Home Free Tools & Resources Adding Eye-Popping Visuals for High-Impact Learning!

Adding Eye-Popping Visuals for High-Impact Learning!



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Communicating information visually can remix a text-heavy class, catch students’ eyes, and cater to visual learners’ preferences.

Below, we have pulled four websites both students and teachers can use to communicate information visually. Explore these four options and we hope they support you in adding visual communication projects to your class and to your instructional material tool belt in 2017! As always, each of our product reviews includes an original description, 3-5 instructional ideas for using it in the classroom, a comprehensive evaluation, and screenshots that show it in action! If you would like to view other pieces of edtech that suit your needs, please visit our database that holds over 1,000 reviews!

1. ThingLink will make your graphics and videos come alive! Add clickable interactive hotspots to the maps, class images, and instructional videos with links to further learning sites with ThingLink! For an image, upload or paste the picture into the ThingLink website. Then, add your interactive hotspots and paste your links into the link boxes, and then you can move and arrange the different link areas as desired. For a video, paste in the clip’s URL. Then, pause where you would like to add the links and create a new set of interactive hotspots. Copy and paste different URLs that further explain the concept from YouTube videos, Google images, educational articles, class website project instructions, and more! As ThingLink scored a 9.8 in Design and a 9.3 in Engagement on our comprehensive rubric, we’re sure it will be a good fit for your classroom. For all the instructional possibilities, follow this link.

2. Use Smore to create web flyers and infographics. To begin, click on “Start a New Flyer.” Next, choose a template and font set. From there, insert images, text, and even embed videos directly in your flyer! Shift the images, text, and other pieces around to maximize visual appeal. Once finished, hit “Done Editing” and check out all the ways you can share your Smore. This straightforward infographic and flyer design tool can spice up your student projects from early grades on up! Better yet, Smore can be used by teachers to communicate information to students or share online flyers with parents or colleagues! Smore scored a perfect 10 in Design and a 9.1 overall in our review. View a host of Smore ideas here.

3. Add interaction and online data displays to your classroom with Dotstorming. First, go to the website and set up a board with images, text, or other media representing course content for students to vote on. Then, share an invite link to students via course website or email. Next, students will vote on each set of images or text, and each vote displays in real time. Students may also comment on each of the posts. In a brainstorming exercise using Dot Storming, students can upload an image or text of themselves to share with the class. Peers can then vote and comment on each post. Dotstorming scored a 9 out of 10 in Engagement in our App Ed Review rubric. For a better idea of how to use this tool in class, check out the full review here.

4. Do you make flow charts, word webs, timelines, or do brainstorming exercises in your classroom? If so, Draw.io may be the website for you. To start, choose where you will be saving your project –anywhere from your computer’s hard drive to cloud storage- and title your creation. Select a template from a gallery and then add information, shapes, and the like in the form of tree charts, timelines, flow charts, etc. Adjust the pieces as needed, and to save, simply select “Save As” under the “File” menu. This easy-to-use visual outlining tool can be used by teachers and students and received a high 9.3 overall on its App Ed Review evaluation.

That’s all for this month’s Roundup.  If you would like more information about any of the app lessons mentioned here or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us at info@appedreview.com. And remember, visuals aren’t just for visual learners. They can help all learners!


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Alex Fegely is a Social Studies teacher at The Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology, a STEM school in Myrtle Beach. In addition, Alex is an adjunct instructor at Portland State University. Previously, he has taught English and Digital Media. Alex believes that technology is an invaluable classroom tool for differentiating instruction and engaging learners.   Todd Cherner is an assistant professor of education at Coastal Carolina University. Previous to becoming a professor, Todd was a high school English and Journalism teacher at Leesburg High School, where he also coached bowling. Professionally, Todd believes technology's presence in education is going to continue to increase, and he wants to support teachers with quality resources for using technology effectively in the classroom.


  1. Thanks for the comment Raymond. I do not know offhand how each of these tools provides for accessibility, but I certainly agree that it is important for all applications developers and vendors to strive to ensure accessibility!

  2. Interesting tools, but are they accessible to people who might be using a screen reader to look at the website? I didn’t get the impression that accessibility was a consideration either with the tools or in your selection of the tools. It’s time that we ensure we are making websites that are accessible to everyone.


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