Given its “visual literacy” theme, there were several programs at LOEX this year on infographics. As I wrote regarding one of the Saturday morning programs, the issue of statistical literacy came up several times in the context of designing inforgraphics.
Sometimes the emphasis for these things seems to be more on the aesthetics of the image rather than the statistics – ostensibly (hopefully?) the reason the infographic exists. The cliché of lipstick on the pig comes to mind. Or the line “Terrance, this is silly stuff”. [Oops, it’s really “stupid stuff”. Sorry, A.E. Read that in high school.]
My library, for example, houses a service that helps students with the aesthetics of all sorts of visual projects, including infographics. But the students wouldn’t get help there in presenting the statistics is a meaningful and accurate way. (The Reference Desk could help, though, depending on who is around at the time.)
I wish I had read this nifty, 3-page article before attending LOEX this spring:
Statistics & the Single Girl: Incorporating Statistical Literacy into Information Literacy Instruction by Katharin Peter and Lynda Kellam, from a 2013 issue of LOEX Quarterly.
The authors (Kellam is a UNCG colleague) define statistical literacy and provide a sample classroom activity on evaluating public opinion statistics using a pop-ish source (a USA Today front page infographic) and a statistical database. In between they suggest showing the students a Colbert Report clip. The conclusion of the article advocates for incorporating statistical literacy into the student learning outcomes of a class, and provides examples. Good, practical stuff.
p.s. There’s also a cute Colbert infographic clip regarding the “last infographic” from USA Today.