What is Information Visualization?

Information visualization is the graphical representation of technical, often complex data that is designed to be understood quickly and easily by the layperson. Popularly called “infographics, ” this type of media is highly valuable in the age of ubiquitous knowledge, and the people who create it are equally desired by organizations seeking to share messages that make an impact. A well-designed infographic can illuminate facts buried in the pages of a dense report or text, or explicate a detailed concept, such as an underground transit system, with clarity and simplicity. The modern age is embracing the power of design to engage and inform audiences through infographics, and social media is the vehicle to take them viral, making information more relevant and accessible on a global level. For teaching and learning, the study of infographics covers a number of valuable skills relating to data analysis, design thinking, and contextual, inquiry-based research, not to mention the technical capacities required to carry out ideas using creative software. Information visualization will continue to capture the imaginations and attentions of scientists, designers, and audiences, while carving its niche as a 21st century discipline.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Should be a part of teaching curriculum...from math to communication to writing. Data and visuals tell a story quickly. What tools are we teaching students to use like we do with powerpoint, Word, Excel, Google, databases, etc.? - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 7, 2015
  • I'm with Michael on this one. Infographics have become a vital part of my training programs for teachers, and in turn, for "my" teachers' classroom materials. It came up at a PD session the other day...rather than producing a deck of PowerPoint slides, why not make an infographic out of your presentation material instead? Infographics make it easier for people to see the "big picture" simply because they show it. Kids love them because they make information easier to remember. NOT posters, as I always have to turn out, with just words written on them, with a few pictures thrown in...infographics have the potential to easily get your message across..even bridging language barriers. [[user:davidwdeeds|1423442314]* * See the 6 types of 3D visualization technologies posted here: http://edtechfuture-talk.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-is-es3d.html These include: 3D movies (often documentaries or movie shorts); 3D short video segments (animated or video, 4-5 minutes in length); 3D learning objects; 3D micro-simulations; 3D complex simulations; and 3D content creation (with cameras, phones, apps, videocameras, document cameras, and other). - len.scrogan len.scrogan Feb 16, 2015
  • This technology is not only relevant for student users, but it is also relevant (on a daily basis) for other stakeholders such as educators and parents. Educators are expected to use data regularly to inform their decision making, and most of the tools educators use to do this (e.g., computerized data systems and data reports generated within these data systems) employ visualization for numeric data but also other information such as descriptions and feedback. The way information is visualized has a significant impact on how easily and accurately educators understand the data. Edtech tools that employ information visualization should follow Over-the-Counter Data (OTCD) Standards in order to follow best practices (informed by extensive research) for proper information visualization. The “Package/Display” OTCD Standards are particularly applicable. Some resources giving the basics include:
    http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/01/07/better-data-systems-345/? - drjrankin drjrankin Feb 22, 2015
  • Infographics are an excellent way for students to construct knowledge. With the applications available to create with pre-built content or create your own, these provide students an opportunity to showcase knowledge. They certainly touch upon the 4Cs as well as forcing students to distill ideas or data into the main focus as well as easily digestible chunks, a valuable skill for life. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Overall a great description. The only thing missing is that perhaps it should be mentioned that getting kids to produce their own infographics is a fantastic way of reinforcing a lesson. So, yes...make infographics to teach. But get students to make their own. This gets into Mind Mapping, which I think is a long- and much-neglected area of education. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015
  • The title is too narrow given the range of visualization and spatial thinking technologies.- len.scrogan len.scrogan Feb 16, 2015
  • I would add something like this after the “For teaching and learning … using creative software.” sentence:
    Since educators regularly use data tools (which employ data visualizations) to better understand student performance and needs, these tools must employ information visualization most likely to render understanding of the data's implications. - drjrankin drjrankin Feb 22, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Already mentioned that we're thinking of condensing PD sessions into infographics. I'm not teaching students right now, but I'm trying to sell teachers on the idea of getting kids to make their own infographics to summarize topics/lessons. Now that we're implementing Project-Based Learning across the board, this makes a great reflection exercise. Used to do it all the time in IB classes, in accordance with using the Design Cycle (the Evaluation step, particularly) - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015
  • There are projects of this nature all over the world, e.g., Singapore, Russia, the U.S., and dozens of other nations. See this recent series about 3D visualization technologies in Turkey: http://edtechfuture-talk.blogspot.com/2015/02/doing-3d-well.html. This is part of a series of postings about Turkey . There is a 2000 school project currently underway in Singapore. - len.scrogan len.scrogan Feb 16, 2015
  • This noncommercial research website (mine) captures research in this area, summarized as Over-the-Counter Data (OTCD) Standards:
    www.overthecounterdata.com - drjrankin drjrankin Feb 22, 2015

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