Global Eye-popping

Among other key attributes Poughkeepsie Day School graduates students who:

  • Think globally with awareness and understanding of complexity and multiple perspectives

That’s in our vision.

But how do we pursue global perspectives and teach awareness of complexity? And just how well informed are we about the world and how do we distinguish between what we think we know and what is actually the case?

Hans Rosling is a public health expert, director of Sweden’s world-renowned Karolinska Institute and a founder of Doctors without Borders. He also founded Gapminder -a non-profit that brings important global data to life and makes it accessible.

Gapminder developed the Trendalyzer software (now bought by Google) that converts statistics into dynamic, interactive and eye-popping graphics. It provides fact based global perspectives using freely accessible public statistics

Here are two Gapcasts both available on his blog. One is a TEDTalk Debunking Myths about the World

Rosling challenges misconceptions about global health and economic trends. It shows comparisons between developing countries and the factors involved in how they are pulling themselves out of poverty. Trendalyzer software analyzes and displays the data in accessible and captivating ways. The sword swallowing at the end is a bonus!

The second – Health, Money and Sex in Sweden – shows even more clearly how this tool can transform dry-as-dust statistics with startling impact.

These novel ways of presenting statistics are used here to make sense of mountains of data about global economic and health trends. The power of these tools also bring to mind the caution in the saying There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.*

Using these tools well is an ethical as well technical challenge. Global literacy has many dimensions.

*Attributed to Benjamin Disraeli and popularized by Mark Twain

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