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Learning Data Visualisation at School

St. Pölten UAS Research Project Promotes Understanding of Data Visualisation

Learning Data Visualisation at School

The research project Vis4Schools headed by the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences develops methods that make it easier for teachers to provide their pupils with competencies for handling and visualising data. One objective within the framework of this project is to provide a tool for creating learning materials. Interested school classes and teachers can still join in the initiative.

Training Visual Skills

Visualisation turns data into graphic forms of presentation. For viewers to be able to reconstruct and decipher these presentations and to draw conclusions regarding the underlying data, the individual steps of such transformations need to be made clear and comprehensible.

“Although humans are visual beings and, as such, find it easier to comprehend visual information than other forms of data presentation, the skills for creating, reading, and interpreting visualisations have to be acquired and honed”, says Wolfgang Aigner, project lead at the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies.

According to him, however, the necessary skills are not usually taught and learnt at school. As a consequence, many users have difficulties when it comes to working with visual presentations and obtaining valuable information about the underlying data.

Designing Learning Materials

The research project examines how digital learning materials should be designed and which pedagogic methods are needed in order to improve “visual literacy” (in other words, creating and interpreting data visualisations) in school education.

“To do this, we rely on so-called visualisation grammars that formally describe the process of visual depiction and data transformation and thereby enable the (semi-)automatic creation of learning materials”, explains Aigner.

“By integrating our learning materials into everyday teaching, the visualisation competencies of the pupils can be improved considerably. The project offers a technical basic structure and guidelines for the design of learning materials and their integration into teaching. We hope that teachers, educational institutions, and pupils will profit from this.”

Wanted: School Classes and Teachers

The project is currently in its analysis stage. In the next few months, the project team will conduct interviews with teachers and pupils in order to learn more about their needs. Interested schools, classes, and teachers can still apply. Contact: Wolfgang Aigner (wolfgang.aigner@fhstp.ac.at)

The Austrian Computer Society (OCG) and Masaryk University (in the Czech Republic) are partners in the project.

You want to know more? Feel free to ask!
FH-Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Aigner Wolfgang, MSc

FH-Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Wolfgang Aigner, MSc

Head of Research Institute
Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies
Department of Media and Digital Technologies