Monday, May 13, 2013

Mind the Gap with GapMinder

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“I want to convince you that these kinds of personal explanations of success don't work. People don't rise from nothing....It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn't.” ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

After reading Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, I found that my biggest takeaway is the fact that where we're from determines much of our success.  And by from, I don't just mean our specific geographic location―that matters too―but also who our parents are, the environment that surrounds us, and what our culture is like.  This all really started to make sense to me when I discovered GapMinder, created by Hans Rosling.

GapMinder empowers its users to investigate data, discover trends, find correlations, and identify anomalies in order to understand more about our world.  For example, users can select any of the most popular categories such as life expectancy, income per person, or carbon dioxide emissions in order to try to find a correlation, or spot an anomaly.  Users can also select other categories such as Economy, Education, and Government when trying to investigate data.  Furthermore, users can even pinpoint specific countries in order to investigate change over time.  GapMinder even color codes the countries by continent and displays quantity with circles of proportionate size to the data.

Here is a video that I created as an example from some data found on GapMinder.






Students can use this information to extend on a learning activity, or even take the opportunity to inquire more about a topic. Visit the GapMinder for Teachers page to learn more about the possibilities and resources for this tool.

For your consideration
  • What questions might you have from watching this video
  • How might a student use this data to extend his or her learning?
  • How does GapMinder help to "mind the gap" regarding global awareness?

Final thought

It has become more important than ever for our students to become internationally-minded and to have a sense of cultural awareness in the 21st Century workplace.  Our world is keeps changing.  We need to prepare our students for their future in this global economy.  We need to prepare them for the jobs that haven't been created, and the problems that haven't been discovered.  

Let's help our students to mind the gap of global awareness with powerful learning tools like GapMinder.

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