This is What the World’s Cumulative Average Handwriting Looks Like

Every now and again I stumble upon an article, website, or graphic that is flat-out cool. Enter The Universal Typeface Experiment. Sponsored by BIC, this website attempts to answer a fascinating question: what would a universal typeface look like? In other words, if we collected, analyzed, and averaged the alphabet as it is written by millions of people, what would we come up with? How can we take something as personal as handwriting and generate a universal average?

The results were fascinating. With over 1,468,892 entries from 125 different countries, humanity has some spectacular handwriting. Quite legible in my professional opinion. Adding to the excitement, visitors can filter the one million plus entries by a variety of factors: Gender, age, handiness (left or right hand preference), industry, and country. A quick glance through each of these paints a new and unique image. (Some screenshots of letters filtered by age and country can be seen below)

Although this project is limited by certain factors, such as corporate sponsorship, an English-only alphabet, and Internet access to submit responses, the outcome is worth a high amount of praise. Bottom line: this project is amazing. To view individual entries of the 26 letters, visit the project’s website. New entries are added daily.

The World's Average %22D%22 by age

A comparative look at the letter “D” by age group.

The World's Average %22H%22 by gender

The male and female cumulative average of letter “H.”

The World's Average %22v%22 2

A look at the letter “V” in Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines.

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The letter “V” in Slovenia, South Africa, and South Korea.

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The letter “V” in Malta, Mexico, and the Netherlands.

 

The Universal Typeface Experiment

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Summer Fun at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

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I would not want to stumble upon one of these in the wild!

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Although most of these bones are recreated, they are modeled using a combination of real bones and computer models.

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This little guy is eager for his prehistoric meal.

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A look at a small portion of the museums vast collection of fossils.

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One of the most engaging features of the Prehistoric Journey exhibit is the opportunity to watch paleontologists uncover real dinosaur bones. The crowd surrounding this window was huge!

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Another look inside.

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The featured exhibit at the museum centered on the Ancient Mayan Civilization. This map highlights the many ancient cultures that occupied Mesoamerica at the same time as the Maya.

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A detailed look at the many glyphs used by the Maya to convey important messages.

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A recreation of a sacrificial alter used by Mayan priests. Each of the 12 Mayan kings are carved into the sides. In order to please the gods, priests sacrificed and buried 12 jaguars under the alter.

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A former Mayan king.

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Jade burial mask and sacrificial bowl.

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These types of skulls would be buried alongside deceased individuals in order to please the gods of the underworld.

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A look at other burial items.

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To further reinforce the Maya glyph system, visitors were encouraged to create their own Maya name using the glyphs.

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Additionally, visitors were exposed to the intircate and advanced Maya calendar system by inputing their Gregorian birthday and comparing it to their Maya birthday.

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A detailed look at one of the many scrolls used by Maya stargazers to predict the Earth’s seasons.

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Building background knowledge of traditional Mayan societal roles via computer technology.

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Ancient teeth with gemstone inlays. Those are some fancy cavities!

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Day-to-day clothing during ancient times.

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Today’s clothing common amongst the Mayan people.

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Enjoyed the World Cup? You can thank the Maya! They developed one of the earliest recorded ball games using an 8 lb rubber ball and players’ hips.

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Action shot. I can’t imagine catching a stray ball in the knee. Or arm. Or head.

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The Maya painted their temples using native dyes and fruits. The final product during ancient times would look like the lower left of the temple while today’s greyscale hue can be seen everywhere else.

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Sending and receiving tribute was essential to the strength of the Maya empire. A look at what royalty would expect during the time period.

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A sophisticated bean counting system helped Maya stargazers and scholars with their work.

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Another new addition to the museum is the Discovery Zone. This screams STEM education and experiential learning.

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Kinetics in action!

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Subtle scaffolds and instructional cues prompted children to hypothesize and test their predictions.

 

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10 Days in Maine

It’s a family tradition. Every year, around the Fourth of July, we head to Maine to visit my grandparents. I look forward to this trip every year. However, this year’s trip held a special place in my heart. I will have to wait two years to set foot in the great state of Maine again as I will be in Malaysia next July. Until then, I’ll have these photographs to remind me of the journey.

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High above Iowa, the former homeland.

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A river flows south to meet Lake Erie.

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Sediments from an unknown river mix with those of Lake Erie.

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Our approach into Boston made for an excellent opportunity to photograph the city.

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As they say on the East Coast: “Fresh Lobstah.”

As an educator, I have a special adoration for Boston and its rich history.

As an educator, I have a special adoration for Boston and its rich history. This city seal still adorns the famed Boston Commons (circa 1630).

Another Boston must: Mike's Pastry for a cannoli.

Another Boston must: Mike’s Pastry for a cannoli.

It was only fitting that we ate at Boston's top Malaysian restaurant.

It was only fitting that we ate at Boston’s top Malaysian restaurant.

