How to Teach with Visualizations

Initial Publication Date: July 19, 2005

In recent years, a great deal of educational research has gone into how to use visualizations effectively in class. To learn more about the pedagogical issues surrounding the use of visualizations in education, learn about researchers in this field, and browse through collections of geoscience visualizations you can use in class, check out the On The Cutting Edge: Teaching Geoscience with Visualizations site.

In terms of visualization software, there are so many different packages available it is difficult to give much meaningful advice regarding their use. However, a few general considerations include:

  • If a particular visualization package is poorly documented and awkward to use, find a better one. There are many good visualization packages available so don't get locked into something that is difficult to use.
  • Balance between simplicity and versatility appropriate for your purposes should be maintained.
  • High cost does not always correlate to the optimum package for your students. Introductory geoscience courses can avoid software purchases and student training by making strong use of on-line interactive data visualization and on-line interactive visualization of model output for image creation, manipulation, and analysis.
  • Visualization software is most appropriate in courses intended for geoscience majors. Selection of such software should be consistent with overall departmental plan for more advanced courses.

Check the following pages for appropriate links.