Data visualization is the use of tools to represent data in the form of charts, maps, tag clouds, animations, or any graphical means that make content easier to understand. Graphic representations of data are popular because they open up the way we think about data, reveal hidden patterns, and highlight connections among elements. Because current web applications allow anyone with access to data to enter information and easily create a virtualization of it, students, informal learners, and the purely curious can now easily create visualizations that might reveal trends that were not obvious from the numbers alone. For scholars, particularly those whose conclusions depend on interpretation of complex statistics, data visualization offers the promise of easier communication and a wider audience for their findings.
The "7 Things You Should Know About..." series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning technologies. Each brief focuses on a single technology and describes what it is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use these briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues.
In addition to the "7 Things You Should Know Aboutâ€¦" briefs, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution. To learn more, please visit the ELI Resources page.