What is Information Visualization?

Information visualization is the graphical representation of technical, often complex data, designed to be understood quickly and easily. Popularly called “infographics,” this type of media is highly valuable in the age of ubiquitous knowledge, and the people who create it are equally desired by organizations seeking to share messages that make an impact. This format is particularly compelling for academic and research libraries as it enables researchers and scientists to present complex findings in ways that are easier to comprehend than raw datasets. A well-designed infographic can illuminate facts buried in the pages of a dense report or text, or interpret a detailed concept, such as an underground transit system, with clarity and simplicity. The modern age is embracing the power of design to engage and inform audiences through infographics, and social media is the vehicle to take them viral, making information more relevant and accessible on a global level. For researchers and students, the study of information visualization covers a number of valuable skills relating to data analysis, design thinking, and contextual, inquiry-based exploration — in addition to the technical capacities required to carry out ideas using creative software.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I think it might be interesting for students to be able to share data in a visual way. This can apply to data about themselves and their resutat in school or on the school and students in general. If I can presentment pupils' knowledge so that it becomes more accessible to students so maybe the student will be more motivated to continue to make efforts.- helena.kvarnsell helena.kvarnsell Nov 15, 2016
  • These days students are used to quick flow of information and hardly bother to read long texts. They also often prefer presenting their ideas and knowledge using other media than paper and pencil. I feel that infographics as well as other different ways of presenting ideas are something to be considered seriously. I often say that video is the new essay. But also less text and more infpgraphics combined with actual pictures and videos can tell much more about the world than 10000 words. :) In Finland, the new curricula refer to multi-literacy as one of the 7 major transversal competences (a bit like the 21st century skills and competences). It means that literacy doesn't only require ability to understand and produce texts, but also videos, pictures, multimedia and code. I think infographics and other ways/methods of visualizing information and concepts and algorithms are more and more important in the future. - tiinsari tiinsari Nov 15, 2016
  • - martin.claesson martin.claesson Nov 17, 2016 Although there are limitations to expressing complex content through infographics and such I think that the increased use of visualization signals an attractiveness that shouldn't be overlooked. Especially today when information seem to come in smaller chunks and a faster pace. I think this could be a way to explain concepts, map out learning territories. and provide links to further learning. My personal experience when learning (though I am an adult and can engage in learning from interest not through force) a visual representation to connect deeper reading to is helpful. I think cognitive science would support that too.
  • I think the most interesting aspect of infographics is students making their own representation of data or research. That type of skill set will be in huge demand in the future as a result of the Big-Data movement. Data mining, data management, data processing, data analytics and data visualization are examples of these skills.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • multi-literacy as 21st century skill or transversal competence - tiinsari tiinsari Nov 15, 2016
  • I might add comics as one way of presenting complex ideas. I just read about the problems with the very complex agreements we have to agree/sign e.g. when we start using an application. There are attempts being made to make them into comic strips, clear, visual and readable. This, I think, has a deeper truth in it. - tiinsari tiinsari Nov 15, 2016
  • - martin.claesson martin.claesson Nov 17, 2016 I do think many infographics could be enhanced by making them a bit interactive. When you want to look behind some numbers and facts you shouldn't have to Google it or exit the presentation at all times. For deeper reading and learning you need to go to other processes of course.

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • it helps understanding complex entities better than text. It's also more natural "language" for the youth of today. It's important to be able to present knowledge, ideas etc. in the way you can see the big picture - this often requires visualization.- tiinsari tiinsari Nov 15, 2016
  • students can use the way most natural to them to present information - that, I think, is not necessarily text these days. - tiinsari tiinsari Nov 15, 2016
  • - martin.claesson martin.claesson Nov 17, 2016 It could both be used in a passive way (above) and an active way where students are challenged to produce visualizations of different topics. We all did that as kids but as we got older subjects got more theoretical and less practical, something I think could be adressed by digital visualization. I guess most of us don't develop our drawing enogh to make professional looking presentations but digital tools can help us make both compex and good looking infographics.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • - martin.claesson martin.claesson Nov 17, 2016 No, but I would start one.
  • Miljöväder (Environmental Weather) is a project in Gothenburg where sensors connected to the Internet are being used to visualize and to inform public authorities, researchers and the citizens how much sound and air pollution they are exposed to. The project is run by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute together with their partners, and is supported by Vinnova. Teaching methods and learning resources are being developed in cooperation with teachers at the K-12 Johannebergsskolan. - stefan stefan Nov 20, 2016
  • In the project Pim-Vis (Pedagogical Interactive Mathematics Visualisation) researchers from different areas explore how multimodal interactive visualizations can be used to facilitate learning of mathematics and mathematical concepts. The project is run by C-Studio in Norrköping with funding from Vinnova, and will be finished by the end of this year. - stefan stefan Nov 20, 2016

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