Evolution of a (data) visualization

Written by: Josh Rosenberg

Primary Source: Joshua M. Rosenberg, June 25, 2018.

Last summer, I taught the MAET Year 2 Summer Cohort with Danah Henriksen. After teaching the class, Danah realized she had taught five cohorts of (awesome) students and that we had some information available from pre- and post-course self-reported surveys to understand how students grew in terms of their confidence in using different educational (and other) technologies.

That research idea evolved into a study with Rohit Mehta that involved, among other findings, a visualization of average pre-post values for specific technologies. Over back-and-forth emails, Rohit and I shaped the figure up into what we think is a good representation. We realized our back-and-forth in terms of our revisions was possibly interesting to the extent that it showed us that there isn’t often one right way to create a figure, but playing around and revising one can help.

Also, we thought the findings were interesting! Alignment represents how much of a focus the particular technology was over the course of the three summer classes; students seemed to grow, even in technologies that were not the focus of or aligned with the activities in the classes.

We were generating these interactively and did not think to save or commit earlier versions; but the code for the final version (version 5, below) is (in a not very edited form) here.

Version 1: Bar chart with three “facets”Visualization Version 2: Bar chart with different shading for different alignment

Version 2: Bar chart with different shading for different alignment

Visualization Version 1: Bar Chart with three Facets

Version 3: Use of points instead of bars with different alignment

Visualization Version 3: Use of points instead of bars with different alignment

 

Version 4: Use of points instead of bars with different alignment

Visualization Version 4: Use of points instead of bars with different alignment

 

Version 5: Use of points instead of bars with different alignment and pre-survey bars dashed (instead of post-survey bars)

Visualization Version 5: Use of points instead of bars with different alignment and pre-survey bars dashed (instead of post-survey bars)

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Joshua M. Rosenberg is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. In his research, Joshua focuses on how social and cultural factors affect teaching and learning with technologies, in order to better understand and design learning environments that support learning for all students. Joshua currently serves as the associate chair for the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) Special Interest Group in the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. Joshua was previously a high school science teacher, and holds degrees in education (M.A.) and biology (B.S.).