Google for teaching adults how to describe statistics

Google is just so useful, isn't it?  But did you know that you can get your adult Business English students looking for their own data, specifically relevant to their own interests, projects and responsibilities?

For fun, drag the yearly scroll bar!

This incredible site, Google Public Data Explorer, offers statistics from the World Bank, Eurostat, OECD and also includes several more country-specific-options as well (Australian Bureau of Statistics, US Bureau of Labour Statistics and much, much more).

Most of the charts are completely customizable and although the fun factor, when messing about on the site trying to decide just how to present the data, is high (you can change years, colours, countries and layouts),  the very real potential for pedagogical application is even higher!

Screenshots can be taken of each data set, printed, turned into jpegs and inserted into PowerPoint/GoogleDoc presentations, however, what I like best is that the charts can be easily embedded directly on to your students' own blogs/pages/ wikis, Nings or any other learning platform you're using to teach with.

For fun, hover over the country names!

What can you encourage your students to do?  
  • Give them the link to the site or show in class if you have internet access.
  • Ask them to review the options and to personally choose a set of statistics that they are interested in knowing more about or that they need to know about for their own work/study.
  • Show them the various options for presenting information: globally vs. the country they're in/ doing business with/ countries they're interested in knowing more about.
  • Encourage them to then work in teams (comparing their preferred data sets).
  • Tell them to create essays, blog posts or presentations researching and exploring the reasons which explain the data they'd found.

What language could you use this website to practice?
  • the langauage of describing statistics
  • expressions for trends and changes
  • numbers and financial English expressions
  • comparatives and superlatives
  • range of past structures and present tenses
  • predictions for the future
  • asking and answering critical questions about the world we live in

Previously on Kalinago English, posts related to this posting:
Why use Google?
More lessons tips for ESP:Financial
More lessons tips for Business English Adults

Useful links
Statistics for a changing world
Search Power
Google Docs presentation on ways to use the Public Data Explorer
Blog about stats (lots of great tips)

Best, Karenne

4 Responses to “Google for teaching adults how to describe statistics”

  • Dave says:
    September 01, 2010

    This is the first I have heard of this site. It seems interesting, so I will give it a try.

    Thanks for the idea.

    Did you find any categories of statistics that worked best for you, or were the most interesting for the students?

  • adam says:
    September 04, 2010

    One word (ok, it's not really even a word)...


  • Wojti says:
    December 07, 2010

    Thank you for the idea. That's what I searched for. I didn't knew that exists a Google public data explorer. Seems I keep coming back to your blog.

    December 07, 2010

    :-) am so happy to hear that Wojti -it's my pleasure to share the tips and tricks I find along the way!

    Sorry Dave and Adam - the week I published it must have been sillily busy... actually the mobile phone statistics were good with my IT students, also car crashes with my automotive - but mostly whenever I use this site I let them chose which ones they find interesting so depending on class size this can be just about anything!



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