Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 GTAQ Conference - Using Gapminder to Analyse Statistics

Gapminder is one of the best tools available to analyse demographic data and population statistics. This workshop will show you what Gapminder can do and provide you with some ideas on how to use this great website in your Geography classroom.

To begin with, what is the answer to this question:

Which country has the highest fertility rate?

A. Saudi Arabia
B. Israel
C. Bangladesh

Hans Rosling stated that 'There is no such thing as a western world or a developing world’. He followed on to say that:

Geography teachers and pupils are familiar with the concepts of 'less' and 'more' developed countries (LEDCs and MEDCs), of 'developed' and 'developing' countries and a global 'North-South Divide'.

For many years these concepts have helped students learn about inequality, however in recent decades there has been significant global convergence between these 'developed' and 'developing worlds', so much so that these concepts and terms no longer fit. In fact, they are wrong and if we use them we risk leaving students with a flawed view of the world that ignores recent economic and social change that has affected billions of people.

There is a need for geography teachers to challenge our assumptions, to change mindset and use a different vocabulary to describe the world. Young people need modern understanding of their diverse and changing world that is drawn from the reliable data that actually exists; they need this to understand the real change that is happening in their places and lives, and in the lives of others.

Geography has a powerful role to play in allowing students to build a current and knowledge-based world view, and to develop their understanding of meaningful data that is distinct from political discourse and personal opinion.

To read the rest of this article go to the following link - Geographical Association - Gapminder and World Mapper.

Gapminder was founded in February 2005 with the aim of providing facts and statistics to debunk myths people had about the difference between developed and developing countries. Hans Rosling, one of the founding members spoke for the first time at a TED conference in 2006. His video is below:

Before we look at Gapminder World, lets play a card game to look at our own perceptions of development.

Following this, Gapminder World was launched. The site also includes a number of great 10-15 minute videos that you can use to show your classes on various topics. Below is one of my favourites.

There are also links to a number of teaching resources. These include a lesson overview of 200 Years that changed the World, a great powerpoint presentation explaining Life Expectancy and various other resources.

I have used Gapminder with my classes in a number of ways.

Introducing Analysis of Statistics
When introducing scattergraphs, I use it to explain how a scattergraph is created and why we use it to look for relationships. I then also look for anomolies in the data.

Explaining Relationships Between Data
If you are in a 1:1 environment, ask the students to create a 'Hans' video of a set of data that they have chosen. They can use various programs to record a voice-over whilst playing the data, including Jing, or Adobe Screen Capture. Once you have captured this video, you could upload it to a website and create a collaborative Google Map of Levels of Development.

Here is an example taken from a Year 6 student in New York.

China vs US - Total Fertility Rate from Liz on Vimeo.

You could also create your own videos - such as those of Mr Barton in the UK.

This really is one of the best Geography resources I have used. It is incredibly engaging for the students and they love to discuss, watch and ask questions of the data.....

Other Gapminder Resources

Gapminder and 21st Century Teaching

An Entire School Course Designed on Gapminder

50 Sites Like Gapminder

The OECD Factbook in Gapminder Graphs

The Gapminder Blog

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