Wednesday, January 14, 2009 Visualization Tool Visualization Tool
I first read about Many Eyes in the business section of the Sunday 8/31/08 NY Times, where it was described by the Times writer Anne Eisenburg, "Lines and Bubbles and Bars, Oh My! New Ways to Sift Data." Eisenburg argues that Many Eyes does for users of data displays what YouTube does for videos and Flickr for photos: "Now they can share more technical types of displays: graphs, charts, and other visuals they create to help them analyze data buried in spreadsheets, tables, or text." Many Eyes was created by IBM scientists and developers to provide sophisticated visualization tools for data analyses and displays. The site should be of interest to students and to instructors, and to the general public. One of the most important contributions of the Web-- beyond quick communications and ready access to information, advice, and opinion-- is the access to sound, video, photo and other tools that were previously the province of specialists. (One caution--because Many Eyes is experimental the server is not always up, sometimes it is closed for development and updating.) ____JH


About Many Eyes

"Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. Our goal is to 'democratize' visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis. Jump right to our visualizations now, take a tour, or read on for a leisurely explanation of the project.

All of us in CUE's Visual Communication Lab are passionate about the potential of data visualization to spark insight. It is that magical moment we live for: an unwieldy, unyielding data set is transformed into an image on the screen, and suddenly the user can perceive an unexpected pattern. As visualization designers we have witnessed and experienced many of those wondrous sparks. But in recent years, we have become acutely aware that the visualizations and the sparks they generate, take on new value in a social setting. Visualization is a catalyst for discussion and collective insight about data.

We all deal with data that we'd like to understand better. It may be as straightforward as a sales spreadsheet or fantasy football stats chart, or as vague as a cluttered email inbox. But a remarkable amount of it has social meaning beyond ourselves. When we share it and discuss it, we understand it in new ways."

Better Learning with Web Tools

Inside Higher Ed reports on research that shows the effectiveness of adding visual and auditory tools to promote student learning. Web tools can aid in both student projects and in providing instructor feedback. ____JH

"Even as many instructors embrace digital tools in the classroom, some are pushing the technology envelope with more complex tools for teaching or interacting with students. New research suggests the promise of such approaches. One qualitative study, which surely won’t be welcomed by manufacturers of basic word processing software, found that students who create and edit documents using Web-based collaboration tools include more complex visual media in their assignments--and come away with a better understanding in the process. Another ongoing experiment finds, with statistical significance, that instructors can be more effective in grading students’ work if they record their comments directly into documents as audio."
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Opening Up Education

Opening Up Education is an MIT Press book edited by Toru Iiyoshi and Vijay Kumar; the subtitle is "The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge." The free ebook is, appropriately, available in an open access ipaper edition (Flash format) or via pdf files. (A print version may also be purchased from MIT Press.) The book includes a useful Foreword by John Seely Brown and valuable Introduction and Conclusion sections by the editors; the core of the book contains 27 chapters by diverse authors, many of them leaders in their fields. 

"Given the abundance of open education initiatives that aim to make educational assets freely available online, the time seems ripe to explore the potential of open education to transform the economics and ecology of education. Despite the diversity of tools and resources already available—from well-packaged course materials to simple games, for students, self-learners, faculty, and educational institutions—we have yet to take full advantage of shared knowledge about how these are being used, what local innovations are emerging, and how to learn from and build on the experiences of others. Opening Up Education argues that we must develop not only the technical capability but also the intellectual capacity for transforming tacit pedagogical knowledge into commonly usable and visible knowledge: by providing incentives for faculty to use (and contribute to) open education goods, and by looking beyond institutional boundaries to connect a variety of settings and open source entrepreneurs."

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Obama, education, and the 'social justice left'

Obama, education, and the 'social justice left'

"By choosing Arnie Duncan as secretary of education, Obama has sidesteped the zero-sum game between teacher's unions and education reformers.

UMass loses marijuana lab bid

UMass loses marijuana lab bid
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has rejected the bid of a researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who wants to create the second laboratory in the nation authorized to grow marijuana for medical research.