Infographic Presentation: A Fun ESL Speaking Activity
Time: 1+ hour
Level: High-Beginner to Advanced
Materials: Internet access, PowerPoint
Optional Materials: Video camera
Here’s How to Do It
Presentations are a regular feature of ESL classes, but your students may get overwhelmed at the thought of first creating and then presenting a full-length speech. This activity works very, very well for a small class of 5 students or fewer. Private classes are even better.
However, if you have larger classes, you can do these infographic presentations in a few different ways. The first option is to put students into teams of 3-4. Another one is to have students do them for a midterm or final exam. Finally, you can have 1-2 students do a presentation each class as a kind of warm-up and eventually all students will have done one by the end of the semester.
Infographics have become a common way of presenting information, and your students can create and use one to provide the “meat” of an informative oral presentation. An infographic presentation will also provide an opportunity to research a topic in English. If your students work in an office, they are likely to use PowerPoint at work, so the combination of something familiar (PPT) with something new (English presentation) should reduce stress.
Any time you can get students up and out of their seats is a win!
Choose a Topic with Several Data Points
Have your students choose a topic of interest to them that has several data points. For example, if they have a favourite team, they can find the team’s current ranking, average points per game, number of championships, and so on to populate the infographic. The students should begin the project by researching several data points and finding an image or two online to use for decoration.
To create the infographic, the students will need to reset the margins to create the long, narrow look of an infographic. This is done by choosing a blank layout and changing the slide from landscape to portrait then adjusting the margins. Start with 10”/25cm by 30”/75cm and adjust if necessary.
Your students can use images, Smart Art, and/or charts to present the data they will report. However, you may want to give your students a time limit for choosing a layout or have them make a sketch before opening PowerPoint, because the number of options can become a time waster.
Layout First, Add in Data Second
Once the layout has been chosen, your students will need to fill in the data. If they are using charts, Excel will automatically to fill them in. Don’t worry, it’s pretty self-explanatory and the end result is right there for the student to see while working. Once the images are all in place, the students should add a brief explanation of each image. All images and text boxes can be resized, and the entire slide can be resized by adjusting the margins, if there is more (or less) information than expected.
When the students are satisfied with the infographic, it can be saved as a JPEG. This will probably have taken an entire lesson, so the infographic presentation will be in the next lesson. You should tailor the focus of the presentation to your student’s level and needs. Lower-level students may only need to practice speaking without a script. Higher-level students may need to practice the use of gestures or inflection.
Teaching Tips for this Presentation Activity
If your students do not use PowerPoint at work and are not familiar with it (or if you do not want to spend an entire lesson making an infographic), you may want to have the students find an existing infographic online to present. Search for “infographic” on Google Images and you’ll find many of them.
A video of the infographic presentation can be helpful for your students. When students see and hear themselves, they can more easily see the areas that need improvement.
1. Have your students choose a topic of interest that would have several data points to research and present.
2. Have the students make a sketch of the planned infographic.
3. Using PowerPoint, have the students make the infographic (use a blank layout, in portrait, with the margins set to 10”/25cm by 30”/75cm).
4. In the next lesson, have the students present the infographic to you. According to the student’s level, have them focus on speaking without a script, using gestures, or inflection, etc.
5. Review the infographic presentation.
Love this Infographic Presentation Activity?
Infographic presentation is from the book 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults.
There are 100 more activities just like it, that cover all the skills: speaking + listening, reading, writing, 4-skills, and icebreakers/warm-ups. It’s available on Amazon in both the print and digital formats. The (cheaper!) digital one can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app.
Learn How to Create an Infographic
It can be helpful to show your students a short video like this one about creating an infographic before you get started.
What Do You Think about this ESL Speaking Activity?
Would you like to try this speaking activity out in your classes? Have you already done it? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.