Visual Data Analysis
Predicted to be widespread in education within the next few years, visual data analysis combines "advanced computational methods with sophisticated graphics engines to tap the extraordinary ability of humans to see patterns and structure in even the most complex visual presentations." (Horizon Report, 2010) In the last few years, visualization applications have been created that can represent data in new ways such as charts, maps, animations and tag clouds. Viewers of visual data may be able to understand data more easily, may recognize patterns and see how patterns change over time.
Social networking sites use data visualization to add information to users postings. For example, Flickr will show locations where photographs were taken, and some twitter applications will show the location where a user sent a tweet. An application like Wordle will take words from any source and make a graphic representation. Graphic representation of data can change the way users think about and understand information.
In education, data visualization and analysis can create a more engaging view of information. The complex can be simplified and understood more easily. On the other hand, simplified representations may not represent the most important parts of objects, so critical analysis will become important. (Educause, 7 Things you should know about Data Visualization)
One example of an application with educational use is Gapminder It allows users to show animated statistics. As soon as new statistics are available the animation is updated. See the video below.
Gapminder also has a page for education that includes graphs, animations, games and lesson plans. Gapminder for Teachers
Design and Data
Data Visualization in Motion
Next up, see Learning Spaces