More Storage Visualization

I have meant to play around more with the Google Chart API for a while and I wasn’t happy with what I made earlier to visualize the network storage differences among the schools and users. I thought a treemap would be a more powerful way to show just how much space a few teachers used vs the masses. Knowing your options and picking the right one to help illustrate your point is an important element of data visualization. After all, we aren’t ignorant savages who believe –Isn’t this about visualizations, basically a form designed for those who won’t (or can’t) read? Kinda like remedial explanation for the 99%.” You can see the Google example for this kind of graphic here. This is my first time messing with it so I started by copying their example into my text editor. Their example was pretty close to what I wanted in terms of the structure of the information. They had Location, Parent, Volume, Color as the main variables. I wanted something pretty similar. Instead of ‘Global,’ ‘HCPS’ was my top category with the schools taking the place of the countries. Pretty simple but I sure didn’t want to write all that data by hand. I already had the basic data in Excel, I just had to come up with the right formula. […]


Networked Storage Data

We have 668 high school teachers using at least .1 MB on a shared network volumes we’ve collectively dubbed “Virtual Share.” Those 668 high school teachers use 2019.7 GB or 2.02 terabytes of storage. What’s particularly interesting to me is the disproportionate usage between teachers. The top user, a single person, uses 180 GB or roughly 17% of the total.1 The top 10 users use 733.2 GB of storage. The top 20 users use 993.6 GB of storage or almost 50% of the storage is used by roughly 3% of the users.2 These are just embeds of the data from Google Spreadsheets. Nothing fancy, not much control but I think it does paint a decent picture of the extreme differences in resource usage. I do continue to have trouble with the interactive chart embeds outside of the spreadsheet. I do like the unintentional psychedelic effect on the pie chart. 1 No judgements on quality of use, just amazement that they are so far out there. 2 Makes me reconsider the whole 1% thing as even more screwed up.


Why I Talk This Way

I spent quite a lot of time with my wife and oldest son looking at the dialectic survey map1 and trying to figure out which one of us said a particular phrase or pronounced a word a certain way. About half the time I answered “all of the above” while my wife was tried and true Massachusetts for just about every one.2 I figure my wandering ways are to blame so I figured I’d take a shot at visualizing that. I did recall that Google Spreadsheets would let you visualize spreadsheet data on map with no trouble at all. It’s an option under “insert chart.” All I needed was a location in the first column and the numerical value for the circle in the second column (years in this case). Said and done.3 Too easy. Mine is immediately below and is followed by my wife’s map. Turns out it has a rough time with two different data sources from one document- even if they’re on different sheets. I could have made an additional spreadsheet but I don’t like this enough. Easy-ish but not much control. I’m going to look for some other options. Image Version Turns out I’m starting to hate these as there are more issues than they’re worth. I don’t know how to allow access to the interactive […]


English in the Wild and Mapping Thoughts

Word Games/English in the Wild I made a blog focused on the idea of English in the wild. The goal is to look at language and how it works outside of school, to capture the things people find interesting, odd, or broken about English as they interact with it. Essentially, I keep finding things that are interesting (at least to me)- strange phrases, interesting sentences, games comedians play with words1, even a little Scottish poetry recently.2 I thought it might be useful to aggregate content like this. Naturally, it’s just me at this point but I’ll invite/beg some people to join me at some point and hopefully it’ll map out to students as well. This content can then become fodder for all kinds of reuse. I see aspects of it falling short of the weight of Defective Yeti’s book review posts but containing elements of them. His structure would make a grate template for larger scale project and I like his “Words I Looked Up” at the bottom of the post and his neologisms (and I had to look neologism up). So between neologisms and paraprosdokian you have some unfortunate names but interesting items. This idea may be something that was submitted Henrico 21 at one point. Gaynell remembers it but hasn’t provided me with proof yet. I went through […]

There are four photoshopped images from various ads.

Is it a lie?

