The Elephant

Michael Morpurgo was asked yesterday why pre school children could read words like ‘elephant’ but not ‘the’, his reply was that it was because an Elephant is interesting.

People sometimes ask about how to engage pupils in ‘spreadsheets’.  The answer is the same – make it interesting.  Who could fail to be fascinated when data is communicated with clarity.

In this TED talk Hans Roslings makes the point is that there is no link between religion and childbirth (the hypothesis suggested by the title) but the result is awesome and affects us all.

All new Powers of ten

This is a cool tool for comprehending, appreciating, and demonstrating the scale of our universe. We’ve all seen the  classic film, Powers of Ten (I hope), as the best way to get a sense of our cosmos. It’s still effective, but two bothers have made an on-line portal that blows Powers of Ten away.

Check out The Scale of the Universe 2. It takes a minute to load. Once ready, be prepared to have your horizons stretched. I like the way they pile in the expected and unexpected size examples, which anchor the scale in a refreshing way. The continuous zoom is what makes this device work, rather than the quantum powers of ten of the film. (In fact you can read off the powers of ten in this model as well.)

BTW, this app is what electronic "publishing" is really about.


Is visualising data becoming a ‘mainstream’ activity?   What about interactivity with data?

Personally I think that this is set to become a rapidly developing area that ICT teachers are going to HAVE to come to terms with. 

If (like me) you’re fairly new to this then this series of short videos (from Stanford) might help.

Topics include:

  • Data visualisation in Journalism
  • Telling Data Stories
  • E New Era in Infographics
  • Life as a data stream
  • Exploring data
  • Technologies and tools
  • First steps

You might notice that this has now become a new category in the blog – I’m expecting to see a lot more on this topic in the near future.



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