Picture Graphs

Young children are often taught data collection and data interpretation by using picture graphs. It gets across some basic ideas and concepts about data visually. Rebecca Peacock’s video is also teaching literacy because The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a well known children’s story. Her video is well suited to a flipped classroom approach. There is also a maker approach to education these days too where students are encouraged to make things and use technology to further their ideas and understanding. The making aspect of learning is to engage the brain through hands on involvement in a process .

Use Crayons To Share Data Between Digital Computer And Human Mind is a well thought out tutorial on instructables.com and is well worth the read. The reason for the tutorial is to cover what the author sees as a sizeable gap in allowing humans to understand data collection and the meaning of data:

A missing element here is a type of data that a human can physically create using only their mind and body and basic art tools, can also read using the same, and that a computer can both read using *very* simple code and write using simple hardware, such as a set of markers on springs with coils and magnets to drive them, which could easily be made from trash and found items.

The tutorial is very much designed along an appreciative inquiry model and has a lot to recommend it in terms of developing cognitive ability and a real understanding of data collection and code. It is from someone who did a computer science course and didn’t get it. I did a database course and didn’t get it but got distinctions in all the other related courses and so I wasn’t failed. The tutor could see I could understand a lot to do with computers, just not what I was being asked to do with databases. I was not allowed to show her that I had constructed databases of my own. I was expected to do the exercises we were given in order to get a pass in databases. I suspect the same with the person who has created this instructable about using crayons and code. It is important to use a variety of methods to help people understand data collection and how it works. That is critical: teaching students according to their needs. It is something we need to play around with more and find out more and better ways of teaching things related to data. For some reason I can create my own databases but I can’t created them from data I am given. It drives me crazy and I get it wrong. I don’t actually care how many brown shoes were ordered. Other people will have different saturation points in learning. Maybe crayons are the answer.

Twitter analytics

Twitter analyticsTwitter analytics is a helpful function which is offered on your tweets. You can check the impact of a tweet, the reach of it and you can gauge how you are going from one month to the next. You can get analytics on your whole account each month too so you can see your progress. This month I can see I have done some good work but I have to lift my tweeting game. This is where analytics are helpful. I thought I was tweeting as much as usual. When I checked against other months, well, no I am not. In fact I have tweeted quite a bit less and yet, that is not what I have been thinking. Analytics put an end to perception, guesswork and impressions. You get some clear information to work on. I knew I was getting followers but it has gone even better than I thought. The lesson for me is it is not just about what I think. Get the information, look at it and work on it.Tweet activity Analytics focus you without all the thinking and feeling. Having looked at the analytics I am not sitting here feeling bad about what is not going so well. I am thinking about how I can correct that and I have something to measure myself against next month. In that sense analytics hone your strategy skills. You can pay for sponsored tweets if you feel you want your tweet to last longer and have more impact. The life of a tweet is quite short although, this month, I have been surprised how many of my older tweets have been picked up and reacted to so quality is still important and valuable. As far as sponsored tweets are concerned then there is only so much cyber real estate. If everyone pays for sponsored tweets the same problem will occur – too many tweets and not enough air time. For me it is important to get authentic followers and  engage with them. Businesses and entrepreneurs will do it differently because they have different objectives. The analytics then will get you thinking straight so you can plan next month’s twitter activity!

You can get to the analytics by clicking VIEW on your tweet and then viewing the activity or type into your browser address bar :

https://analytics.twitter.com/user/sally07/   where sally07 is your username

https://analytics.twitter.com/user/sally07/tweets  if you want to look at tweet activity


Live feedback works

dataAs you can see, four of my students have finished the task I set this morning and they all have another couple of days to finish it.The results will be emailed to me.  We use a paid online learning site for French and the live feedback encourages and motivates them. They love it when I refresh the screen and they can see how much further they are along the way. The site also gives them personal feedback on their iPad or laptop but they like to see it all on the big screen and it works very positively. They will ask me to refresh the screen so they can see. They will ask me to refresh the screen to demonstrate they have finished a task I have set. We have also had some interesting moments where students think they have finished and I show them the data and quite clearly they haven’t, so some of it is about understanding how technology works to process information.  It also means I can see who hasn’t started 10 minutes into the task. We can work out why. I can problem solve issues and approaches. I can also notice that some students like to study what they have to learn before they do it and others like to learn as they go along. Others still like to do a bit of both. Sometimes they help each other or ask really good questions and sometimes they just go silent and focus by themselves. Live feedback on activities has made students aware of how they are using their time and has given them a way into interpreting data. They will now always look at the data and question if it is representing what they are doing. For me I have become even more aware of how students are learning with technology. I don’t just use the paid site. I find other online sites, set the task and get them to take screenshots which they show me or put on their blogs. Not every task suits this live feedback approach but we have done vocab lists, aural comprehensions, sentence structure and contextual language this way. It has improved their linguistic competence and it has improved their linguistic confidence. I have been able to see that some students can hear and interpret sentences and phrases as fast as I can and I have seen my year 10s take on several sentences of complex French and complete the task. As we use the live feedback we are getting open information about how we are learning and what I have been teaching and it deepens both the educational engagement and the responses to learning.

Map your Twitter followers

TweepsMapI have to thank @PeterDoyley for putting his TweepsMap up on Twitter so I could discover this tool. You link TweepsMap to your Twitter account and you get a map of the world showing you where all your followers are. It is fascinating information. Two thirds of my followers are from Australia and America and then the rest come from all over the planet. I love the internet. Information is presented in a very useful, interesting way. It means you might need to use other languages to contact more followers from different countries. It might mean you need to have dedicated Twitter accounts to reach certain parts of the world. It’s up to you. You have an interactive map which demonstrates clearly your reach and gives you information which you can act on.

The getting of wisdom

Knowledge wisdom information Image: Nelio A/B testing

I love the internet. I found the first picture and looked at it for a while and wondered whether it depicted wisdom properly. I then discovered we have diagrams and explanations for the Intelligence Hierarchy and they seem to apply to financial management. I was so impressed with Barry Ritholtz’ blog I subscribed. Here was someone who had a real clarity in explaining things and the comments which came under the post only opened up that discussion and explanation further.Intelligence Hierarchy As a teacher I am thinking this has to apply to education. Where do we place data, data collection and what do we do with it? As teachers we have to be creating the information trail memes so students always access good quality information and can see why some information is not worthy of serious attention. We are trying to give our students knowledge and a capacity to manipulate all this data and information into a life where they can contribute and thrive. So where do we stand on wisdom? Do we know what it is? Do we want to achieve it ourselves and encourage our students to achieve it? How do you do that in a world driven by big data and swamped by information good and bad? One of the people who commented said it was insight. We ought to be looking at insight as a significant component of wisdom. That is why I like the first picture. It says it clearly. You can be launched into the vast array of data and information but you can sort it out into components which can be used or discarded and you have the capacity to drive through all of that and have good outcomes. The first picture spells out clarity of thought and focus. What do you think?

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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