Ed299 Education 299: Visualizations in Learning

               Jan 6
               Jan 13
               Jan 20
               Jan 27
               Feb 3
               Feb 10
               Feb 17
               Feb 24
               Mar 3
ff Mar 10
Previous Years

Below is a listing of the topics and assigned readings for each class session, as indicated. Please complete all assigned readings before the class they are listed for. Readings can be found in the course reader, or one of the two required books for the course:

  • EDUC 299x Course Reader: comprised of selected preprints and articles, available for purchase the first day of class or ordered from Copy Source, (650) 968-6351, located at the intersection of Alma St. and Rengstorff in Mountain View.
  • Readings in Information Visualization : Using Vision to Think by Stuart K. Card, Jock D. MacKinlay, Ben Shneiderman (Eds). Morgan Kaufmann, First Edition: 1999.
  • Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte. Cheshire Press: 1990.
This schedule was last revised on March 12, 2005. All classes meet in CERAS room 108, unless otherwise indicated on the syllabus.

 SESSION 1: January 6

Introduction to the course and its scope and methods. Visualization defined. The purposes of visualization, and how it relates to learning. A brief historical overview of visualizations in learning.

Required Readings:

  Purposes of visualization (slides):

  • InfoVis reader: Chapter 1: Information Visualization (1999).
  • Reader: Visual Explanations, Chapter 2, pp. 38-53: The Decision to Launch the Space Shuttle Challenger, Tufte (1997).
  • Reader: Beyond amplification: Using computers to reorganize human mental functioning, Pea (1985).

 SESSION 2: January 13

Properties and taxonomies for data and images. Relevant background in perceptual and cognitive psychology. Principles of visualization, in detail. Effective use of space and color in communicating information.

Note: Assignment 1 handed out. Due January 20 (in class)

Required Readings:

  Data and image models: (slides):

  • HTML: The eyes have it, Schneiderman (1996).
  • HTML: The structure of the information visualization design space, Card and Mackinlay (1997).
  • HTML: Toward a Perceptual Science of Multidimensional Data Visualization: Bertin and Beyond, Green.
  • Reader: Visual Thinking. Chapter 8: Pictures, Symbols and Signs, Arnheim (1969).
  Perception and cognition (slides):

  • Reader: Visual Thinking. Chapter 2: The Intelligence of Perception, Arnheim (1969).
  • Reader: Graphical perception, Spence and Lawandowsky (1990).
  • Reader: Integral vs. separable dimensions, Palmer (1999).
  Effective use of space (slides):
  • Envisioning Information: Chapter 1: Escaping flatland (1990).
  • Reader: Postmortem of an example, Bertin (1981).
  Optional Reading:
  • Envisioning Information: Chapter 3: Layering and Separation (1990).
  • Envisioning Information: Chapter 6: Narratives of space and time (1990).
Related Links:
  • HTML: Healey's preattentive vision applet.
  • HTML: Rensink's change blindness applet.
  • HTML: Map projections.
 SESSION 3: January 20

Assignment 1 (visualization critique) presentations. Effective use of color in visualization. Educational theory of visualizations. Case study: DIVER, a software tool to generate point-of-view authoring of digital movie files. (Guest lecture: Roy Pea).

Note: Assignment 1 due, to be presented at the beginning of class!

Required Readings:

  Effective use of color (slides):

  • Envisioning Information: Chapter 5: Color and information (1990).
  • HTML: Color Use Guidelines for Data Representation, Brewer (1999).
  Educational theory of visualization:
  • Reader: Visual Thinking, Chapter 16: Vision in Education, Arnheim (1969).
  • Reader: Professional vision, Goodwin (1994).
  • Reader: Mind and media in dialog: Issues in multimedia composition, Mills and Pea (1989).
  • HTML: Video-as-data and digital video manipulation techniques for
    transforming learning sciences research, education and other cultural practices, Pea (2005, in press).
  • Reader: Embodied practices of engineering work, Suchman (2000).
  • HTML: Visualizations as “cognitive artifacts,” from MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences.
Related Links:
  • HTML: ColorBrewer software, for selecting useful color schemes for data.

 SESSION 4: January 27

Visualizations in mathematics learning: Part 1. (Ann, Hilary)
Simulations for Calculus Learning (Simcalc): Visualization environment for learning mathematics of rate and change. Principles for effective use of interaction in visualization.

Student groups begin leading discussion.

Assignment #2: Due by February 3.
Write a two- to three-page paper that connects an area of your own specific interests in research and design to the Weeks 1-3 introductory theory and examples. This exercise will help you integrate the reading and lecture materials, as well as begin to identify some questions and directions you may want to pursue in your final presentation and paper. Please post your topics in CourseWork (http://coursework.stanford.edu). You will need to add yourself to the course, and then select "discussions" from the panel on the left. There is also a list of project ideas to get you started.

Student Notes: DOC

Required Readings:

  Effective use of interaction (slides):

  • HTML: Direct manipulation for comprehensible, predictable and controllable user interfaces, Shneiderman (1997).
  • InfoVis Reader, pp. 236-243: Dynamic queries for visual information seeking, Shneiderman (1994). Alternate HTML
  • InfoVis Reader, pp. 244-250: Visual Information Seeking: Tight Coupling of Dynamic Query Filters with Starfield Displays, Ahlberg and Shneiderman (1994). Alternate HTML

  SimCalc and mathematics learning:

  • HTML: Developing new notations for a learnable mathematics in the computational era, Kaput, Noss and Hoyles (2001).
  • HTML: SimCalc: Accelerating students’ engagement with the mathematics of change, Roschelle, Kaput, and Stroup (2000).
  • HTML: Changing representational infrastructures changes most everything: The case of SimCalc, Algebra, and Calculus, Kaput and Schorr (2001).
  • HTML: An analysis of prospective teachers’ dual roles in understanding the mathematics of change: Eliciting growth with technology. Bowers and Doerr (2001). 
  • HTML: Practices of distributed intelligence and designs for education, Pea (1993).
Related Links:
  • HTML: Dynamic queries, starfield displays, and the path to Spotfire, Shneiderman (1999).

