NewsMap- a long-term way of processing news stories

Below is a mockup of a concept I’ve had for a while called NewsMap*, which is a way of curating and annotating the news by storing news stories in a personal categorized dashboard.

NewsMap would allow people to process the news in a more coherent manner, as opposed to jumping from headline to headline, day to day. For example, if someone is interested in MOOCs, they can store an interesting article about MOOCs in the Ed Tech folder on their NewsMap dashboard. Two weeks later, when there’s another front page article about MOOCs, they can drag and drop it to that same folder, and compare the two stories and start to build a narrative of who the players are, what the trends are, etc air max sale.

NewsMap would galvanize people to action through first and foremost supporting their intellectual curiosity and helping them make connections between related news stories (as well as information on the web that isn’t necessarily categorized as “news,” such as organizations, campaigns, emails, and blog posts). Their dashboard would become a visual representation of the connections they make between research, policy, and practice original new balance.

NewsMap mockupIn the long term, this concept is something I plan to integrate into my school mapping project.

Always looking for feedback and assistance 🙂



*I am aware that the name NewsMap is already taken.

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SchoolsMap project proposal

For my final project, I will work on a website called SchoolsMap, piloting a map of high schools in Boston. The features of this site will be:
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  • visual geographic representation of Boston-area high schools
  • clickable dots on the map to see information about each high school
  • The information will include facts like:
  • # of students, name of principal, year founded, % graduation rate, MCAS scores, and recent news stories
  • Some video content from the school community

The goal of this SchoolsMap project is to pilot a central portal for education information, using both data and video tools.
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Boston high schools- by the numbers

My Quest for Truth

It all started with a simple question: How many high schools are there in Boston? lists “all public and private high schools located in Boston” and says there are 17. lists 32 public and private high schools. US News says there are 32 schools just within the Boston Public School District. Wikipedia says 33. The Massachusetts Department of Education lists 42 public and private.

I compiled a list of 56.

Why the discrepancy over a seemingly basic question? Is it because

  • We can’t agree on what “high school” means?
  • We can’t agree on what “in Boston” means?

Charter schools, special education, adult education, vocational training, private schools, religious schools- there are many ways to designate what is and is not a “high school” that could explain the differences cheap air jordan.
Boston public schools, Boston city limits, Greater Boston- the discrepancy may also be caused by varying definitions of what it means for a high school to be “in Boston.”

I aim to create an authoritative central portal that lists all high schools in Boston. I will continue exploring this in future assignments (talk to me if you want to collaborate!).

Cold Calling For Data

To preempt a similar situation arising when trying to figure out how many high school students are there in Boston, this time I chose a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach. I picked up the phone and began cold calling every high school on my list. I asked every school receptionist two questions:

  • How many students go to your school?
  • What makes your school special?

I chose these two questions because I thought they would be a good foundation to explore both quantitative and qualitative data, and the answers could give me potential follow-on questions if I continue focusing on Boston high schools.

Another Course to College- their Annual Report states 220 students; their receptionist told me 224.

Boston Adult Technical Academy- their Annual Report states 257 students; their receptionist told me 300.

Boston Arts Academy- their Annual Report states 420 students; their receptionist told me 400.

Boston International High School- their Annual Report states 359 students; their receptionist told me 500.

… and the list goes on. I could present more data but I’m not sure what story I want it to tell yet. Yes, I could add up all the numbers and create “the authoritative Julia guide to how many high school students there are in Boston.” Yes, I could put together another “a-ha” moment showing the discrepancies in calculating this number across organizations and websites. But I don’t want to present a repeat of other dry, going nowhere data pieces.

Telling a Story

I recently read the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die which nailed home for me the importance of telling a compelling story. With the school mapping project I am working on, I have been more focused on organizing and presenting the information and hoping others will find stories to tell, rather than having to tell the story myself. My model has been Wikipedia, which presents information in a way that is useful to the reader. Would you say that Wikipedia tells a story?

