For regular readers of this blog, you might have noticed that I’ve written several posts over the last six months that feature sites that allow users to visualize data. One of my goals with this blog is to give educators tools they can use with students to help them create, innovate, critically analyze and think. Our students are being bombarded with baseless slogans, arguments without evidence, and “news” that overflows with opinion. To combat this, educators need to empower students to question the media they encounter and to use data to reach their owns conclusions. We need to provide sites that offer data in digestible means and provide opportunities for them to interact with data and to help them develop an understanding of what the data means. Ultimately, I believe a greater focus on using data educationally with our students will help them become better consumers and better citizens.
FedEx Experience is a comprehensive site that allows users to select different data sets of global statistics. When I first encountered the site, I was a little suspicious. A visualization site managed by an international company? It sounded like an opportunity to misrepresent data for the company’s benefit. But FedEx has done of great job of building transparency into the site to boost user confidence. At the bottom of the site, a user can select Data Sources to see where all the data originates. Amongst other sources, the site pulls statistics from reputable agencies like the World Bank and UNESCO. As different data sets are selected, the countries are re-sized to show how each nation compares statistically. For instance, the map below shows international Facebook use. It is clear that America, with its 125,881,000 users, tops the world.
FedEx Experience is extremely easy to use and presents data on a variety of topics. The site would be a great resource to include in any class where students needed to interact with global statistics and make informed decisions.