Friday, 23 August 2013

Guardian Data - GSCE results - Girls vs Boys

Here is a Guardian data vine. You may wonder what this means. In laymen's terms a data vine is a data rich 6 second video that is shared normally via Twitter.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A picture speaks a thousand words - the power of Infographics

Infographics are visual representations of ideas, concepts and data. Representing data in a visual way has the power of changing one's perspective. One can often get clarity or an answer to a simple question very quickly.

Infographics can be simple or complex, but it allows kids to demonstrate deeper meaning while teaching aspects of design thinking at the same time. It helps reinforce the idea that facts are fine, but placing them in context creates meaning and learning.


1. It's a visual explanation that helps you more easily understand, find or do something.
2. It's visual, and when necessary, integrates words and pictures in a fluid, dynamic way.
3. It stands alone and is completely self-explanatory.
4. It reveals information that was formerly hidden or submerged.
5. It makes possible faster, more consistent understanding.
6. It's universally understandable.

Learning, Visualized
"It feels like we’re all suffering from information overload or data glut. And the good news is there might be an easy solution to that, and that’s using our eyes more. So, visualizing information, so that we can see the patterns and connections that matter and then designing that information so it makes more sense, or it tells a story, or allows us to focus only on the information that’s important. Failing that, visualized information can just look really cool."

The Beauty of Data Visualisation

Watch this TD talk video by David McCandless on The Beauty of Data Visualisation

10 Tips for designing Infographics by Randy Krum

20 Must-Have Educational Resources For All Teachers

Here is an extract from a blog post by Heather Eddick posted on 6th February 2012.

I divided my resources into categories, based on my interests as a teacher. These are not all Internet-based resources, but all of them take advantage of the information available via that medium.
  • iPad – The iPad provides access to e-texts and incredible educational apps. Attach a Bluetooth keyboard, and students can easily create documents with this device.
  • Kindle – In a recent conversation with the Principal of my son’s school, I learned that she wants all of her students to receive a Kindle so they will have access to their texts without having to break their back carrying them all home.
  • Nook – The Nook is a good alternative to the Kindle. Some people prefer it to the Kindle, but, personally, I think they might be about even at this point.
  • Android Tablets – I like the Android tablets, but I found them to be a bit slow.
Resources for Lesson Planning
  • TeacherVision offers many resources for teachers: lesson plans, printables, an event calendar, graphic organizers, tips for classroom management, and more. I love this site and visit it often. *Note: This site requires you to pay for membership after a free trial.
  • EdHelper is another site that offers printables and ideas for teachers, but it also allows teachers to create their own printables – even printable books. For elementary or middle school teachers who like to give morning work or bell ringers, this site is great. *Note: This site requires you to pay for membership.
  • Readwritethink offers classroom, professional development, and parent resources by grade level and learning objective.
  • PBS Teachers offers teachers numerous videos to use in the classroom, professional development resources, lesson plans, and interactive activities. The topics are timely and help students find relevance by connecting concepts to their lives.
  • Education World is a great alternative to sites that require members to pay a fee. It offers many of the same things as the members-only sites and has a section for administrators as well.
Classroom Resources
  • – Although this site is fee-based, I have been a member for many years and recommend it highly for high-quality recordings of texts many teachers use in the classroom. For free audio files, check out
  • – My cooperating teacher introduced me to this site. She asked her students to do a project using this site to create a video capturing the character of Holden Caulfield. The results were pretty amazing. Students can create 30 second videos for free.
  • – I love this site! I used it first when I wanted to start a poetry for social justice unit, to activate students’ background knowledge on poetry and social justice. I asked the students, “What comes to your mind when you hear…?” Then, I typed the keywords into the text box, clicked the Create button, and we watched a beautiful word cloud appear. The kids enjoyed it. This site is also free.
  • Michael Cummings Study Guides – Need a study guide for a great work of literature? Michael’s site probably has it. If not, try or They all have free resources for students; teachers have to pay for things like lesson plans on enotes and shmoop.
  • Project Gutenberg – This site offers access to works in the public domain in a variety of formats, including Kindle and ePUB. Project Gutenberg volunteers diligently proofread each work they digitize. They also contribute recordings to
Learning Management Systems
  • Schoology is a site I reviewed recently after the Palo Alto SD decided change to its platform. For more information on Schoology, click here.
  • is another amazing LMS and its free features are quite attractive. What I liked best was the ability to create lesson plans within the site AND reference Common Core standards in the lesson plan. This site also offers a grade book, a teacher-student-parent communication platform, and the ability to integrate with Google Apps.
  • Edmodo is similar to Schoology, but Schoology allows you to create courses and Edmodo only allows you to create groups. Still, it’s free, robust, harnesses the power of social media, and makes classroom management a lot easier.
Cloud Resources
  • Google Docs – Enough said, I think.
  • Evernote - I just started using this and think it’s a great way to store things to read later.
  • Diigo - I like the social aspect of diigo, a resource for storing bookmarks and then sharing them with those in your network.
What about you? What resources do you love? Since I am an English teacher, many of my resources are skewed toward that subject, so I would love to hear from other subject-area teachers.