I would like to state that I am a big fan of visualisations, and for people like me who prefer to engage in learning via visual methods, visualisations can really help.
That said, any form of data representation is only as good as the data going in. I looked at the four options of visualisations tools and came away with the following.
Fig 1 - IBM’s Many Eyes
I used a pre-made dataset that represented the population of the USA in 2000. I feel this image representation is a good example of displaying information in a way that interprets the data faster and more clearly than a table of text.
Fig 2 - Portwiture
I used my own twitter account for this tool. I seldom use my twitter account so I did not expect to gain any useful information from this tool. I was correct! The idea of displaying images that represent a keyword in my opinion if fun at best, but does not provide any real information that can be used in any academic forum.
Points to consider;
While we are still not at the point of making a final decision for our presentation topic,I feel that I will be using a visualisation tool to help explain my topic and aid participants digest the information more easily.
My possible presentation topic of ‘Alternative learning styles in distance learning: Have they been forgotten?’ may contain data about different learning styles, how many are used via distance learning etc. This could be represented well using a visulisation tool.
The Many Eyes dataset (image) did reveal that California is the most populated area of the USA in 2000, while the Portwiture site seemed to reveal that my tweets represent allot of trees…
Any visulatation tool needs to have an accurate dataset to produce an accurate representation, without good data, the representation is useless. In addition, it can be to easy to use a tool ‘for the sake of it’, and this must be avoided.