Hans Rosling inspires ALT-C with educational animations

I’ve just listened to the opening keynote from ALT-C 2008 via Eluminate. Hans Rosling Professor of International Health from the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm gave an inspiring talk about the work his company Gapminder.org has done to animate and present world health data in order to increase our understanding of world trends in health and economic growth.

One of the animated graphs Hans presented plotted the number of children per woman against life expectancy. Looking over the last 50 years he demonstrated how countries like China and India had now caught up with OECD countries in terms of life expectancy. With lots of other examples Hans showed just how engaging, educational and entertaining learning through animation can be. He discussed the huge possibilities for using statistical data to create educational mash-ups.

The Eluminate experience was pretty good, although it took a few minutes to set up – the video and audio were clear – and it certainly gave a flavour of actually being in the lecture theatre.

Keynotes like this are (in my opinion) what ALT-C does best. Access to Hans’s talk is available via Eluminate http://conference-weblog.alt.ac.uk/alt_conference_weblog/remote-access-to-altc-200.html. The other conference keynotes by Itiel Dror (Cognitive neuroscience at Southampton) on Wednesday (1400-1500) and David Cavallo (One laptop per child) on Thursday (1210-1310) are also being broadcast via Eluminate, tune in if you can.