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Making Meaning – Perceiving Reality – Visualization

March 29th, 2010

First of all – check out the webcasts – It’s all about the images!

March 18 – Perceiving Reality: Visualization
Recordings: 3:15pm WebCast | 7:15pm WebCast

From the caves of Lascaux to the dense infographics of today, visualization has played an important part in communication. In the webinar, we spent a lot of time looking at different visualizations and discussing them, their purposes and their special features. For example, maps are visual tools that help people navigate, plan strategies, and can even give information about the inhabitants of areas. It is amazing to compare maps to satellite images to see the accuracy of mapmakers.

When we look at some of the visualizations that are produced digitally, we can see that there are two features that make for good visualization – how much information we take in at a glance, and how dense the information can be when we pay closer attention.

As we look at these graphics, we find ourselves coming in contact with data in a different way, a way that our students may be better at handling than we are. Because many of us grew up using words and numbers to make meaning, we might not be able to extract meaning at the same rate or efficacy that a “screenager” might. But, as teachers, we understand literacy and fluency are skills that can be developed as part of a learning process. Some academics call this visual literacy.

To help us expand out thinking about visualization, let’s see if we can think of some widely different ideas and ask – Is this a form of visualization?

How about a red traffic light? A walk signal? A mathematical equation? Musical notation – an orchestral score? Models and simulations? Guitar Hero?

Now let’s explore how we can use the MLTI laptop to make some visualizations for our classrooms. We can easily use any of the spreadsheets and databases, like Numbers, NeoOffice, Omini Graph Sketcher, Google Docs, Bento, Data Studio and Logger Pro to create graphs and charts from collections of data. We can use Omni Graffle to create all sorts of graphic organizers from the templates included, or use FreeMind to make mind maps. Pasco’s MyWorld can help connect data to location to create some amazing geographical visualizations.

We discussed visualizations that made a difference to us.  my choice was the Mandelbrot Set – it helped me deal with the mathematics of fractals and chaos – and it’s pretty.

To be completely honest, it is tough to just write about visualization, therefore I invite you to browse through the following resources:

Weblinks to many Infographics:

Olympic Pictograms Through the Ages – Video Feature – NYTimes.com

Information Is Beautiful | Ideas, issues, concepts, subjects – visualized!


5 Best Data Visualization Projects of the Year | FlowingData

15 beautifully illustrated infographics for your inspiration – FrancescoMugnai.com – Graphic Design Inspiration and Web Design Trends

30 new outstanding examples of data visualization  – FrancescoMugnai.com – Graphic Design Inspiration and Web Design Trends

Creation of Visuals/Infographics

Tableau Public | explore, create, share.


Tutorial effort – FreeMind – free mind mapping software

Writing and Essay Using FreeMind

bubbl.us | Home

VocabGrabber : Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus

Visual Understanding Environment

Tagul   – Gorgeous tag clouds

WordSift – Visualize Text

Text 2 Mind Map – The text-to-mind-map converter

Visual Literacy Links
Visual Literacy Cyberculture and Education

Course: visual-literacy.org: Business (need to register to see demo course for this and the next link)

Visual Literacy: An E-Learning Tutorial on Visualization for Communication, Engineering and Business

Trying to Define Visualization/Visual Literacy

What It’s Like on the Inside: Data Visualization for the Classroom

A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods – You gotta see this one!!!

Standards That Deal With Visual Skills

ASCD on 21st Century Learning

Enguage 21st Century Skills

Maine Learning Results

Other Links to Stuff  (That we might not have talked about…)

Tableau/Read Write Web Contest:

Zooming in the Mandelbrot Set:

Chopin intervals:

Bach Crab Canon on a Mobius Strip:

Graphical Score of Beethoven’s 5th – first movement:

Great Thanks to Barbara Greenstone for her fun links and to Barbara and Cynthia Curry for their Visualization Notebook

  1. June 3rd, 2011 at 02:10 | #1

    Where can I subscribe to your webcasts, guys?

    • Cynthia Curry
      June 9th, 2011 at 09:22 | #2

      You can register for any upcoming webinar by going to maine121.org and clicking on the Webcasts tab at the top of the page. Scroll down to find a calendar for each month. Find the webinar within the month’s calendar and click on the link for the time that you want to attend (i.e., 3:15 or 7:15). The link will take you to the registration page for the webinar. To subscribe to our blog, please click on the RSS link that appears in the upper right area of the homepage maine121.org. Hope one of these methods addresses your question! Please let us know.

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