While You Were Out…

While you were out…. decisions were made, priorities were set and work continued to pile up. The start of a new school year is incredibly busy with very little time to explore topics and material that was distributed over the summer. It can be jarring moving from your summer respite:

to your winter residence:

As you settle in to the routines of a new school year take some time to read check out some of these articles that were posted over the summer.

Census
The Globe and Mail revealed that Statistics Canada “settles for incomplete long-form surveys in 2011 census”. The Globe and Mail reported that surveys with as few as 10 out of 84 questions completed have been accepted.

The Australian Government has created an interactive website that invites Australians to explore and play with the census data. There are a number of interesting approaches to presenting and interacting with data.

PISA
The Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has created a series of animated features (RSA Animates) which combines hand drawn cartoons with the audio from a variety of presentations. Not only does this promote and expand the distribution of presentation materials, it makes the topics and presentation material even more engaging. One of the topics that RSA Animate has addressed is PISA. Unfortunately the artist in this clip has used a number of visual stereotypes which means the video is something I will watch (again) but probably not use with an audience.

Social Networking
At the end of the 2010-2011 school year there was a flurry of discussion about how social networking should or could be used. Michelle Davis explored “Safe Social Networking Tailored for K-12 Schools” which provides some examples of how educators in the U.S. have been approaching the issue.

Exanding on the Social Networking options, Google launched a new product at the beginning of summer called “Google Plus”. Since its launch there has been a great deal of speculating on how Google Plus could be leveraged in schools. Audrey Watters wrote this article entitled “Google Plus: Is this the Social Tool Schools have been waiting for?”.

Utility
One of the challenges using mobile devices is trying to review attached documents. It can be frustrating reading and navigating a PDF on a small screen. The utility PdfMasher solves this problem by importing pdfs and dissecting them into smaller, more manageable sections. At this point, PdfMasher only deals with text.

Data Visualization
In July, Charlie Parks wrote an article that explores a seldom used visualization called a “slope graph”. At the end of Charlie’s post he invited readers to submit examples of slope graphs and to continue the discussion on their use and application. Using information from the Ontario Health Sector, I posted an example of a slope graph and made a few suggestions on how it might be altered/expanded.

In August I came across an article that discussed how a false or mistaken claim evolved into a “fact” that was quoted both in public presentations, organizational materials and publications. The article by Ross MacKenzie and Becky Freeman serves as an object lesson for why it is important to challenge and question seemingly obvious facts and claims. Building on this article, I created a couple different visualizations to highlight the movement from fiction to fact. The original article is article emphasizes why it is important to challenge

On the Stranger Side of Research
For those who were concerned, scientists proved this summer that the Universe is probably NOT a hologram.

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