I was intrigued to discover that I'm not the only one thinking about how these ideas could be best used for the classroom (both for teachers and students). The 2009 Horizon Report "identifies and ranks key trends affecting the practice of teaching, learning, research, and creative expression...The trends are ranked according to how significant an impact they are likely to have on education in the next five years." The report identifies the following:
- Increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work, collaborate, and communicate.
- The notion of collective intelligence is redefining how we think about ambiguity and imprecision.
- Experience with and affinity for games as learning tools is an increasingly universal characteristic among those entering higher education and the workforce.
- Visualization tools are making information more meaningful and insights more intuitive.
- As more than one billion phones are produced each year, mobile phones are benefiting from unprecedented innovation, driven by global competition.
The image below is from a paper-based visualization competition. The work is by Charlene Lam, who says this about her piece: "I currently live in Umeå, a city at latitude 63° 50′ N in northern Sweden. Our winter days are short and summer days are long. Using the actual and predicted lengths of daylight for the first of each month in 2009, I created a visualization with 12 "petals". The outer loop of each petal represents the 24 hours in the day; the inner loop is the length of daylight, ranging from 4h 33m on January 1 to 20h 34m on July 1. The simple lines suggest the passing of time, as well as the promise of spring to come."
Such an elegant visual, don't you think? Here again, I'm not sure of the practical applications of these sorts of things. I admire their artistry and in some cases, humor (e.g. a pocket pie chart). Are there reasons why we might want students and/or teachers to have bar graphs as real world manipulatives? Would a three-dimensional representation of war dead be more purposeful than a 2-dimensional one?
In education, we seem to be focused in moving in the one-way direction from pictures to words. We look at data, charts, and graph and write about them. What are you doing in your classroom or with your staff to make the move from words to pictures? What applications and innovations are moving you the other way?