A friend forwarded me a link to this YouTube video capturing Professor Hans Rosling’s statistical display of 200 years of history.
The clip is part of a BBC segment, The Joy of Stats, last aired on January 13, 2011. I love the BBC’s description of the segment:
Despite its light and witty touch, the film nonetheless has a serious message – without statistics we are cast adrift on an ocean of confusion, but armed with stats we can take control of our lives, hold our rulers to account and see the world as it really is.
I find it segment intriguing on several levels. Mathematically, it’s an excellent way to make statistics come alive for students. An analysis of ACT testing standards reveals that students struggle with statistical representations of data. The new Common Core State Standards include a strong emphasis on real-world applications of mathematics and use of mathematical modeling. Providing examples such as this can help students see connections between math content and how it is used in life.
With it’s augmented reality, Rosling’s work is technically and scientifically cutting edge. In fact, according to the BBC article, Rosling concludes that it may represent a shift in how we pursue theories and make discoveries.
We can now collect and analyse such huge quantities of data and at such speeds that scientific method itself seems to be changing.
More About Hans Rosling
Professor Rosling is the founder of Gapminder Foundation, the goal of the foundation is,
To replace devastating myths with a fact-based world view. Our method is to make data easy to understand.
At the foundation’s website, Gapminder World, you will find other examples of interactive data displays. The site includes a special page For Teachers with excellent resources to connect real-world applications of data with content.