Looking at charts and graphs for most students is tedious and boring. There is nothing for the student to engage with the visuals just require students to make an observation and draw a conclusion on it. These two skills are things we want students to be able to do on their own but in the instance of just looking at data it fails to engage students. Some see no challenge in drawing a conclusion and others may not see a connection because they don't feel invested in the question. Flourish offers a solution for both of these issues.
Flourish is a tool used by corporations to visually display data at conferences or to preform data analysis. I was introduced to this amazing website by a friend of mine that works at Facebook. There are many different forms of graphs and charts you are able to create and all of them can be shared with a public link. Creating a graph is as simple as importing an Excel spreadsheet which you can export from Google Sheets or Excel. Once the data is in the teacher can define the columns as three types of data:
Meta Data: Data that will appear when a line or bubble is clicked on
Categorical Columns: Data that is analog or choice based
Continuous Columns: Data such as test scores or number based data
After the data is defined there are many customizations to personalize the data like changing the background image, the colors used in sorting, how meta data is displayed, and the animations.
This amazing site could be used to direct students to look at data uploaded by the teacher with a prompt about finding a connection between anything from location of a school and student scores or states won by each party and the minority populations. The map overlays make geographical data possible as well.
The site is also easy enough to use I could see it being used by student in their own projects that require them to survey their classmates or families.
Flourish wasn't designed with classrooms in mind but the potential it has with eye catching graphics and ability to engage the individual looking at the data shows the potential it has with students. I look forward to using it in my classroom some day!
Click on the image below for an example that I was able to create with only a few clicks.
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