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Task 2.3.2 – Choose the type and appropriate tools of representation


Description of Task 2.3.2 – Choose the type and appropriate tools of presentation

This task consists of first selecting the type of presentation appropriate for making sense of concepts, ideas, facts, observations and data. It also aims to select the appropriate software application according to the type of presentation selected.

Supplemental Information

Students select the type of presentation that is best adapted to the project or assignment they need to carry out according to the nature of the information to present (concepts, ideas, facts, observations or data), and of the meaning they wish to provide.

There is a wide variety of possible visual representations:

  • table;
  • concept map or schema/network concepts;
  • heuristic or mental map;
  • hierarchical list;
  • graph;
  • organigram, sociogram;
  • genogram;
  • timeline;
  • decisional tree;
  • wall of ideas;
  • index card;
  • word cloud;
  • concept plan;
  • etc.

Each type of presentation has characteristics of its own, thus adapted to a particular objective. One may want to illustrate information depending on one or several of the following angles: classification, comparison, hierarchy, frequency, sequence, decision, proportions, relationships or links, etc.

Each type of visual presentation can be carried out using a number of tools. Students choose the appropriate software depending on what is available and on different constraints set by the teacher or academic institution (requirements, availability, functionalities, etc.).

Requirements - Suggestions

Students are able to explain their choices. These are based on facts (characteristics, criteria, constraints, etc.). We can observe that their selection is relevant and coherent with the type of presentation and tool.

At the start of the program, teachers will often choose the types of presentation and tool. Over time, instructions and assignments evolve. By completing a variety of visual presentations, students gradually develop autonomy and the ability to transfer their knowledge in different contexts and to make their own choices.

Potential Tools

The wide variety of tools available to create visual presentations is impressive. Here is an overview:

  • drawing tools, modeling software programs and plan mode directly from word processor and presentation tools (e.g. Word and PowerPoint and their equivalent in Google, Apple and LibreOffice);
  • specialized drawing tools (e.g. Visio, LucidChart, Draw, Google Draw and Inkscape);
  • concept maps, concept schemas, heuristic cards and other variants (e.g. CmapTools, VUE, Inspiration and Freemind);
  • word cloud (e.g.Wordle).

Certain tools allow the creation of a visual presentation in a collaborative mode. This characteristic can be important in choosing the right tool when working in teams. Here are some examples:

  • online versions of office tools from Microsoft (in Office 365);
  • the production tools series from Google (Docs, Sheets, Draw, Slides, etc.) and other associated tools integrated in the platform;
  • a good number of drawing tools or a variety of modeling software (such as CmapTools, RealTime, Board, MindMeister, Popplet, etc.).

In Practice

Here are some examples of visual presentations used according to their characteristics:

  • a table facilitates the grading and comparison of elements of information - word processing and spreadsheet software will allow the creation of complex tables, favoring a diversified management of data;
  • a concept map or mental map allows students to emphasize the hierarchy or links between elements of information;
  • a timeline allows one to emphasize… the concept of time;
  • a graph allows one to clearly present the results of data analysis.

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