How I Use It
GapMinder NEEDS introduction and support in order for students to use it to its potential. I introduce it by connecting it to the research process, generating some student questions (with the guidelines that they need to be data related questions). Then we examine the data tables and the visual representation as a whole class. We discuss together how we could compare different countries and the implications of the data results.
I then have students practice in pairs or small groups with discussion time built in. Each group looks at their 'measure' and reports back some interpretation to the class. It's not the most exciting time we spend in the classroom, but it is an invaluable introduction to the use of data to support points of view.
For projects, I often require some kind of statistical evidence and present GapMinder as a tool for finding it.
It can be dry and difficult, but it's worth introducing to students.
The information presented in GapMinder is not simple. If you take the time to help students learn to use the site and to understand the meaning of real data, you will be doing them several favours.
1. You will teach them how to understand data and infographics.
2. You will help them find concrete evidence to support points of view on serious global issues.
3. You will support their development of real research techniques.
It's been worth it in my classroom.