Data Visualization Quickfire

After watching David McCandless’ TED Talk we learned just how helpful visual numbers are. In his words you want to make the numbers “effortless[ly] pour in” to our viewers.

Here are some great examples used to get me thinking about how and what I want to convey in my Infographic.

I tried using manyeyes. I can’t explain just how tricky it was to get started. I had a hard time getting my data imported. Once I did, my computer wouldn’t load the visualizations that I had intended. Once switching my security controls, Safari would only open visualizations. At that point, I just borrowed a classmate’s data to actually see some visualizations come to life. I attempted to sort my data by three factors, indicating which American charity would be the best to give your money to in terms of money reaching the people that need it.

Here is what I was able to create in a few minutes, once I got some data to manipulate. With that said, it does help us easily see how far our money will go in what popular charities.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.40.37 AM


Post-Patterning Reading

In Year 3 of MAET we have been reading Sparks of Genius. Today’s reading assignment was about “patterning”. There are just some tidbits from today’s conversation and activities with colleagues and professors that leave me wondering and thinking about what’s happening in our schools and how I can promote patterning in my own life and my students’ lives:

Patterns can be recognized as a sequence or a relationship. Patterns are biased by culture, based on our prior knowledge. Simple ideas we get from patterning can lead to more complex ideas. Pattern recognition can be accidental or purposeful. Patterns come in three forms: semantic, visual and schematic. When we break patterns, we become able to think more creatively. Holes in patterns allow us to create new insights….a new pattern to discover, maybe. Patterns allow us to connect to our world in a deeper way, with a more fine-tuned understanding of our reality.

Why aren’t schools teaching more patterning? Why aren’t we drawing on patterns’ relationships throughout subject areas?

How do I create a patterning practice in my content area? And how can I create activities that guide my students to form patterns?

These are big, daunting questions. We tried to create an activity for our students to create patterns (semantic patterns) based on a grammar concept that they struggle applying. Here is our example of a Language Arts activity for ELL students, flexible depending on age, usable on an interactive white board, especially elementary student-friendly. What do you think? How could my group improve it in patterning design? How could we have altered it to reflect more the need of students patterning?

Grammar Patterning

Using Snagit in the Classroom

Today we were able to meet with Dave McCollom of TechSmith. He introduced our class to Snagit and googleaday. Snagit is a tool that is available with free or paid versions, on PCs or Macs. Googleaday is an online activity used to practice searching skills through Google. We used the Chrome version of Snagit which is free, a good option for teachers with students with devices in class. After running us through the infrastructure of Snagit’s recording and storage capabilities, we began our research on googleaday.

We were challenged to solve the answer posed by Google under a certain amount of time. As we researched, we recorded our search through Snagit. Once we shared our search’s evidence, we traded our video clips with a partner. Dave asked us to keep in mind our partner’s searching techniques and to note if there were any techniques that we learned from watching. Once I watched my partnter’s search, I realized that I had completely forgotten to use the Google Power Search techniques we learned last year! (I’m thinking that doing a few of these a week would really be great reminders in how to keep my searching skills honed!)

Snagit definitely seems like a great tool to use in class with students. An affordance of Snagit is it’s collaboration with Google Chrome. Saving, sharing and viewing the video files was easy. However, at the same time, Google provides a constraint, as the infrastructure of it’s set up through Google can be a bit confusing. If used effectively though, screencasts could be used to create interactive feedback between teachers and students, students and students, and can give a clear picture of what is happening inside students’ minds. What’s more, Snagit could even help us personalize online learning activities for students, if we choose to elaborate on existing videos created by educators and learners.


Photoshop Album Cover

This week, in Week One of our third summer overseas with MAET, we were given the challenge of creating a new album cover for our (made-up) band. We took results from random searches to get our band’s name, album’s title, and album’s cover picture. It was up to us to design an effective album cover using our recently acquired Photoshop skills. This is what I came up with, after a few minutes of toying around with my results in photoshop.

I was lucky that my photo showed an older man, looking weathered and not-so-smooth. Using “Love Never Did Run Smooth” was offset with the texture of his forehead, as if it was on his mind, remembering his past loves or some kind of unfinished (love) business. “Pembroke Township” is the name of the band, and its placement on the album cover, I believe stands out because it is a type of anchor, in the corner of the cover.

For having limited time with Photoshop, I was pleased with my ability to modify text particularly. I was unhappy with the limited font selection, however, overall, felt lucky to have a colorful and crisp image to offset my text with.

Jillian's Album Cover