Dear Data @GEMS World Academies

A love of data ignited our latest collaborative project between Innovation Leads at GEMS World Academy schools.

For Peg Keiner (GWA Chicago), data is an opportunity to notice patterns and uncover new information; to make the invisible, visible. Andy MacRae (GWA Switzerland),  loves showing others how data can inform their practice and help them identify trends. For me (Keri-Lee Beasley at GWA Switzerland), I love how data visualisation encourages curiosity and engagement with information and simplifies people’s understanding of sometimes challenging subjects.

Peg, Andy and I drew inspiration from the Dear Data project, created by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec. The pair collected and illustrated their personal data and sent it to each other in the form of postcards over the period of a year.

Every fortnight, we will attempt to collect some data in our lives, visualise that data, and share it with each other (and the world!). The twist is we are collecting and visualising the data digitally, with the use of the Google Forms, the iPad and Apple Pencil.

Very soon, we aim to bring this project to our students, so we can get to know friends in different global locations, and also strengthen their ability to analyse, interpret and present data themselves.

Our first data collection topic is one close to the hearts of teachers everywhere: Coffee and Tea. We used the app Procreate to visualise our data, and it was wonderful to see the different approaches and styles.

Andy’s Coffee & Tea Data Visualisation

Andy incorporated his love of cycling into his data visualisation with the use of bike wheels. The circular format helped show the time of day he drank his coffee. By going through this process, Andy realised, “I tend to drink more coffee while I’m at work. It’s nice to feel focused and alert when I’m doing something. The more challenging the task, the more I seem to have coffee with the task.”

He also noted, “I drink too much coffee! I was more self conscious about how many coffees I had when we were tracking them. Now that we’re not tracking them I think I’ve probably had about 6 coffees today!”

Peg’s Coffee Data Visualisation

Peg designed her data visualisation in the car on a road trip. Watching her video (Procreate tracks brush strokes, which you can export as a video), it was interesting to see the process she went through in deciding how best to represent the data. A fan of iced coffee, Peg was shocked to see how frequently she purchased coffees. Since doing this project, she has returned to making more coffee at home, which no doubt helps the bank balance!

Peg’s Data Visualisation video
Keri-Lee’s Coffee & Tea Data Visualisation

Looking at our combined data, I was amazed to see I was the biggest consumer of caffeinated beverages among the 3 of us. I realised that I drink tea because I seldom have a water bottle with me, and have since tried to be better about drinking water instead.

Creating the visualisation made me really dig into the data, think about what I wanted to share, and how I could make it engaging for the audience.

We hope you enjoy our data project and we are happy to receive any suggestions of topics for the weeks ahead.

If you want to join us in our data collection, let us know!

Film Scoring with Public Domain Videos

P1030458Our fabulous music teacher Maggie Hess has been brave enough to start working on a really neat project with me – composing film scores for Public Domain Videos.

Today, Maggie is wearing a button on her shirt which says, “Do one thing every day that scares you” (Eleanor Roosevelt), which sums up how she’s feeling as we embark on this project!

Firstly, she asked the students to go to http://pdcomedy.com/ to choose a video that they wanted to create the background music for. She recommended the cartoons and the silent movies on the site as the best for our purposes.

Students downloaded a video of their choice, then added them to Acid Music Studio 7.
(This is the composition programme we have on the lab PC computers, however you could do exactly the same thing in GarageBand with a Mac.)

From there, they decide on loops and sound effects which will complement their film.

The kids are absolutely loving it. I hope to have some samples to share with you when they are finished.

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