Communicating science and technology visually Keynote Rosário Durão New Mexico Tech ISDOC 2014 - Conference on Information Systems and Design of Communication Auditório JJ Laginha, ISCTE I, Lisbon, Portugal May 16, 2014
Contents Setting the scene Why do “visual” communication? Why do “visual communication” of science and technology (S&T)? The VISTAC project and pilot test Issues
Setting the scene
You might be wondering… what I mean by “visual” communication…
You might also wonder… why we should concern ourselves with visuals, above all in science and technology…
Cards, cards, cards…
We have cards for everything: our ID, to buy things, get discounts, check our balance, use public transpor tation, go to the library, etc., etc., etc. You are tasked with solving this problem.
How do you communicate the solution to yourself and others? (4 min.)
How much of your idea and the way you communicated it involved visualization? ___ %
What do we mean by “visual”?
Why do “visual” communication?
Philip Yenawine discusses Visual Thinking
Not only do people process images more quickly than text, we tend to rely on our visual experience even when it contradicts our conceptual knowledge of a topic (Hoffman 1998). Little and Felten, “Seeing is believing: Visual teaching and learning”
Approximately 65 percent of the population are visual learners. 90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual. 40 percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are linked to the retina. Our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour. fromVisual Teaching Alliance
Paintings in El Castillo Cave in Puente Viesgo
Source: web server of the Spanish Tourism Institute, TURESPAÑA, and Sociedad Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas, SEGITTUR, "www.spain.info"
Imago Mundi, Babylonian map, the oldest known world map, 6th century BCE Babylonia (This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired)
Book of the Dead from the Papyrus of Ani, c. 1275 BC (This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired)
Gossuin de Metz, L'image du monde, 14th century copy of a 13th century original (This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less)
Eadweard Muybridge, The Horse in Motion, 1878
(This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less)
Characteristics of visuals Economy Universality Understanding
Why do “visual communication” of science and technology?
Robert Hooke, Micrographia, 1665 (This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.)
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Red Blood Cells, 1719 (This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.)
Erytrocyte deoxy to oxy v0.7 (CC BY-SA 3.0)
William Playfair, Pie chart from Statistical Breviary, 1801 (This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.)
Florence Nightingale, Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East, c. 1856 (This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.)
Recent trends Graphical abstracts (Elsevier)
Recent trends JoVE – Journal of Visualized Experiments
Communication practices in S&T
every person [15 engineers] indicated using graphics as a source of ideas for writing in multiple writing genres, and for every person this use of graphics could occur both before composing (planning, thinking, making notes) and while composing (creating the text). David Hutto, “Graphics and invention in engineering writing”
the language of science is a unique hybrid: It is natural language as linguists define it, extended by the meaning reper toire of mathematics (the set of possible meanings that can be made with mathematical symbols and the conventions for interpreting them), contextualized by visual representations of any sor ts, and embedded in a language (or, more properly, a semiotic) of meaningful, specialized actions afforded by the technological environments in which science is done. The texts of science are not written in any natural language studied by linguists. They are written in as much of this hybrid meaning-making system as can be presented on paper or animated on a computer screen. Jay Lemke, “The literacies of science” (33-34)
A perplexing thought Consistency of STEM visuals across cultures and countries Vs. Diversity of visuals among people and cultures?
A research question Do people from different countries and cultures visually por tray science and technology concepts differently?
The VISTAC project and pilot test
Methodology Institutional Review Board approval Students with international experience Pre- and post-test questionnaire + test Analyze answers and drawings
Participants Two undergraduate, three graduate China, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia Three petroleum, one civil, one math
Sketches Four food cycle (science) Two hydraulic system (technology)
Results Sketches and responses
Crossings and continuums World out there & human factors People’s knowledge, experiences, worldviews CoPs Emotional attitudes and expectations Education, habits, needs and preferences Tools (availability, knowledge, aesthetics)
Predominantly, people from different countries and cultures visually por tray science and technology concepts differently.
S&T (visuals) are learned Learned cultural experience, [specialization] Charles Kostelnick, “Cultural adaptation and information design: Two contrasting views”
S&T (visuals) are constructed Late 19th/early 20th C: Observation, faithful reproduction – rationality, “truth to nature,” objectivity, universality But individual idiosyncrasies, conventions, idealized/archetypal objects, individual selection (archetypal objects, equipment) Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, “The image of objectivity”
S&T (visuals) are biased Eurocentrism, power Sandra Harding, Is Science Multicultural?: Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies
S&T (visuals) are not universal Localized knowledge and practices Helen Verran, Science and an African logic
S&T (visuals) and technology Leveling, homogenizing, e.g., big data visualization
Did I answer my initial questions? What are the human and cultural factors? How do they affect the production and communication of data visuals? What does this mean for those involved in the practice, research, teaching and learning of science and technology (S&T)?
Daston, L. & Galison, P. (1992).The image of objectivity. Seeing Science, 40, 81-128. Harding, S (). Is Science Multicultural?: Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies (Race, Gender, and Science). Kindle Edition. Hutto, D. (2007). Graphics and invention in engineering writing. Technical Communication, 54(1), 88-98. Kostelnick, C. (1995). Cultural adaptation and information design: Two contrasting views, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 38: 182-196. Lemke, J. (2004). The literacies of science. In E. Wendy Saul (Ed.), Crossing Borders in Literacy and Science Instruction (33-47). Newark, DE: International Reading Association and Arlington, VA: NSTA Press. Retrieved from http://www.ed.sc.edu/raisse/pdf/ScienceArticles/LiteraciesofScience.pdf Little, D. & Felten, P. (2010) Seeing is Believing: Visual Teaching and Learning. Higher Education Advocate, 28(1), 5-8. Verran, H. (2001). Science and an African logic. University of Chicago Press. Visual Teaching Alliance: Professional Development for Primary, Secondary & University Educators/Administrators. Available at http://visualteachingalliance.com/
Rosário Durão New Mexico Tech [email protected]