Keeping pace with innovations in data visualizations: A commentary for mathematics education in times of crisis

Vivian Y. Lim, Lee Melvin M. Peralta, Laurie H. Rubel, Shiyan Jiang, Jennifer B. Kahn, Beth Herbel-Eisenmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mathematical medium of data visualization and other data representations (DV) has served as a primary means of communicating about the COVID-19 crisis. DVs about the pandemic are highly visible across news journalism and include an increasingly innovative and diverse set of representational forms. These representational forms employ multimodal, interactive, and narrative elements, among others, that create new possibilities for data storytelling. Building on current efforts to expand the teaching and learning of data practices in K-12 mathematics education, we argue that innovative DVs create new opportunities for teaching and learning mathematics, particularly during times of crisis. We illustrate our argument using three examples of innovative DVs from news journalism. We discuss how these DVs could serve as complementary resources alongside conventional graphs to support students as they use mathematics and mathematical representations to make sense of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Our commentary seeks to bring current trends in data representation to bear in mathematics education. Leveraging such trends offers artifacts useful for teaching and opens up space for elevating emotion and experience as important aspects of mathematics curricula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalZDM - International Journal on Mathematics Education
Issue number1
Early online date8 Dec 2022
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply.


  • COVID-19
  • Data visualization
  • Emotion
  • Pedagogical affordances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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