David Warlick Ryann Warlick Martin Warlick
Shakabuku Infographics Video

I got a 35, I reckon!


It shouldn’t end with a question mark. It should end with an exclamation point.

I’ll give myself a 35 for the infographic (815KB) that I posted the other day (My First Stab at Infographics..) for your consideration. I get that many points for the effort, probably about ten hours of work. The effort was good. Each time I scrapped the whole thing and started again, it was because I learned something. It was because I realized that I was going down a wrong path — a path I will not take again. Each path, never to be taken again, is worth at least 5 points.

Some of the 65 points that I didn’t get was explained to me by Steve Ruddy, who commented..

An infographic usually uses the info to convey a point, I cannot figure out what you want me to deduce by all of this information. Most importantly I don’t see what the top half has to do with the bottom half at all. Hope this feedback helps you make better infographs.

He’s absolutely right.  All that I did was to convey individual chunks of data as blocks of images and then stack those blocks in a way that made sense to me.  There was a story there.  There was a purpose to the sequence of blocks.  But I didn’t tell tell story.  There was no mortar to give the blocks substance and meaning.  To Ruddy and others who viewed the graphic, it was just a stack of blocks with no exclamation point.

Thursday’s IGAD usually points to a data source that teachers or learners might use to craft their own infographic or data visualization. Today, however, I add an extra post about “breaking news” infographics, which are explicitly designed to tell a story. The examples are graphics, telling the story of the raid on Abbottabad.

As a result?  Well, I’m scrapping my current infographic and starting over again.  But it’s not so much to reshape the blocks, but to mix the mortar.

My point in sharing this is to say that I’m still proud of that 35.  I didn’t fail, because I learned from that experience and will do a little better next time.  But, as a learner, it makes me wonder…

Is it wrong to expect a 100?  Does that emphasize the wrong thing?

Shouldn’t we wait until the end of the course for something near 100?  ..or the end of the term? ..or graduation? ..or a long time after that?


  • Leonard Klein

    I like your question about getting 100. If you get 100 on the first go should you be in the class or move on to one where you get a 35 the first time? It would seem more important to start where you get a 35 and grow from there. It would mean you are learning and growing and is that not the point?

    Thanks for the post

  • MacB

    I actually really like the graphic. It provides a lot of information and I like how you can track down the page as the kids move to higher levels of education and ends with the surveys about how happy the kids are with the end result.

    I got the sense that you wanted to tie the technology time line to the education flow chart but that link maybe isn’t as obvious.

    I get the sense that many kids felt things were not connected enough to their own worlds, while at the same time seeing the value of general education into areas not work connected but necessary for the complete person (like knowledge of world history and such)

    I think the graphic is getting close to hammering home your idea. Nice work.

  • http://gmail Jon

    Dear David Warlick In your article “I got a 35 I reckon” I agree with you. Why are we always trying to get a 100? I mean I see that we all want to be the best we can but if we always get a hundred we will never be given the chance to learn or improve. So expecting to get a hundred the first time is not always practical. It’s the things that we do badly at first and then become good at through trying that shapes who we are and builds the incentive to take on new challenges, and try what we may not be good at. So what we should expect instead of getting a 100 every time we try something is that if we want it enough we will be able to get a 100 at it eventually.

    Sincerely Jonathan Donhue

    • http://2cents.davidwarlick.com David Warlick

      Jonathan, what bothers me about expecting a 100 is that it emphasizes the components of learning. We tend to break knowledge down into components because that makes it easier to organize — easier for the teacher. So you get a one hundred for this aspect, and then this component, and that element. We spend out time on the small things and assume that the big picture will be taken care of.

      Can’t we work on the small stuff from the perspective of the big stuff, rather than expecting the big from the perspective of the small? Does that even make sense? ;-)

  • http://Paulch2014.bloggspot.com Paulc2014

    Dear Mr. Warlick
    After reading your article “I Got a 35 I Reckon” I agree with you that getting a 100 is not always the best thing. Like you said getting a hundred should be the end goal not an obsession to get a hundred percent right away. In fact you shouldn’t get a hundred percent on he first try, the first try should be a learning experience so you can improve. You cannot improve without failure, its natural and it should happen so you can improve and get better. I think its right to not be discouraged by a failure; all it means is that you have that much more room to improve.

  • Steve Ruddy

    You get more than a 35 for realizing there is a story to tell! If you are not familiar with the work of Edward Tufte, check out his books. I think they will propel you to new heights. Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information are highly recommended.

Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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