Publish at January 25 2011 Updated November 03 2021

Get the World's Statistics Talking in Class with Gapminder

Gapminder is a dynamic statistics visualization tool that allows you to cross-reference an impressive amount of data provided by the World Bank and UNDP at your leisure, see their evolution over long periods, and make regional or local focuses. In itself, this tool is a powerful instrument for breaking out of generalities and knocking down many preconceived notions about economic and human development.

But the abundance of data can make the neophyte user dizzy and disoriented. The teacher for his part will have a long work of explaining to provide to "make the graphs speak" beyond the simple implicit perception of the movement and distribution of points in space.

A Dynamic Presentation on Global Human Development

For teachers precisely, the Gapminder team offers various tools such as a quiz on global development, a slideshow on life spans around the world, and even a guide to "lessons from 200 years that changed the world." Unfortunately, all of this exciting material is in English...

...except for a multilingual tool called "Human Development Trends 2005".

This is a flash presentation that is available in French (among other languages), which helps to address different aspects of the Human Development Report produced in 2005 by UNDP. The data is not completely up to date, but the tool remains irreplaceable. It proposes to approach 9 themes from graphs illustrated and commented on using texts that are displayed in superimposition on the screen.

The themes addressed are the following:

  • Global income distribution;
  • Regional poverty distribution;
  • Regional differences between health and income (child survival);
  • Income and health by country;
  • Comparable incomes, different health;
  • Development pathways;
  • Disparities within countries;
  • Child mortality - the cumulative human cost of missed targets.

This presentation will be very useful to accompany students' reflection on the notion of development (one can earn a lot and have a poor level of health), that of developing countries (in which there are considerable disparities in living standards), strategic decisions for development (some countries have chosen to develop income to the detriment of the well-being of the majority of the population, or the reverse)... This will also give a concrete face to the Millennium Goals, with the terrible example of the goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2025 which, if not achieved, will cost, at the current rate of decline in child mortality, the lives of 42 million children.

The teacher of history-geography, economics, social sciences... will then be able to go to the Gapminder website and create his presentations by choosing his data, his geographical regions, and his timeline. They will also be able to consult all the data and have the tools to create graphs offline and then, why not install these tools on student workstations in schools, so that the students themselves become familiar with the handling of global public data?

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  • Visualization




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