Thursday, July 19, 2007

Visualizing Data

Teaching statistics and data analysis to students tends to be filled with thrills and excitement. NOT! The Gapminder makes global data visually interesting (although exciting is in the eye of the beholder) and would be a great tool for use in grades 6/7 math/social studies. The tool itself has a great many features (change x, y axis; zoom; speed; opacity of countries not selected, etc) but the data comparisons raise many questions. Why does the birth rate go down as income goes up? Does military budget have anything to do with population size? It wouldn't be long before students were asking their own questions and creating hypotheses.

This was developed by a Swedish organzation and bought recently by Google: "Gapminder’s Trendalyzer software unveils the beauty of statistics by converting boring numbers into enjoyable interactive animations. We believe that Google’s acquisition of Trendalyzer will speed up the achievement of this noble goal." Also see Hans Roslings TED presentations 2006 and 2007.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Reading '07

With recommendations from friends, best seller lists and all my library holds coming in at once I've got my work cut out for me this summer. Actually I've already finished The Secret Life of Bees (a great read), Mindless Eating (good research-based advice) and In the Name of Honor (compelling story but must have lost something in the translation from French). Next up Beach Road, Sweetness in the Belly, My Life on a Plate, The Birth House, Princess Masako, and Bridget Jones Diary if I get to the library to pick it up in time. And you thought all I did in the summer was golf!
Aren't libraries just the greatest invention ever? Anyone have other reading suggestions?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Never Thought I'd be Cheering for the Water Buffalo

Mix together a hundred water buffalo, one baby water buffalo, a pride of lions and a few crocodiles and you have yourself quite a battle. One day I hope to go on a safari.

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