Pretty Pictures for the Classroom

Don’t know how many of the fellow associates who were in the tutorial the other day will actually find this, but the conversation came up about finding useful pictures and graphs for demonstrating how to read graphs, etc to students. You might want to be a bit careful about some of these, because some of them are a little bit looser than others on the conventions of graph writing, and the majority of the sites flit between being “acceptable” for the classroom and decidedly unacceptable, so I’d also be careful of not recommending too many of these sites to your students.

With the disclaimers out of the way though: here’s some of the best places I’ve found:

xkcd.com

From xkcd - relation between bacon and health

Be very careful not to recommend this one to your students, but it’s got some fantastic stuff mixed in with some very very nerdy stuff and some jokes that are downright crass. Don’t worry if you don’t understand lots of the jokes there: it just means you have a life.

informationisbeautiful.net

Good information design

This is a much safer site to recommend: though at times it can get slightly political (can’t we all), Information is Beautiful has an incredible collection of infographics which can communicate complex information usually in simple, easy to understand ways. My wife is a graphic designer and she is in love with this site.

graphjam.com

This is a much less definitive recommendation: graphjam’s stuff is all about user-contribution so the quality varies from putrid to fantastic. But if you do manage to get a hold of the good ones, they are usually pretty cool/funny. The whole thing is graphs and Venn diagrams, so you should at least be able to find something useful if you look long enough. They’re certainly not as pretty though.

thisisindexed.com

Indexed is a fantastic little blog I’ve been following for ages: the cute hand-drawn Venn diagrams and graphs are always good for a laugh.

Hope these have been helpful. If nothing else they’ve helped me to procrastinate a little more rather than working properly on my lesson planning assignments.

Julia Gillard wants to make us famous

“TONY EASTLEY: So if I interview you in 12 months time from today, you’ll be able to tell me that some of these problems, a lot of these problems have been alleviated and we’re around these problems of deficiencies in teacher expertise?

JULIA GILLARD: If you interview me in 12 months time, Tony, I’ll be able to go through with you each of the schools that’s got extra resources under our disadvantaged schools program where we’re making a difference. I’ll be able to give you the names of our Teach for Australia graduates who are out there teaching in schools. I’ll be able to tell you about how many students have gone into maths and science teaching induced to do so by our program to halve their HECS.”

via Julia Gillard – Radio Interview ABC.

Jokes aside though, I think this illustrates the stakes of this little experiment we’re a part of in Teach for Australia. This program has got national visibility, and while the Teach for Australia staff and the schools we go into will be doing everything they can to support us – there is still a definite sense that the success or failure of this program ultimately rests in the hands of the associates on the ground.