Thursday, October 1, 2009

Data Visualisation, Authentic Learning, and Why the Web is so Cool.

Two years ago I had no idea who Hans Rosling was. Then I happened upon his first TED talk where he floored me with the way that his software gave a powerful visual meaning to the wealth of data that was, at that stage, locked away in the archives of the United Nations. 

Hans' first TED talk was inspiring - as is his second.

Now that all of the UN data is available, you have an incredibly powerful tool to work with students of all ages when considering many of todays major issues. All available at Hans' web site

What is really cool about the software is that it tracks data over time and plays as an animation. There are much more powerful and important data sets than the one I have used here - I chose education (Yr 8 Maths grades) and compare against a technology indicator of internet users per 100 people. Now of course, there was no web before 1995, so that's where this data starts. The two images show starting and end points.

So, if you are looking for statistics with impact and real meaning, or are looking for a discussion starter for a Religious Studies or Social Studies or Geography or Business or anything lesson, then use Gapminder - and use the talks from Rosling - truly inspirational, all due to the power of the web and the awesome story telling tools it provides.

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