 SESSION 5: February 3

Visualizations in mathematics learning: Part 2. (Ann, Ian)
Geometer’s Sketchpad: Visualization environment for dynamic geometry.

    Color PDF     B&W PDF

Don't forget to post your 2-3 pp paper by class time. Please see Session 4 for the assignment description.

Required Readings:

  • Review: Readings from Session 4 on interaction.
  • Reader: Technology tips: From drawing to construction with the Geometer’s Sketchpad, Finzer and Bennett (1995).
  • HTML: The “Dynamic Geometry” research project on students’ uses of dynamic geometry tools.

Related Links:

  • HTML: An exceptional list of published books and articles on using Geometer’s Sketchpad for mathematical and scientific inquiries.
  • HTML: Web demonstrations of Geometer’s Sketchpad.
  • HTML: A list of courses, classroom materials, and student work using Sketchpad.
  • HTML: More Sketchpad-related links.

 SESSION 6: February 10

Agenda: Visualizations in statistics learning. (Hane, Nanae, Shara)
Software for multidimensional data visualization. Comparison with Tableau Visual Spreadsheet software (guest lecture: Pat Hanrahan).

Student slides:

Required Readings:

  • Review: Session 3 readings on interaction, readings from Session 2 on data and image models.
  • HTML: Design of Fathom, a Dynamic Statistics Environment, for the Teaching of Mathematics, Finzer (2000).
  • HTML: DataSpace—A Computer Learning Environment for Data Analysis and Statistics Based on Dynamic Dragging, Visualization, Simulation, and Networked Collaboration, Finzer and Timothy (1998).
  • HTML: Fathom Dynamic Statistics Software, Carver (review, 2001).
  • HTML: Polaris: A system for query, analysis, and visualization of multi-dimensional relational databases, Stolte et al. (2002).

Related Links:

  • HTML: Tableau: Visual spreadsheet software for analyzing multi-dimensional relational databases. (This product grew out of the Polaris paper listed above.)
  • HTML: Fathom’s product web site.
  • HTML: “Tinkerplots” Cliff Konold's software construction set of basic operations (stack, order, separate) that allows students to build their own plots to analyze data. Tinkerplots will be especially useful for mathematics teachers striving to teach students data analysis in line with recommendations of the NCTM's Curriculum Standards, and to inquiry-based science classrooms where students collect and analyze data as part of formulating and testing their own hypotheses.
  • HTML: Visual Insights and ADVIZOR.
  • HTML: Commercial visual data mining and information visualization: Spotfire.
 SESSION 7: February 17

Scientific visualizations for geo-data learning using WorldWatcher. (Jessy, Nanae) Evaluation methodologies for educational visualization software (part 1).

Slides:     Color PDF     B&W PDF

Required Readings:

  • Review: Readings from Session 2 on color and space.
  • HTML: Addressing the challenges of inquiry-based learning through technology and curriculum design, Edelson, Gordin and Pea (1999).
  • Reader: Prospects for scientific visualization as an educational technology, Gordin and Pea (1995).

Related Links:

  • HTML: Main website for WorldWatcher tools and activities.
  • HTML: Middle school and high school curriculum activities that use the WorldWatcher software.
  • HTML: Middle school "Global Warming" curriculum.
  • HTML: High school "Looking at the Environment" curriculum.

 SESSION 8: February 24

Scientific visualizations for geo-data learning: WorldBoard, dot.geo, HP Cooltown (Ian, Jessy, Shara). Evaluation methodologies for educational visualization software (part 2).

Slides:     Color PDF     B&W PDF

Required Readings:

  • HTML: Methodology matters: Doing research in the behavioral and social sciences, McGrath (1994).
  Geo-data learning:
  • HTML: Information in places, Spohrer (1999).
  • HTML: .geo: A Proposed Top-Level Domain: Executive Summary (2001)
  • HTML: Augmenting the science centre and museum experience, Woods et al. (2004).
Related Links:
  • HTML: HP Cooltown.

 SESSION 9: March 3

Agenda: Visualization for biology learning. (Hilary, Hane) Evaluation methodologies for educational visualization software (part 3).

Slides:     Color PDF     B&W PDF

Required Readings:  


  • HTML: Working with teachers and leveraging technology to scale opportunities for learning more complex and conceptually difficult middle school mathematics, Roschelle (2005, in development -- please do not redistribute!)
  Animation of biological processes:
  • HTML: Animation: Does it facilitate learning?, Morrison and Tversky (2000).
  3-D visualization of biological structures:
  • HTML: Molecular visualization tools are good teaching aids when used appropriately, Parslow (2002).
  • HTML: Teaching the structural nature of biological molecules: molecular visualization in the classroom and in the hands of students, Canning and Cox (2001).
Related Links:
  • HTML: Protein Explorer, software for visualizing the three-dimensional structures of protein, DNA, and RNA.
  • HTML: DNA Interactive, a web site devoted to teaching the science and history of DNA discoveries. This site has some amazing animations of processes like DNA transcription, translation, replication, and others.

  SESSION 10: March 10

Final paper due at the beginning of class, and final presentations in class!

NOTE: the final class will be held in Gates Computer Science Building, rm. 392.

NEW: Links to final presentations!

Thanks so much everyone for all your hard work - have a great Spring break!


visualizations in learning, 2005