Product Review of CODAP
Similar to other spreadsheet/graphing programs, CODAP allows learners to create data sets and investigate relationships by dragging different “cases” and “attributes” to each axis on a graph. CODAP provides some sample sets to get started and introduces users to the type of investigations that are possible. Teachers or learners can input their own data collected from experiments in real-world settings or import data from Google Drive or a local file, making it much easier to share a single set of data with the whole class.
Users can quickly change the data being compared by simply clicking and dragging the headings to the desired axis. There’s also the ability to include sliders that let learners dynamically change the data to see what effect it has on what they’re studying. Students can export their images and graphs to include in projects and presentations for assessment, and CODAP files can be stored locally or saved directly to Google Drive for sharing and collaboration.
We all have data in almost every class we teach, and CODAP is a versatile (if somewhat confusing) little program that lets us investigate it all in a fun and friendly way. Science educators can explore population data or use the map function to look at climate change impact across the world. Math educators will appreciate the ease with which learners can explore linear relations and the way they can use the equation capabilities to explore a variety of mathematical concepts. Even history educators can look at the relationships between historical events and their effects on the world during that time period. As long as you have data or equations, you can use CODAP to investigate them.
Overall, CODAP is a very interesting program that can make learning dynamic if learners are given the right questions and problems to solve; with carefully guided questions and varied data sets, learners can have a lot of fun exploring data. As a bonus, the sample data sets provided are great for getting ideas flowing on what’s possible. CODAP also promotes digital literacy and encourages learners to look at data in a number of different ways. If you have data you want to explore, learners could gain a lot out of this unique and engaging tool.
That being said, as a program on its own, CODAP can be frustrating for learners. They may get lost and overwhelmed with the number of variations and comparisons available to them. The interface itself can also be cluttered at times, especially if you’re on a smaller screen like a laptop or tablet (even cutting off required buttons and functions). The way the data is organized into “cases” and “attributes” can also be a bit confusing, as can the way tables are broken down into “parent” and “child” data sets. There were a few issues with selecting and highlighting specific data — and then switching the selections — as well. When a graph is initially created, random data is selected and provided in an unlabeled and unorganized scatter plot, which may be confusing for learners until they get used to it. This means that CODAP relies a lot on the teacher to create authentic learning experiences and provide support for learners.
Overall User Consensus About the App
CODAP easily allows learners to manipulate data and see patterns, but since they’ll only be as engaged as the data provided and questions asked, a lot relies on the teacher to keep them interested.
Curriculum and Instruction
CODAP uses a unique “click and drag” method that encourages learners to be inventive and play with data. This means more time learning and less time fighting with the tool.
The program is pretty straightforward, after some playing around with it. Some limited sample data sets and a brief set of intro tutorials are provided, but most support comes from a community forum that seems reasonably active.