Via Chart Porn (you heard me), the last in a long series of links, was this little gem (click to embiggen):
This is life as a series of months---with each blob representing a month in an average lifespan...and the colored blobs the average points for becoming a parent, etc. I like this idea. I see some interesting potential, both personal and for the classroom.
Or perhaps you've seen Personas from MIT---a place where information about you is aggregated from across the web to show you how the web sees you. Here is what it displayed for "Science Goddess." (Sadly, there was only one analysis available for my real name...but 17 for my alias.) The largest bands, as you might imagine are for "online," "education," and "social." Not sure why "sports" (in yellow) is so broad, but I am also not the only "science goddess" running around on the internet.
I've been collecting more and more examples of data visualization recently. So far, there are few fancy tools for the layperson, but I have to think it won't be long before a variety of tools are both readily available and simple to use. I can't help but think that these could be powerful for schools. Do we need people in school districts who crunch test score numbers for us...or do we need people who can show us the meaning within than numbers? We need some of both. Here's hoping we have the right tools soon.