Monday, April 11, 2011

How to Make Data Visualizations with Many Eyes

Late last year I posted a review of a free data visualization creation tool from IBM called Many Eyes. Over the weekend I learned, via Larry Ferlazzo, of an excellent video tutorial about Many Eyes. The video, embedded below, is a seven minute overview of using Many Eyes to create data visualizations. Below the video I've reposted my original review of Many Eyes.

Many Eyes is an online data visualization tool developed by IBM. Many Eyes provides tools for creating a wide variety of data visualizations using your data sets or data sets hosted by IBM. If you're not interested in creating visualizations but just want to explore the visualizations created by others, you can do that on Many Eyes too. The visualization you see below came from the public gallery on Many Eyes. (If you're viewing this in RSS you may need to click through to see the visualization).

There are six categories of data visualization types offered by Many Eyes. Within each of those categories you will find three or four tools for creating visualizations. You will find common visualizations like line graphs, bar graphs, maps, and word clouds. You will also find some less commonly used and or more difficult-to-create data visualization displays like treemaps for comparison, block histograms, bubble charts, and phrase nets.

Applications for Education
Many Eyes could be a great tool for a wide variety of courses. In any course where comparisons of data sets are used, Many Eyes could help students produce visualizations to aid in making those comparisons.

Here is a related item that may be of interest to you:
Google Fusion Tables - Data Visualizations Made Easy

Phishing Scams in Plain English

Earlier today I wrote a post about AT&T's Safety Land game which is designed to help students practice recognizing scams and dangers online. That game is appropriate for elementary school students. If you need something for older students (middle school through adults) addressing the topic of online scams, check out Common Craft's Phishing Scams in Plain English.

After watching Phishing Scams in Plain English you may also want to have students watch Secure Websites in Plain English and Secure Passwords in Plain English. These videos show you how to recognize a secure website and how to create a secure password to protect yourself from cyber crime.

Whenever I write a post about Common Craft I must mention that viewing their videos on their website is free, but licensing them for use in professional settings such as PD workshops does require a small fee (they offer a discount for educators). Get the details here.

Google Apps K-12 Lesson Plan Selector

Last month I posted a neat interactive chart made by Kathy Schrock that matches Google tools to the levels of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. That chart is very helpful for selecting a Google tool to support your lesson plans. This morning through a Tweet by Kyle Pace I've learned of another useful resource for teachers interested in exploring the use of Google tools in their classrooms.

This Google Apps Lesson Plan Selector offers dozens of lesson plans that incorporate various Google Apps. You can search for lesson plans by grade level, content area, and Google product.

Applications for Education
If you're trying to develop a lesson plan in which students collaborate with their immediate or global classmates, take a look at the Google Apps Lesson Plan Selector. Even if you don't use any of the lesson plans there, you might get some good ideas to adapt for the unique needs of your students.

AT&T Safety Land - A Cyber Safety Game for Kids

AT&T's Safety Land is a nice game through which kids learn and practice recognizing danger on the Internet. The game is set in the city of "Safety Land." As students navigate from building to building in Safety Land they are confronted with a series of scenarios and questions to respond to. If they respond correctly to each scenario they will capture the cyber criminal and send him to the Safety Land jail. Students who send the cyber criminal to Safety Land jail receive a certificate that they can print out.

Applications for Education
Safety Land could be a good way for students to practice recognizing scams and dangers online. The game isn't complete enough to teach students on its own, but the game would make a good reinforcement activity after a lesson that you have taught.

You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read is part book recommendation service and part social network for young readers. Hosted by Scholastic, You Are What You Read is place where kids can share information about their favorite books. After creating a simple profile You Are What You Read asks participants to name the five books that mean the most to them. Members of the network can then see who else likes the same books and discover other books that might also interest them.

You Are What You Read offers some excellent resources that you and your students can access without joining and creating a profile. You Are What You Read has a lengthy list of famous people like Kevin Durant, Tony Hawk, and Ellen DeGeneres who have listed their favorite age-appropriate books. Take a look at the book page for The Giving Tree which Kevin Durant listed as one of his favorites.

The Book Links feature on You Are What You Read offers webs of books that are related to each other. For example, if you enter the title Green Eggs and Ham a web of books that are likely to interest students is generated. Click on any book in the new web to generate yet another web of related titles.

Applications for Education
Even if you don't have students join the network, You Are What You Read could be a great way for students to find new-to-them books to read.

An Easy to Use Random Name Selector

A couple of weeks ago the students in one of my US History classes had to give presentations to their classmates. Rather than letting students self-select the order of presentations I had them pull numbers out of a hat. I've use that method for years now and it works, but now I have a new way of randomly selecting names.

Last week John McLear introduced a Random Name Selector that he developed. The Random Name Selector is a simple tool for picking names from a list you've created. To use the selector just type in or copy a list of names then hit "go." Once a name is selected you have the option of launching a two minute or seven minute countdown timer. You also have the option to remove a name from the list after it has been selected. Watch the video below to learn a little more and see the Random Name Selector in use.

Applications for Education
The next time you need to randomly select students for a classroom activity, try the Random Name Selector to make the process as arbitrary as possible.