Google Fusion Tables is a neat spreadsheet application that makes it easy to create visualizations of data sets. Fusion Tables can also be used to create visualizations of data set comparisons. At its most basic level Fusion Tables can be used to visualize existing data sets with one click. At a deeper level, Fusion Tables can be used to compare your own data sets and create visualizations of those comparisons. The types of visualizations available include tables, maps, charts, and graphs. As a Social Studies teacher, I really like the map visualization options. To learn more about Fusion Tables take a tour, watch the video below, or see the screen captures I've included below.
The next three screen captures demonstrate the basic function of Fusion Tables.
1. Select a data set.
2. Select a visualization option.
3. Save and share your visualization. Maps can be displayed in Google Earth if you save as KML.
Applications for Education
For the visual learners in your classroom, Google Fusion Tables could be an excellent tool for showing the various ways that data can be interpreted. Fusion Tables also provides students with a fairly easy way to compare their own data sets.