Data as Art

From time to time, when I’m doing a visual exploration of data, I make a coding error.  But instead of my machine returning some random error message, I instead get an unintended visualization.

You will see this site full of these “mistakes.”  The bar graph at the bottom of my home page was originally part of a grading calibration visualization, the header with various circles came from survey results, and even the “vyl” logo was the result of a coding mishap.  My latest snafu comes from analyzing teacher gradebook data of over 200 students.

I’ve come to cherish these pieces and repurpose them.  I tweaked the result and submitted it to my school’s arts and literature publication.  Just a reminder to us all that data and art are not mutually exclusive.

Here is the result:

Data Art #3
By Jordan Benedict
While data is usually used for finding answers to research questions, through the process of visualization, data can often surprise us with its beauty. Data Art #3 was created using over 200 students’ academic data from nine different classes, coded and visualized using the R Programming language.  The undulating lines emerge out of the diverse experiences of individuals, while in the center, out of pure coincidence, a small heart was formed in the data – reminding us all that compassion is at our core.


Disclaimer: The data and graphics used on this site are simulated re-creations intended to protect the privacy of the original data sources.

#ObserveMe with Data

The #ObserveMe movement has been going on for a couple of years, but for those of you just hearing about it, #ObserveMe is an effort usually done by an individual teacher to gain constructive feedback on their teaching from their peers.  Often, it uses a QR Code that is hung outside the classroom and leads to an editable document or form for the observer.  It’s a grassroots effort for teachers to improve their practice by opening their doors.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.38.25 PM.png

I’ve tried this in several iterations, but have always run into a few complications around constructive feedback.  Some of my teammates aren’t comfortable accepting feedback while others are a little too willing to give feedback.

My solution to this comes out of my training with Thinking Collaborative’s Cognitive Coaching.  Provide objective data, a third point, that answers an area of personal growth.  Rather than an open feedback question, teachers can post data they’d like observers to collect.  Then, a skilled facilitator can lead teams (department, grade-level, etc.) through reflection activities after a semester or year of collection.

19Mar2018 - #ObserveMe Example

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.53.43 PM.png

You can read more about #ObserveMe on Robert Kaplinsky’s blog.
I use to create dynamic QR Codes and save them in one place.



Disclaimer: The data and graphics used on this site are simulated re-creations intended to protect the privacy of the original data sources.

Fall Data Is About Getting To Know Your Students

Likely at your school, you have certain benchmark points in the year when you are collecting large amounts of data.  You might collect Standardized test scores in the Fall, Winter, and Spring; you might have final exams at the end of the year; or you might have quarter and semester grades happening at specific intervals. Continue reading → Fall Data Is About Getting To Know Your Students

From Reactive to Proactive INTERACTIVE data

The large majority of data collated and analyzed by schools and districts is reactive.  We’re looking at summative assessments after the unit, we’re looking at standardized results at the end of the year.  Naturally, reactive protocols cause reactions in teachers and administrators.

Continue reading → From Reactive to Proactive INTERACTIVE data