Education

How To Transform Great Research into Data Visualizations for Policy Makers

The vast field of education comes with unique set of challenges from understanding complex policies to serving students with differing socioeconomic backgrounds. Rigorous research is often done to equip teachers with effective pedagogy and inform policymakers of improved solutions. However, these long-detailed reports don’t often have the impact on policy they should because their complexity is hard to translate.

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This is where effective data visualization comes to the rescue. By making the data digestible, interactive, and solution-oriented through rigorous UX, we are lessening the burden on educators and policy makers to sift through data and empowering them to make informed choices for their next steps.

And that is exactly what we did with the amazing team at  Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO). By applying UX methodology and concepts, we were able to translate rigorous research into something that could be easily understood by educators, policy makers, and education leaders. For the first time in history, this type of interactive report was also accepted by the U.S. Department of Education as an official submission for evaluation.

Building this type of visual report took more than just design skills though.  Our ProjectEd Education Data Storytelling Design Model consists of these key steps:

1. Look at the research as a whole before diving into the nitty gritty.

It’s important for the team to look at all the data, not just the pieces that we presume are important. The team works together with data scientists and researchers to fully understand the research from initial theories of action, surprises along the way and final results.

We worked together with CREDO to conduct an exhaustive review of all of their research. By doing so, we were able to identify together the key components of the data that needed to be translated to the target audience (i.e. educators and policy makers) and ensure that it tied back to the research as a whole.

2. Carve out a coherent path by asking the right questions.

In the same way that we must take a step back to see the big picture, we must also “zoom in” to see the intricate details and moving parts that make the picture whole. That’s why it’s important to ask certain questions before rushing to the blank canvas:

  • Who is looking at this data?

  • Where will they be accessing this information?

  • Who needs to know what information?

In order to do this, we must also ask and research what each stakeholder needs to learn from the data such that each view while different will be equally effective.

3. Design, Build, Test, Repeat

Once we fully understand the data, the target audiences and the impact it needs to have, then we design and build the best possible data visualization.  Depending on the goals, these can be websites, animations, infographics, or more traditional downloadable reports.

In all cases, testing the results with real users is key.  This extensive and careful research is done because we want to make education better and to do that we need our data to be understood and have an impact with those that need to understand it to make informed decisions.

Effective data visualization is no easy feat, but the end results are impactful. This intersection between UX design and rigorous research creates another tool that educators and policy makers can use to move education forward.

 

Want to learn more about data visualization and how it could potentially benefit your edtech research? We're happy to answer any of your questions. Feel free to send us a message

(Re)Introducing #EdTechBridge, Every Second Wednesdays!

Wait a minute — didn’t summer just start?

In a blink of an eye, teachers are already gearing up for back-to-school season, just as we’re coming out of our summer daze. Because we are always championing the ever-busy and heroic educator, by learning their language and urging edtech leaders to always loopback for feedback, we’re rebooting #EdTechBridge!

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On the second Wednesday of each month at 8PM Eastern Time, join us on Twitter to connect with edtech entrepreneurs and teachers to discuss the latest trends in edtech. If you’re new to edtech, don’t be shy — we’d love for you to jump in on the conversations! We hope that this monthly conversation not only generates new ideas but also bridges the gap between the ever-growing field of technology, and teachers who can offer valuable insight and observations.

Let’s start chatting!

4 Things Our Design Intern Actually Learned

4 Things Our Design Intern Actually Learned

Time really does fly when you’re enjoying yourself! It seems like yesterday we were just introducing our design intern, Ola Agunloye, to the rest of the team and the strange elevators in our lobby (trust us, it doesn’t work like a normal elevator). While we had plenty of things that we wanted Ola to take away from this internship, we wanted to get feedback on what she actually learned.

4 Things Interns Should Know In Order To Create Effective Design

4 Things Interns Should Know In Order To Create Effective Design

Meet our talented intern, Olabimpe Agunloye -- or Ola, for short. Ola is senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, studying graphic design. FIT is a SUNY school known for establishing innovative designers into an environment that helps push design forward. In fact, there are several FIT alumni within ProjectEd’s design team and solidified their love for design when embarking on their own internship experiences.

Educator Feedback: Why Your Product Development Process Needs It Early and Often

Educator Feedback: Why Your Product Development Process Needs It Early and Often

Imagine you’re building a house for a young family. You might think you know what’s best for them. You go straight out and build a house with an open concept design so that Mom and Dad will be able to watch the kids at all times. But when the family moves in, they tell you an open concept makes it too difficult for the kids to concentrate on homework while Dad is cooking or Mom is watching TV.

EdTech Is Booming In North Carolina. Here’s Why.

EdTech Is Booming In North Carolina. Here’s Why.

When you think about the tech industry, your mind may automatically go to Silicon Valley, where designated techie buses roam to and from San Francisco. Or you may even think of New York City, nicknamed “Silicon Alley,” where hip and industrial chic co-working spaces are abound. From Austin to Las Vegas, there are always new, exciting cities contending for the tech crown. But one state has been quietly growing and thriving as an edtech hub: North Carolina.

Introducing Whackronym!

Introducing Whackronym!

Once upon a time, as we were wrapping up a typical all-hands meeting, one of our team members, Jenny Herrera, presented a challenge to us: how well do we speak teacher? More specifically, how well do we know the acronyms educators use on a daily basis? We were armed with fly swatters and years of experience in the education field — what could possibly go wrong? As Jenny read off questions and asked us to match it with the correct acronym on the wall, we quickly begin to realize that teachers know a lot, and we could hardly keep up!