Students' video-assignments using Gapminder

Since AMI introduced me to Gapminder (http://www.gapminder.org) I share it with my students and usually try integrating the use of the software in the introductory modules I teach to younger students.

This gives them an understanding of development issues based on data and therefore an evidence-based approach to the discipline. In many ways, this also challenges students' thinking about reality (often disproving misconceived ideas) and about relationships between indicators.

In courses where Gapminder is used, one of the continuous assessment tests given by the students consists in submitting a video-assignment using the software, recorded using their mobile phones.

Generally I ask to first year students (Introduction to Development Studies) to discuss in 30 seconds an interesting idea or finding. Most students learn a lot from using the software, but also preparing the video-presentation.

The time limit pushes them to practice and improve the presentation making the discussion as much effective as possible, while remaining accurate. This enables them improving summary and communication skills. Since students start presenting to an audience (the class) only during their fourth year, this enables them to start building these skills much earlier - While also gaining self-confidence.

In a course called Theories and Strategies of Development, second year students are given one minute to discuss a development theory of their choice, and provide evidence through Gapminder of one or more countries which development process could be explained (or not) through the theory.

A number of the students' works are remarkable and show how much can be achieved using Gapminder and video assignments:

http://youtu.be/lE4UVjG6A80

http://youtu.be/G0GmNvbd5rM

http://youtu.be/uKXy0IH7j6o

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