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What do we mean by visual representation?

Visual representation includes any way of displaying data that does not involve writing lots of sentences to describe it.  Data may be displayed in tables or figures. Figures includes pictures, drawings, photographs, maps, diagrams, flow charts, sections and graphs.

Why is the OMI image hard to interpret? 

The colours are very distracting as they are moving really quickly.

There was no explanation of the Dobson Unit is so we can't tell if a reading of 500 DU means that the ozone layer is thicker or thinner than when a reading of 200 DU is given.

There was no key to explain what are the white lines trying to show.

What would make the image easier to interpret?

The ability to pause the images, so that we could look at the data on a particular date.

An understanding of the units and the scale.

Some background information about how the data was collected.

Does this have any implications for teaching with visuals?

Students need to understand that a visual is made up of several different components such as captions, colour, shapes, words, arrows, signs, scales, units and headings. In order to access the information and make sense of it they need to have an understanding of for example how to read the scale, or how big a unit it is. The use of colour or arrows can often be a distraction as the information gets lost. When presenting students with a new type of visual representation for the first time eg a picture of the carbon cycle, it is worth making sure that they understand what all the main components mean.

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