Dramatic Before and After Images of Indian Ocean Tsunami… In a Slider

The 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami killed more than 250,000 people in a single day. It is the most devastating tsunami in modern times. Two particularly striking satellite images show the devastation of the Banda Aceh coast, on the island of Sumatra, where the tsunami reached 6–12 m (19.7 ft-39.4 ft) and killed 167,000 people.

This Post is Really About Image Visualization Tools

You’ve probably seen many before/after photos of the 2004 Tsunami. I recently saw an image slider that caught my attention and thought worth a share. The following before/after images are displayed using Juxtapose Slider. Drag the center bar across to see the change:

About Juxtapose Slider

The slider is created using the free, open source, JuxtaposeJS. Its a handy tool that helps storytellers compare two pieces of similar media, including photos, and GIFs. It’s ideal for highlighting then/now or before/after stories that show the impact of single dramatic events. It was produced by the Northwestern University Knight Lab, created by Medill student Alex Duner.

JuxtaposeJS works on all devices. All you need to get started are links to the images you’d like to compare.

Indianapolis’ Most International Public Schools

Central Indiana is the epicenter of an explosion of English language learners (ELL). Where I live in Nora, our neighborhood elementary school is one of those hit hardest by rapid change. In April, The Star, Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI Public Media collaborated on a week-long series of articles documenting the impact of the rising ELL population in Indianapolis’ schools. If you are interested to learn more, this well written article provides a back story to where we are today: As immigration reshapes Indianapolis, schools struggle to keep up.

To be sure, there are many interesting questions about the who and the why. But of course my favorite question is, “Where are those schools?” Using CartoDB’s web mapping tools, I created a simple multivariate map that displays the percentage of English language learners (ELL) school population and their relative size of enrollment. It is interesting to see the distribution of these high ELL schools, particularly noting those in Nora and Indy’s west side.

What the map doesn’t show is school performance. A few of the schools in red, those with the very highest ELL population in the state, also demonstrate high achievement. For example, on the west side of Indianapolis, in 2013-14, Carl Wilde School 79 received an “A” as its final letter grade for school accountability from the Indiana Department of Education. This is a school that consistently shows exemplary performance year after year. Nearby, Meredith Nicholson School 96 received a B as its final letter grade, a two letter grade increase from the previous year. With extremely high ELL populations, these school merit further study as examples of successful integration of ELL students without sacrificing school performance.

Finger Math Chisenbop

How to be a Human Abacus

Do you believe your fingers can out perform a calculator in both speed and accuracy?

When I stumbled upon this youtube video of a super cute 5-year old demonstrating his Chisenbop finger math skills, I was hooked. It happened at the time I was also learning how to create iOS apps in a non-programming GUI / Rapid Prototype environment, using GameSalad. (This type of programming environment lets non-programmers gain a better understanding of iOS technology, logic, and game design. Perhaps most importantly, I gained an increased appreciation for technical complexities that programmers deal with every day.)

FingerMath Chisenbop for iPad is a unique educational game where you find out how to become a human abacus.

FingerMath uses an abacus-like finger counting method called Chisenbop, a method for which it is possible to display all numbers from 0 to 99 with both hands. FingerMath works on the iPad by detecting the “touch” position of all 10 fingers. The fingers are pressed onto the iPad to indicate value. Only iPad’s multi-touch interface makes this remarkable app possible.

Oh, and here is that smart little kid in action…