The 5 Best Interactive Infographics For 2015

Source: Valentina D'Efilippo

Each January, the folks from Lake Superior State University (LSSU) release their (vaguely snarky) list of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness. This year, the term "curated" was put on the chopping block for being, as one commenter noted, a "pretentious way of saying 'selected.'"

Even though Pinterest and One Kings Lane may have catapulted "curated" into popular jargon, we respectfully disagree with the lexicographers at LSSU. Rather than being over-used or hackneyed, far too few students today are being properly schooled in the skill of curation. Curation is a key proficiency in face of today's instantaneous access to information. Sifting through a sea of sources and aggregating the most relevant research are critical expertises in the world of big data. Alan November actually recommends that on the very first day of school, teachers should train children in proper online searching.

In this vein, we have curated five fascinating interactives to help inspire learners for the year ahead. For the humanities, these animated videos and infographics encapsulate a wide range of explorations into history, geography, sociology, and globalization. Although they may have originated in 2014 or earlier, they paint a riveting potential for the year ahead in literacy and the social studies.

1. The Infographic History Of The World

The Infographic History of the World from Valentina D'Efilippo on Vimeo.

The Infographic History Of The World reminds us of an earlier, mesmerizing Solar System video from the Kurzgesagt design team. With art by Valentina D'Efilippo, this motion graphic pops with swirling images of the globe from the Big Bang to civilization's beginnings to nation building to the modern world. It pairs well with her infographic book, co-authored with James Ball, but also serves as a tantalizing teaser to excite young learners about world evolution.

2. In Charted Waters - Mapping A Brave New World

Source: In Charted Waters

In Charted Waters - Mapping A Brave New World allows users to swipe through a riveting visual timeline of oceanic exploration. Created by MSC Cruises, this interactive website invites students to trace the history of human civilization through maps and indeed to explore the transformation of mapmaking itself.

3. Manifest Destiny - The Story Of The U.S. Told In 141 Maps

Source: Michael Porath

Michael Porath, a Data Visualization Consultant and Information Scientist, has generated a clever tool to explore the territorial expansion of the United States. His interactive page, Manifest Destiny - The Story Of The U.S. Told In 141 Maps, takes existing map data and reimagines it as a scrolling, clickable, and hoverable series of images for students to investigate at their own paces and tangents.

4. The Story Of All Of Us - The Age Of Exploration


A partnership between the History Channel and Column Five Media has produced an excellent collection of infographics around the theme of "Mankind - The Story Of All Of Us." Their graphic about The Age Of Exploration is perhaps the most detailed and instructive, with intriguing facts and clean visuals to attract students. The other teaching tools are excellent as well, such as History Of Pyramids and Rome: Ancient Supercity.

5. The Kids Aren't All Right

Produced By Healthcare Administration Degree Programs

The Kids Aren't All Right is an interactive infographic that highlights key metrics of childhood development across the globe. Sponsored by Healthcare Administration Degree Programs, this site allows students to click on factors such as infant mortality, child labor, and primary school enrollment to see the real data about which conditions put children most at risk in world countries.

For further information about teaching with interactive graphics, we recommend: