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Citizen engagement through tangible data representation

Jofre, Ana, Szigeti, Steve and Diamond, Sara (2016) Citizen engagement through tangible data representation. Foro de Educación, 14 (20). pp. 305-325. ISSN 16987802

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.14516/fde.2016.014.020.015


We begin with the premise that data literacy is a fundamental facet of citizen education in this information
age, and that an engaged citizenry in a democracy not only requires access to data, but also the capacity to manipulate and
examine the data from multiple perspectives. The visualization of data elucidates trends and patterns in the phenomena
that the data represents, and opens accessibility to understanding complicated human and natural processes represented
by data sets. Research indicates that interacting with a visualization amplifies cognition and analysis. A single visualization
may show only one facet of the data. To examine the data from multiple perspectives, engaged citizens need to be able to
construct their own visualizations from a data set. Many tools for data visualization have responded to this need, allowing
non-data experts to manipulate and gain insights into their data, but most of these tools are restricted to the computer
screen, keyboard, and mouse. Cognition and analysis may be strengthened even more through embodied interaction with
data. We present here the rationale for the design of a tool that allows users to probe a data set, through interactions with
graspable (tangible) three-dimensional objects, rather than through a keyboard and mouse interaction. We argue that
the use of tangibles facilitates understanding abstract concepts, and facilitates many concrete learning scenarios. Another
advantage of using tangibles over screen-based tools is that they foster collaboration, which can promote a productive
working and learning environment. We speculate that collaborative data exploration can be a productive educational
activity for citizens in their communities and in the classroom, and we suggest our tool as a means to do this.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: data literacy; citizen engagement; citizen data; data sculpture; tangible user interface; democracy and education; citizenship education.
Divisions: Research Labs > Visual Analytics Lab (VAL)
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2016 14:31
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 19:45
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1077

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