Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stories in the Data

Last week when I was at the Google Teacher Academy in Ausin, Texas I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Aviles. He was a brilliant and energetic lead learner and his session on 21st Century Storytelling left my head spinning. The focus of this session was how we can look at data and tell a story with it. Chris introduced us to a tool called Ngram viewer. Ngram allows you to search for words in over 5 million books that date back 500 years. I don't know about you, but I think that is incredibly impressive!

David Warlick just wrote a post about how he is using Ngram to help him write a book about this history of educational technology. Imagine all of the possible ways that students could use this in a classroom! Instead of telling students how events and people are related, with some guidance, they can begin discovering these connections for themselves.

Ngram is not the only powerful tool that you can use to search data. Here are some other ones that Chris shared with us:

  •  Google Trends- shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. Click here to learn more about Trends.
  • Google Scholar- Google defines Scholar as a "simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research."
  • Google News Archive- Search current or archived news stories from the US and other countries. Users can also search by topic.
  • YouTube Trends- Google describes YouTube trends as "a new destination for the latest trending videos and video trends on YouTube and a resource for daily insight into what’s happening in web video."
  • Google Correlate- Google Correlate is a tool which enables you to find queries with a similar pattern to a target data series. The target can either be a real-world trend that you provide (e.g., a data set of event counts over time) or a query that you enter.
Possible applications for these tools: 

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