So I actually taught a 55 minute class Monday. I’d give myself a C- but I think the underlying concept and the examples are decent and worth sharing. Here’s the idea. Essentially it’s easier and easier to tell convincing lies in a digital environment. I’m stealing from Dan Meyer here. I asked the kids to tell me one thing they knew was true and then one thing they knew was false.  The next request was for a statement that was sort of true or sort of false. Augmenting Reality   So I start with the question “Are these pictures lies?” and then try to drill down to the various pieces and apply the idea of context, intent, and manipulation. Essentially, maybe it doesn’t matter so much if Dana Carvey is airbrushed up.  He’s a comedian.  I don’t think anyone cares too much what he looks like.  He’s not selling anything to do with looks. Does it matter more that they’re changing Beyonce’s skin color dramatically?  Why would they do that? Does it matter? Interestingly, the students seemed to feel that this was done with lighting and wasn’t a big deal. With Demi Moore, I tried to add complication.  Would this be a lie if this picture was used to sell a beauty product?  That seemed to trigger something for the […]

Random Thoughts and Examples of Student Dashboards

This collection of dashboards1 was brought on by a tweet2 from Dan Meyer but precipitated by the fact that I am struggling to figure out what matters in terms of a future LMS and how the data we present (or don’t present) to students and teachers impacts education as a whole.3 While we4 often say we5 want a balance between multiple choice assessment and other types of assessment, if the only data that teachers see and talk about is related to multiple choice we probably shouldn’t bother talking about other types of assessment. There’s also the idea that assessment data may just be the tip of the iceberg. I’m not sure what exactly would make a difference but there are lots of other things that ought to be looked at. In the end I see the data displayed to students and teachers as being pretty important but it means nothing if it’s not set within the right context and used in the right way by both parties. All that aside, let’s see what’s going on right now. Delaware Insight Dashboards Fairly traditional, I’m not sure these dashboards are even meant for student view but many of the systems I’ve seen lately just give students access to their own data with the same views they give teachers and call it a […]


Based on Faulty Information

Their opinions are based on faulty information . I shot this quick clip in one of the classrooms that was doing the performance based assessment. The audio is terrible but what this student says is perfect. It’s actually kind of scary because there are people who don’t do this out in the public- like they don’t check their sources and stuff, therefore their opinions are based on faulty information. Now if we can create more assessments that cause students to come to those simple, yet powerful, conclusions I’ll be very pleased.


8 Bit Excel

Spreadsheet Invasion from Amy Thornley done in Excel. -via Flowingdata Excel is usually a place where people go to suffer1. It is time to reclaim it. Animate a scene using colored Excel cells as your medium. Want some 8 bit inspiration? 8 bit stop motion MW|WM 8 bit music 1 For the record, I actually like Excel.

UMW Faculty Academy 2010 prt.1

cc licensed flickr photo shared by bionicteaching Here are a few of the things I’m thinking about after a great time at Faculty Academy. Raw notes are below. The big picture stuff is pretty simple. Work that is student driven, public and has a real audience results in all kinds of good things happening. We really ought to begin working on defining and publicizing best practice around blogs a lot of this stuff. And by “stuff” I mean things like student driven classes, online conversations, etc. Simple things like “when/why does it make sense to give people feedback as audio? ” Kevin McCluskey gave his theater students feedback via audio files and saw his language being reflected when students did in class critiques. So there are a variety of times we ought to be recommending this type of feedback for reasons far beyond simple convenience. Melanie Szulczewski had a really interesting look at how the action words her students used changed over time and focused on the idea that blogging allowed them to reflect as they progressed rather than after. So it’d make sense to make this kind of data visible and encourage people to look at it. Maybe a blog plugin that showed comments by user sequentially with chunks of additional information- maybe word count, links to outside content […]

Wolverine poems and other gifts from the Internet

Picture CC from DuneChaser Four people got to this blog today searching for “wolverine poems.” I hate to leave people disappointed. I’m not sure which wolverine they’re looking for so I’m covering my bases. Wolverine: The Haiku Wolverine is the man with adamantium bones and sharp claws. Wolverine: The Animal Carcajou, skunk bear, you glutton! I call you out as a big weasel. This did inspire me but it also got me thinking about how many fun sources for poetry/writing prompts that are out there just begging to be used. I’d love to do things with Google Trends. Take today’s (at around 9-10 PM Eastern) trending topics- No. 1 with a bullet is “applebees menu1.” I would also be forced to use #44 “goonies 2” Then it’s on to #64 “agent cody banks” and finish it off with #47 “19 pound indonesian baby” and #48 “sycophants definition.” I consulted the Applebee’s menu yet again. It had answers, but not the ones I wanted. I was hungry . . . for knowledge. “Is Goonies 2 an actual possibility? Am I getting my hopes up for an inevitable disappointment?” I wondered again. My mind tends to drift when I am stressed. I tried to relax. I knew Agent Cody Banks was on the case. I had no way of knowing that a […]