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:

Picture 1-4

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?

Technorati Tags: , ,


Filed under Education, Math, Social software, Teaching, Technology

2 responses to “Swivel

  1. Robert,

    Thanks for the post. Your criticism about better describing the data is well taken. We are also working on making in it super simple for users to define data. Please keep the feedback coming, we’re here to listen.

    Best regards,
    Dmitry Dimov
    Product Chief & Cofounder

  2. You’re complaining because you don’t know what the data are? Picky, picky!