Swivel.com, being billed as the “YouTube for data”, looks promising as a source for teaching math and statistics. Like a lot of Web 2.0 sites, it’ll get more useful as more people use it. But the ability to tag, rate, search, and share data and graphs makes it sound like a promising improvement over DASL, my usual haunt for data sets.
However, they need to make sure the data sets make sense. A lot of the data sets I browsed through didn’t even have labels to explain what the variables stood for — like this one:
Its title is “United States – Total” and the graph of the data has the year (I guess) on the x-axis and “relative values” on the y-axis. Not exactly informative, is it? And if they can’t get people to defined their variables when they upload data sets, I shudder to think what my students will do with this stuff once they get around to using it. But hopefully that will be offset by the rating system — just downgrade a badly defined data set, right?