Education investment presentation
Conéctate al Conocimiento
Year produced: 2009
Conéctate al Conocimiento ("Connect to Knowledge") is a project created by the Panamanian Government to improve the level of education in Panama's public schools. Participating schools receive teacher training, infrastructure (new classrooms), equipment (usually laptops), and internet access. Teachers and students are taught to use concept maps to think about problems; laptops include the software required for these activities.
With the election of a new government in 2009, the Conéctate team was required to present the results of the program thus far to the incoming management team. They had assembled massive amounts of data about the costs of each school throughout the history of the project, and engaged us to help them create a PowerPoint presentation to explain this data. They were expecting multiple slides with charts and tables.
To be effective, the presentation would have to achieve two aims:
- Engage the audience emotionally.
- Present factual data in a way that allowed the audience to understand the big picture, without getting lost in details.
After meeting with the team and examining the data available, we realized that their original idea (PowerPoint) would not be the most effective way of presenting the results of the project; slides with charts and tables would only focus on the financial aspects of the project. The core story the Conéctate team had to tell was that they had worked consistently to invest in schools distributed throughout the country (not just in easy-to-access urban areas). By employing traditional graphs, we would risk having the audience miss the forest for the trees.
We determined that the best way to engage the audience emotionally would be to allow one of the students who'd benefited from the project to speak of his experience, while showing pictures of his remote village. A short video, to be shown at the beginning of the presentation, was produced for this purpose.
We proposed that the bulk of the presentation be done using an interactive map created especially for this project. The map would show multiple levels of information simultaneously:
- The geographic location of Conéctate schools.
- The relationship between the location of roads and Conéctate schools (access is a critical factor in an underdeveloped country like Panama).
- The state of schools over the duration of the project (a slider allows the user to move the time dimension).
- Optionally, the relative cost of each school.
Filters would allow the user to selectively show or hide different facets of the data, allowing him or her to narrow in on particular segments. Because of the interactive nature of the map, the presenter could engage the audience in a non-linear exploration of the project. They could ask questions together, and explore the past and future implications of the project. The audience would be provided CDs with details about school costs in case they wanted to investigate further.
We designed the map and implemented it using Actionscript 3 and the Flex 3 framework.
The presentation was a success. More importantly, the map provided the Conéctate team itself with new insights on their project; they've spent many hours examining the data, understanding their investment patterns in a new way, and planning for future rollouts using this tool.