New graphics and data visualizations are emerging every day trying to portray the data and reality that surrounds us. However, like most things in the world, it is the law of Occam's razor that sets the bar. It is a principle of theory construction or evaluation according to which, other things equal, explanations that posit fewer entities, or fewer kinds of entities, are to be preferred to explanations that posit more. Or in other words the simplest solution is usually the best. This is especially true with graphics and data visualizations, a lot of times one can spend endless hours designing a new dashboard that no one is looking at later, simply because it is either too complicated or it's not answering the questions users want to pursue. Whether that is in education or not, we strive to present the information in the simplest way to enable teachers and schools take data-informed actions to ultimately benefit the learners. In this short, 5 min TED talk that is part history lesson, part love letter to graphics, information designer Tommy McCall traces the centuries-long evolution of charts and diagrams, and shows how complex data can be sculpted into beautiful shapes. "Graphics that help us think faster, or see a book's worth of information on a single page, are the key to unlocking new discoveries," McCall says.
(This post is by Megan Brazil, Elementary School Principal, United Nations International School, Hanoi. The post was first published online in 2016.) In a ‘silo schools’ approach, teachers have generally been left to work independently on collecting, understanding and using their own classroom data to make decisions about instruction, planning and assessment. Many schools have not yet made the successful transition from individual to collaborative: to enable teams of teachers to collectively analyze learning data in order to improve learning outcomes for all students. What we know to be true in many schools is that teachers still spend a disproportionate amount of time planning instruction, but don’t place the same emphasis or effort on finding out if the instruction really worked. Perhaps then, less importance has been placed on finding time for teams of teachers, coaches and administrators to take a look at the ‘back end’ — the learning that has taken place as a result of the planni