private, but the price of some of its elements can add up over time so, it might be worth it to buy the educators version. The Picktochart  educator's version gives you access to over 400 free templates, no watermark ,and the ability to keep your creation private.

Piktochart allows you to create incredible infographics, presentations, posters and reports.  However, if you are interested in creating graphics for your social media posts you will probably want to stick with Canva.  If you are really artistic and interested in learning more about design, Canva also has a design school and newsletter for those who enjoy a creative challenge.

After playing with both Canva and Piktochart, I see their strengths and will be using each for the tasks for which they are best designed.  Take some time and play with both. It's fun and the finished products are amazing!

Happy Creating!!!


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  2. Hello Jeannie,

    CSU, East Bay and CSU, Long Beach school counseling graduate students are using Piktochart to create and publish a "School Counseling Program Profile" (SC PRO) for their fieldwork sites. You can see their work at

    We are currently looking to for other organizational websites to share their work. It's nice to see that someone else in the field is looking at infographics to enhance how we share information on our school counseling programs. Bob Tyra (