Friday, October 26, 2012

(25) Week 11: Visualisation

This week we focus on visualisation tools. Communication of information, ideas and data and persuasive messages has  in recent times been primarily through text. However in both higher education and society more generally, increasingly we are seeing complex ideas and processes represented visually in ways that are clear, concise and persuasive.

For research, teaching and communicating in general, visual communication is an important skill to develop.
This video introduces the idea of Visualizing data for research.

Click to see this infographic representing the "Best and worst places in the world to be a woman".

The photo below is a powerful example of using visual media to communicate data:

The United Kingdom of McDonalds by Nathan Yau. This graphic represents the distance from a McDonalds outlet across the UK (see link)

McDonald's of UK-Ireland

Visualisation in Learning
Rather than writing the blog, this week I have created the video below to communicate the ideas for this module. I have used, but shortly Deakin will introduce DeakinAir (Echo360 Personal Capture) that will allow us to easily record videos at our desktop and upload them to D2L.

Click play, then you can Expand to full screen if you wish. There are also buttons at the bottom right that allow you to expand either panel.

So, here are some ideas for visualising learning - you may have more

In the classroom:
(1) Clickers: drive engagement, check for student understanding and teach to the gaps
(2) Post it notes: brainstorm, cluster and synthesize (e.g risk factors for diabetes)
(3) Butchers paper: draw concept maps (recalling last week's topic, or plan assignments and presentations) and receive feedback from peers, tutor

In eLive:
(1) Students answer questions using the polling tool (as with clickers)
(2) Students can draw diagrams on whiteboards summarising a topic

(1) students can singly or collaboratively create concept maps to map an issue, and include the links to the resources online. This can be their assignment plan on which they receive feedback from an employer

Students on placement use a concept mapping to map the organisational structure or roles of their workplace, a project process or issues, or their learning.

(1) Rather than or to add to essays or reports, assessment tasks may invite students to create visual materials communicating their ideas
(2) Students address the ethical considerations when visualizing data - see this article

Conferences and meetings
Visualising the ideas and themes of a conference or meeting helps clarify and make transparent the discussion. See this Visual harvesting website for examples.

Visualising on Paper --> Digital 
Jacquie Tran has some useful recommendations for doing work in RL (real life) then digitising it (thanks Jacquie!):
"I typically concept maps using paper, then digitise my mind maps, using tools like CamScanner and Evernote.  I have just started using GoodNotes and Paper on the iPad – still mind mapping and sketchnoting by hand, but I can export these to PDF directly from the iPad, which cuts out the tedious step of taking a photo of a paper document."

Step 1: Have a look at these visualisation examples below

Example 1: An infographic summarising health
(Click to the button with four arrows at the bottom to enlarge)

Example 2: This interactive visual of the balance of power in the US by Felix Gonda, a Harvard software engineer.
Example 3: An infographic explaining educational technology terms from Edudemic

So, let's use a visualising tool so we can work out how we might use them to develop students' capabilities in visual communication and literacy.

Step 2: View this concept map on Feedback I created in Mind.42 com. You can move it around, zoom in and out etc.

Step 3: Create a concept map.

Choose a topic: suggested topics to build on your learning in this module
Topic 1: Your Personal learning network (who and what you learn with and from
Topic 2: Digital literacies required by Exercise Science or Nutrition graduates (good to collaborate with others)
Topic 3: Strategies to use digital literacies in online and classroom teaching and assessment (collaborate with others)

Create the map.
- Register with (yes another password!)
- Click "Create mind map".
- Now click the + sign at the top of the screen, and name your map

- Add new branches to each node by clicking on the node, then clicking the +. Type in the node name.
- Using the toolbar at the left, you can add Notes, Task lists, Weblinks, and images to the nodes. You can also add icons and colours.

Step 4: Collaborate on your concept map (even just for practice):
- click on the title of your mindmap at the top, then choose Collaborate. Add in the email address of a colleague in your course team, and also my email address :-)

Step 5: Publish or Share your concept map.
- click Publish, then choose Public (required).
URL provides you the web link you can email or put on D2L
HTML provides you with the code so it looks  a little smarter
Embed code provides you with the code to present your Mindmap in a blog (as I did above) or D2L

Step 6: Export: you can also export your mindmap in a range of filetypes such as JPG if you want to include it in a Word document, or as a PDF.

So, how can we use visualisation for learning, research and other activities?
Please write any reflections you have in the blog comments area below. 


Congratulations! You have completed the first week's task in working towards your (final!) Creator  badge.


  1. Some excellent tips here Susie. Would love to present a big infographic as a conference poster someday, but I don't know if I am that game to break from convention... ;)

  2. Hi all.

    Here is a monster mind map of online collaboration tools. Its a great example of practicing what you preach.


  3. Me again.

    As I am prone to being very naughty, I have used instead. I got frustrated with mind42's restriction over the movement of nodes, so i went back to something I used in the past.

    You can use for free, but need to pay ($5/month) to unlock all of it's features.

    Here is a little example of something I though about last week at the T&L Conference.