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CrossTalk panel explores: Are visualizations eye candy or educational tools?

"Using Visualization to Teach Concepts in Science and Engineering," a panel discussion by MIT faculty on the educational impact of computational tools for creating compelling and high-fidelity representations of scientific and engineering phenomena, will be held on Thursday, April 19, from 3:30 to 4:40 p.m. in Room 5-217.

The discussion, hosted by the new Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, heralds the renewal of CrossTalk, a discussion series presenting faculty from MIT, and periodically faculty from elsewhere, talking about core issues at the intersection of teaching, learning and technology.

CrossTalk panelists are John Belcher, professor of physics and Class of 1960 Faculty Fellow, who is primarily responsible for the development of Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL); Fredo Durand, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science; and Graham Walker, the American Cancer Society Research Professor of Biology.

The panelist will explore such questions as: Are visualizations more than just "eye candy"--that is, what evidence shows that they improve learning? Do they deepen intuition about physical processes? What principles make for good visualizations? How do faculty work them into courses and assignments?

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A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 25, 2007 (download PDF).

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