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My grandparent’s homestead in Newfield, Maine.

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The view of the lake from the dock.

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Freshly caught and served “Lobstah.”

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In Maine, it is all about the lobstah.

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An atlantic fog rolls into port in Freeport, Maine.

 

In addition to outstanding seafood, Freeport is also known as the headquarters for L.L. Bean. Check out their Boston Red Sox Bean Bootmobile.

In addition to outstanding seafood, Freeport is also known as the headquarters for L.L. Bean. Check out their Boston Red Sox Bean Bootmobile.

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Checking out the Atlantic Ocean along Maine’s beautiful coastline.

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One last look across the lake before heading back to Colorado. I’ll have to wait two years before I’ll be back on this dock.

Excellent Resource: Question Starters Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Think back to your days in an introductory-level education or psychology course. If I were to guess, you were most likely exposed to Bloom’s Taxonomy when you discussed higher-level thinking. The taxonomy is a visual representation of the different levels of thinking learners engage with while processing information. Lower-level questioning can be categorized at the bottom of the model: simple fact recall and comprehension questions. Higher-order questions fall in the upper levels of the model: applying information or analyzing content.

During my undergraduate coursework and early in my teaching career, I have found myself referring back to this model to help guide my instruction. Teaching in its purest form is effective questioning. As an educator, I am responsible for guiding my students on a path towards understanding. One of the most effective, and student-friendly, ways of doing this is through questioning. To be an impactful teacher is to be a skillful questioner.

But this is where it can get tricky: how can we, as educators, take what we know about Bloom’s taxonomy and higher-order questioning and apply it in a day-to-day classroom setting?  Thankfully, I stumbled upon this Curriculet article. The article addressed this exact issue by generated question stems for each of the levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. The stems are laid out below. I hope that these stems will find their way into your classroom, I know they will end up in mine.

 

Level 1: Remember – Recalling Information

Key words: Recognize, List, Describe, Retrieve, Name, Find, Match, Recall, Select, Label, Define, Tell

Question Starters:

  • What is…?
  • Who was it that…?
  • Can you name…?
  • Describe what happened after…?
  • What happened after…?

 

Level 2: Understand – Demonstrate an understanding of facts, concepts and ideas

Key words: Compare, Contrast, Demonstrate, Describe, Interpret, Explain, Extend, Illustrate, Infer, Outline, Relate, Rephrase, Translate, Summarize, Show, Classify

Question Starters:

  • Can you explain why…?
  • Can you write in your own words?
  • Write a brief outline of…?
  • Can you clarify…?
  • Who do you think…?
  • What was the main idea?

 

Level 3: Apply – Solve problems by applying knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a unique way

Key words: Apply, Build, Choose, Construct, Demonstrate, Develop, Draw, Experiment with, Illustrate, Interview, Make use of, Model, Organize, Plan, Select, Solve, Utilize

Question Starters:

  • Do you know of another instance where…?
  • Demonstrate how certain characters are similar or different?
  • Illustrate how the belief systems and values of the characters are presented in the story.
  • What questions would you ask of…?
  • Can you illustrate…?
  • What choice does … (character) face?

 

Level 4: Analyze – Breaking information into parts to explore connections and relationships

Key words: Analyze, Categorize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Discover, Divide, Examine, Group, Inspect, Sequence, Simplify, Make Distinctions, Relationships, Function, Assume, Conclusions

Question Starters:

  • Which events could not have happened?
  • If … happened, what might the ending have been?
  • How is… similar to…?
  • Can you distinguish between…?
  • What was the turning point?
  • What was the problem with…?
  • Why did… changes occur?

 

Level 5: Evaluate – Justifying or defending a position or course of action

Key words: Award, Choose, Defend, Determine, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Measure, Compare, Mark, Rate, Recommend, Select, Agree, Appraise, Prioritize, Support, Prove, Disprove. Assess, Influence, Value

Question Starters:

  • Judge the value of…
  • Can you defend the character’s position about…?
  • Do you think… is a good or bad thing?
  • Do you believe…?
  • What are the consequences…?
  • Why did the character choose…?
  • How can you determine the character’s motivation when…?

 

Level 6: Create – Generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things

Key words: Design, Construct, Produce, Invent, Combine, Compile, Develop, Formulate, Imagine, Modify, Change, Improve, Elaborate, Plan, Propose, Solve

Question Starters:

  • What would happen if…?
  • Can you see a possible solution to…?
  • Do you agree with the actions?…with the outcomes?
  • What is your opinion of…?
  • What do you imagine would have been the outcome if… had made a different choice?
  • Invent a new ending.
  • What would you cite to defend the actions of…?

 

A unique graphical representation of Bloom's Taxonomy. I love this model because it visually emphasizes higher-level thinking (i.e. Creating, Evaluating, Analyzing).

A unique graphical representation of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I love this model because it visually emphasizes higher-level thinking (i.e. Creating, Evaluating, Analyzing).