At the Gordon Research conference on Visualization in Science and Education, I was invited to talk about some of the findings from my research in SL.
For unknown reasons slideshare changes the colours and parts of the format, so here’s a pdf-version MariisTalk-GRCviz11. Judging from the feedback, my talk went very well, and I got some highly useful questions, comments, and suggestions. Since the deadline for my dissertation is in September, I’ll not be able to incorporate new ideas, but I did get a lot of inspiration for future research in SL. Even though this blog so far has focused primarily on SL, I do teach other subjects, and based on the other talks from the conference, I also got lots of inspiration for new directions in other areas both in terms of theory, methods, and tools. Below I’ve listed some selected resources – all focusing on bringing forward different types of visualizations in education.
The Mars Expedition Strategy Challenge is a research project on “Immersive Reality Challenge to Explore Strategies for Human Spaceflight Beyond Low-Earth Orbit”. The Mars Expedition Strategy Challenge learning simulation is private. However, FVWC reviewers may contact SL residents Apollo Segall, Spinoza Quinnell or Lyr Lobo to request a guided tour during the evenings.
Medical Illustrator, Graham Johnson‘s youtube channel displays some amazing visualizations, such as the one below on muscle anatomy.
Further, Johnson’s website offers lots of resources, incl. tutorials and plugins for creation of complex visualizations in ePMV.
Virulent is a new game for iPads on virus infections and the way our immune system fights them off – developed by Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.
Cell Press also has a youtube channel with so-called video abstracts.
GigaPan is a site where users can upload, share, and explore gigapixel panoramas – best way to describe it is: Wauw! With the possibility to annotate, we were shown some very interesting potential educational uses. Further, the GigaPan Time Machine is even more impressive.
Cartoonist, Larry Gonick creates comic books, which according to some of the conference participants had helped them learn the basics of especially chemistry and genetics.
The Best Illusions of the Year website offers a lot of intriguing videos of different kinds of illusions. In a similar vein, the video below on attention caused many laughs and lots of puzzlement – how attentive are you, really?
Kongregate was mentioned as an excellent site to find free online games and connect with a community.
“How NOT to lie with visualization” (Rogowitz & Treinish,1996) is an article recommended by several of the conference participants, and so is another article by the same authors “Data visualization: the end of the rainbow” (Rogowitz & Treinish, 1998).
Continuing the challenges in visualization, “How to lie with maps” was also recommended. In this book, the author, Mark Monmonier, explains the methods cartographers must use to distort reality in representing a complex, three-dimensional world on a flat sheet or screen, and how they exclude information and geographic features in order to create a readable and understandable map.
Cynthia A. Brewer’s website Color Brewer 2.0 also offers advice.
The Explaining Climate Change website offers a set of peer-reviewed, interactive, web-based materials to help learners visualize and understand the underlying science of climate change.
NARC’s Color Tool is designed to provide the designer with views of the perceptual relationships among the possible color choices. It improves on previous tools by more clearly representing the constraints imposed by the physical display and the structure of human color vision.
The National Academy Press has published an interesting review of available research on learning science through interaction with digital simulations and games. The book considers the potential of digital games and simulations to contribute to learning science in schools, in informal out-of-school settings, and everyday life, and the book also identifies the areas in which more research and research-based development is needed to fully capitalize on this potential. Get a free copy here.
Another book, Visible Learning by John Hattie, was also recommended and looks like a must-read.
The final resource, I want to point too is actually not directly linked to the conference, but still deals very much with visualization. Whenever I travel internationally, I have a habit of buying a hard copy of Wired magazine, and the August 2011 edition features an article on Khan Academy.
The article gives a very good overview of the Kahn Academy, it’s history, activities, supporters, and opponents. Even though the “skill and drill” approach to teaching and learning is far from my own approach, I do think it can be useful for certain topics and in certain contexts, but in terms of reforming education, I’d hope for a broader strategy incl. more social constructivist methods.
From a personal point of view, the best part of the conference was to get the opportunity to spend extended time with two of my favorite SL friends, Chimera and Spiral. I’ve had the great fortune of meeting Chimera several times f2f, but it was the first (and hopefully not last) time I met Spiral RL :-)
… and yes the format of this post is horrific, but Code is King … and sticks to autocracy :-(
One of my Danish SL friends, Charlotta Jenkins, just directed my attention to the Montage tool, which enables you to curate self-chosen topics, so here’s one on Visualization in Science and Education 2011.