Do You See What I See? (3:18 E.R.T.)

If a picture is worth a thousand words should all blogs just be instagram?  Well this short article covers how to display information.  And while I think some people are less fluent in numerical literacy and visual literacy, I don’t think that needs to be the case.  It is possible to convey some great literary, historical, or sociological ideas with pictures or charts.  Of course once you figure out how to put it in a chart, then you need to figure out how to make a good chart or picture.  I think the article gives 7 good examples with links to sites which can help you display that information.  Of course Tufte’s works on the topic are also great, and his website has some more examples for those who are interested.

As a youngster I wanted to be a scientist, or perhaps if you asked my mother a medieval alchemist.  So I’ve always enjoyed the idea of science, but didn’t always have science instructors who engaged me.  I wish Bill Nye, or a Bill Nye inspired teacher had been one of those instructors.  His article discusses how NASCAR should not rely on historical technologies to engage the need for speed, but invest in futuristic technologies like electric vehicles.  And if they did you might have the largest contingency of adopters of a new technology the world has ever seen.

Diversity is an important subject.  We see its importance on the nightly news in forms of protest around the nation, shootings around the nation, and in the supporters or comments of our two presidential candidates.  And as educators it is important to cover the topic in a respectful manner to open discourse among people of various views.  I think I’ve done a good job of it in face to face courses.  In online courses though there are certainly some barriers to respectful and open discourse.  I have seen some of these issues as a TA and an instructor.  This article from the Chronicle discusses what a few instructors have found when they cover diversity, and they offer some hints for those who would like to cover it more or better.

I know there are some out there adamantly against for their policies and potential use of items posted there.  I also know lots of people who either don’t care, or are in a difficult job market who see it as advertising.  So I do have an account and I do follow some people on there, and I came across an article by an old professor of mine Chip Bruce.  He’s now retired, and I thought well this will be good, I always enjoy his writing.  Here is the article.  So as I was reading, I kept thinking this is really good, it talks about how our cultural values are enmeshed in our technology and we need to understand both in order to understand either.  Its really relevant to today.  And then about halfway through I began to think this may be an older work, and indeed it is almost 20 years old.  But considering Chip is a great supporter of John Dewey whose writings still have relevance today, this article still is a good read today.  Yes disregard that only corporations would have 30mbps service and talking about America Online, the underlying philosophical discussion is as relevant today as in 1998.  And as I was reading I thought back to this old idea I used to have, about how our modern world really was created by those who created the qwerty keyboard and those who coded the first computers.   We can’t escape their choices.  I imagine I got that idea when I was taking his class, as some it comes out in this piece.  Its about 15 pages and well worth the read.


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