My aim has been to build a school mapping platform using data and communication tools that are informative and useful. I thought that would be enough. What I’m struggling with now is how to build a platform that tells a story, and what story do I want it to tell original new balance.

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Data on high schools in Boston

For this data piece I will tell the story of finding the answer to this seemingly simple question: “how many high schools are there in Boston?”cheap air max

I am also calling every high school in Boston and telling the story of trying to collect data by cold calling school receptionists, documenting their response to quantitative and qualitative questions such as “how many students attend your school?” and “what makes your school special?”air jordan sale

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Introvert Survival Skills at SXSW

Introvert Survival Skills at SXSW
(As Gleaned Through Twitter)

It’s hard to be an introvert at SXSW, the annual conference/festival held in in Austin, Texas, happening this year March 6-16, 2014. A fusion of music fans, film buffs, tech geeks, and startup entrepreneurs, SXSW is known for its parties, hobnobbing, and creative technology launchesair jordan sneaker.

This annual event can be challenging for attendees with introverted personalities. Carrie Bishop, Director of FutureGov and one of this year’s attendees, writes “SXSW is a weird place to be an introvert.” (1) Another attendee writes “SXSW needs an Introverts Lounge with individual, quiet pods where people can get out of the mobs for a while.” (2) Caleb Gardner, Social/Content Director at Organizing for Action, writes “Second day at SXSW, and the introvert in me is already flaring up. Where in Austin can I go sit somewhere quiet and read a book?” (3)

introverts2This year, one of the SXSW morning panels on March 11th was focused on the topic of introverts, with four professionals presenting a workshop called “Introvert Uprising: When the Silent Strike Back.” (4) The panel featured a range of professionals- from successful technology leaders to clinical counselors- and was attended by around 40 conference participants.

At attendees gathered for the panel, one of the attendees, Greta Arnold, a resident of Washington, DC, observed “a panel on introversion at 9:30 in the morning = no one in the room talking to anyone else.” (5) Kristin Warwick of Dallas, Texas posted a photo of people sitting with empty seats between them throughout the conference room, noting that this was “exactly how I imagined the people would be spread out during the introvert session.” (6)

introvertsThe panel started out by defining introverts as people who recharge and get energy from being alone, as opposed to extroverts, who recharge and get energy from interaction with others (7). The panelists then showed a slide depicting the extrovert-ambivert-introvert spectrum (8). Next, the panelists jolted the audience by showing a Gawker headline stating “Introverts ruin everything” (9). They then went into some mythbusting, including the fact that not all introverts are shy (10). Importantly, they emphasized that “introverts are not broken extroverts” (11), since one of the struggles for introverts is getting extroverts to stop trying to convert them air max sneaker.

Ultimately, the panelists focused on how managers in the workplace can make the work environment more welcoming for introverted employees. For example, attendee Kristin Warwick appreciated the panelists’ advice that “Don’t label introverts as disinterested, lacking passion, or not leaders just because they’re thinkers, listeners, and observers” (12). Moreover, the panelists discussed how introverts are more comfortable with silence than extroverts. As attendee and Texas State grad student Melody Celeste understood it, “Our society is uncomfortable with silence, especially extroverts, but introverts are actually thinking about the question” (13). In fact, the panelists discussed how silence can be used to “take back power in a conversation” (14).

More concretely, Kristin took away that “research states that there are significant benefits to having an office quiet room, nap room, or meditation room” (15). The panelists discussed that drains in the workplace for introverts can include “open work places, others playing music, and happy hour” (16). The takeaway for managers was to be more aware of creating “quiet space” in the workplace: “Research support quiet rooms. There are benefits for managers to create quiet space” (17). By not assuming that everyone works the same way, managers can be more attune to the needs of their employees (18).

SXSW continues, and conference attendees continue to be a mix of extroverts and introverts. As introverts continue to struggle with conference/festival survival skills, it is refreshing to see this issue acknowledged on the official SXSW agenda this year with a well-received panel new balance shoes.


