Creative data visualization by students



When the more advanced of my students encountered the widget for encoding B&W images and then got the freedom to be creative with producing an image to submit, some REALLY interesting things happened! One of them started with the digits of pi (3.14159… but without the decimal character), set the widget to maximum width and height in hexidecimal mode (FFxFF), and then did a huge copy/paste of the digits of pi (retrieved from some online source) into the pixel data area of the widget. The result was a highly random-looking batch of B&W pixels… and became a picture of a HIGHLY accurate version of pi!

Another student started with an MP3 file of the song “American Pie”, opened it with a text editor, captured a portion of the unintelligible junk on screen and dropped it into a utility to translate all the characters into ASCII values and then into Hex… which he finally pasted into the widget to produce a still-frame image of mostly-random-loooking B&W pixels that he submitted in a PNG image file named American_Pie.PNG.

I love the creativity and exploration they’re doing even if the resulting images are not immediately recognizable!


Turbo Awesome. Can you share images of your students’ work here? I think people would love to see.


According to one of my seniors, here is an MP3 of the song “American Pie” that has been through a ‘re-imagining’ process… audio file opened in TextEdit, characters translated into ASCII, and then the Hexadecimal values for those same characters, copied and then pasted into Unit 2 Lesson 3’s B&W Image widget set for 8-bit grayscale:

Hmmm… that was an attempt to use ‘drag & drop’ to insert the image (from Finder on my Mac). I’m not sure how that link will work for others. Would someone please let me know if it opens? It should look like a fairly random collection of pixels all in shades of gray (8-bits/pixel).

AND, here is an image reportedly created by manipulating the digits of Pi (downloaded from a web source which I don’t have for reference, and I don’t know how many digits were captured). This image also looks like a random collection of pixels, but these are either Black or White (1-bit/pixel).

The digits of Pi image was inserted differently… I had used the widget to save the image, which created a .PNG file that I opened, selected all, copied, and then pasted into this message. Did this work for anyone/everyone? I’m happy to share, I’m just learning/exploring tools that are new to me here…



Once that last msg posted, I could see the Pi (digits) image, but not the American Pie (song) image. The link took me to a source file that would (I think) work if you copied the contents into the widget. But, in an attempt to save y’all that step, here’s a second attempt to paste in the image:



And, for those wondering if all my students were doing strange manipulations that resulted in abstract images… no. Here’s one that provides a peek into the angst that is life in high school:

This one was done from scratch in the widget (working in binary).