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.

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