Data Visualization: Seeing the Story in the Data and
Learning to Effectively Communicate It to Others
Tyler Rinker, University at Buffalo/SUNY
Because approximately 70% of the body’s sense receptors reside in the eye, it is no surprise that readers tend to look at graphic representations of data prior to examining the accompanying textual explanations. As administrators, teachers, and researchers, most of us have had little training in how to choose appropriate graphic representations of data yet we are expected to use and interpret them in our daily lives. In the age of data-driven reforms, it is essential that we build a repertoire to help us make sense of the data we encounter daily, such as: assessments, attendance, demographics, discipline, discourse, interviews, etc. In addition, visualization has the initial potential to reveal patterns and trends in data that may better inform decision-making and policy. In this session, we will explore information related to how the brain processes visual information and develop the skills to select attributes of a graphic that will allow for more effective communication of our data. Our end goal is to help educators of all backgrounds to communicate a more complete understanding of the story that the data is telling and ultimately, to use data to positively impact the lives of children.