Amongst the bombardment of themes of letting go, overcoming fears, quantum physics, big picture/systemic thinking, revamping the education system – emerges the theme of VISUALIZATION.
Even the ipods and phones are becoming less texty and more picture/touch oriented – brings me back to the whole need for a digital literacy campaign headed by people like Susan Metros and Doug Belshaw. I’ve seen all kinds of mind mapping software that I’ve been blogging about and even today while searching for flash charting products, I came across a website called Prefuse | Interactive Information Visualization Toolkit … hmm I suppose toolkits are a theme in my life as well.
I guess over the years we’ve collected so much data that now we feel the need to organize it in more than just tables. Sounds like a good session for a conference… Visualizing Your Data: Beyond Tables. Maybe it comes from a lot of the research on learning too… how when text is paired with meaningful images, it makes it easier to understand and remember. I think a lot of it exploded from the understanding of the brain as a connection of neural networks too. After I saw the neural network image in my 2005/2006 Sensation and Perception class, I began to see all kinds of data displayed as a neural network.
Apparently some of these diagrams are called “dendrograms“, which at first i thought came from neuroscience because the branches that extend from the neurons are called “dendrites”. However, a glance at wikipedia reminded me that my lack of knowledge of greek and latin should make me double check before i believe my own inferences about a words etymology. It comes from computational biology (say what!?).
On another visual note, science is beginning to uncover the power of positive visualizations as well. If you dare, take a walk around your firendly self-help section of a bookstore.
What’s with this visual shift??