1 Bishop tweet:
2 Donajo tweet
3 Gardner tweet
4 Introvert Uprising
5 Arnold tweet:
6 Photo Warwick tweet
7 Watson tweet
8 Celeste tweet
9 Watson tweet
10 Springer tweet
11 Fortune tweet
12 Warwick tweet
13 Celeste tweet #2
14 Celeste tweet #3
15 Warwick tweet #2
16 Celeste tweet# 4
17 Celeste tweet #5
18 Celeste tweet #6

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Julia G’s 4 hour challenge-

For this assignment I decided to write a story- the type of story I would like to see more of- using SchoolsMap, the platform I’m building (all the schools in the world, on one map). My goal for SchoolsMap is to show data and facilitate communication about education systems around the air jordan

I started by asking a simple question, How can we compare education systems in 3 countries, such as China, Kenya, and the US?

You can view the first post at

Hours 0-1: spent finding interesting comparative education data. I used the World Bank Data Query but unfortunately lots of data was unavailable (such as per pupil expenditures in Kenya and China). I also checked the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and tried to find comparative test scores (PISA scores were unavailable for Kenya and China).

Hours 1-2: spent analyzing the data. I copied some of the interesting data points into excel and created a few charts. At first I wanted the charts to show trends, but for the data I chose to analyze, historical data was even less available than snapshot data was cheap air max

Hours 2-3: spent figuring out mapping tools. I tried to find an easy mapping tool that would allow me to create a heat map or annotated map linked to data. I couldn’t find a great option and ended up choosing ZeeMaps- you can see my map with the data for Kenya, China, and the US here.

Hours 3-4: spent writing content for the first post.

SchoolsMap is something I will continue to work on this semester and I welcome your involvement- I am particularly seeking people with design and mapping skills original new balance. Also, what is a good way to integrate education news into a data & communication map? Thanks!


Reflections On A Weeklong Media Diary

While this class approaches media consumption with an open mind, I hold personal opinions about what kind of media I should and should not be consuming in order to achieve my goals. Embarking on the Media Diary for a week allowed me to compare my perceptions of and aspirations for my media consumption with reality. I learned that my gmail consumption far exceeded the time I spent on social media, entertainment, news, and other categories. A focus on effective time management must therefore mean a focus on my gmail use.air max sale

My perceptions:

  • I spend too much time on social media sites like Facebook and Linkedin.

  • I spend too much time on entertainment sites.

  • I don’t spend enough time focusing on my priorities (“urgent” v. “important”).

My aspirations:

  • Improve my time management skills to focus more of my media time on my top priority projects.

  • Spend less time on media I consider “distracting” like social networks.

Media Diary Goal:

  • Understand my media consumption by type and value added, particularly time spent on social media and entertainment sites.


1. Quantitative data: Use RescueTime to analyze browser use.

2: Qualitative data: Based on quantitative results, reflect on value added and how that value correlates with my time management goals.


  • Quantitative data: the RescueTime data showed me that I spend 50% of my online time on gmail communication, another 25% on composition (primarily schoolwork), only 7% on social media, and 18% spread across other categories.Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.10.43 PM

  • Qualitative data: Looking at the RescueTime data shows me that if I am to increase my allocation to meaningful media consumption, it should be more effective management of my gmail use. This data was not parsed apart into “productive” and “unproductive” gmail time, so this is a next step for me moving forward.

  • Neither entertainment nor news media were significant components of my time over the last week original new balance


Maintaining this media diary was illuminating for me because my preconceived notion was that the time I am spending on social media and entertainment is preventing me from being productive. In fact, since half my media time is spent on gmail, I need to make sure that I am achieving my time management goals within my gmail use. A next step for me is building more effective email habits, such as the “4 Ds” strategy of Do, Delete, Delegate, or Defer. Correlating my gmail use with my time management goals will move me in the right direction towards understanding the value add of the majority of the time I spend on media cheap air jordan.