Activities to Rethink “Visualization”

In my Data Therapy workshops I focus on redefining what “data visualization” means.  Most people think of complicated pictures with dots and lines, or snappy info-graphics with big numbers.  I argue that more informal data presentation can help you engage your audience in the data story you are telling.  Towards that goal, I show up to workshops with a big box of craft materials – LEGOs, pipe cleaners, and more!

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Here are some pictures from last night’s NetSquared meetup.  I showed people a little bit of the data from the Somerville Happiness Survey.  Then I paired them up and gave them 5 minutes to turn the craft materials into a presentation of data. This activity serves as a great ice-breaker, and resets the boundaries of what counts as a data presentation.  More importantly, it’s fun. Let me know if you have ideas about other activities that I could use!