Monday, May 25, 2015

Economies Around the World

Since two weeks ago, my Geography class and I have been working on our second infographic. This one was focused on the economies in three different countries of our choice. I picked the Dominican Republic, located in the Caribbean, Germany situated in Europe, and Sri Lanka which is in South Asia. For this project I researched data about the unemployment rates, their GNP per capita, and their inflation rates over a period of time.

        From this project, I've learned many facts about the countries economies. Firstly, five years ago the unemployment rate in the Dominican Republic was at 12.4%. From then and now, the rate increased by 2.2%, to end at a high 14.6%. After doing some research, I found out that a reason for this change could be that jobs in the D.R. are limited unless you work for a particular in-demand industry or you have specific skills for a specific job. Furthermore, in Germany, the rate decreased by 2.4%, and is currently standing at 4.7 percent. A very important factor that could explain the lowering of the rate is education. Germany is a country that values knowledge, and because of that they have a great learning programme. An interesting fact, is that over 80% of Germany's workforce had a formal vocational training, which is when you follow a specific course. This is a good thing, because then people can do their job well, which helps the country and its economy. Thirdly, in Sri Lanka, annually, around 140,000 students complete their general education without learning any specific job-related skills. This isn't a positive number, because when people aren't specialized in a specific skill, the job can't be done to its best ability. Although, its unemployment rate is quite low. It's currently standing at a low 4.2 percent, while 5 years ago this number was 0.7% higher.
        Moving on to the Gross National Product, currently in the Dominican Republic this number is at 11,630 US dollars, while 5 years ago this was $10,520. As is seen, the number increased by over 1000. A fact that could sustain this is that an estimated 200,000 Dominican People, or 8% of their workforce, are employed in foreign-owned companies. Through President Leonel Fernandez, the country has also become an appealing investment destination and has established valuable trading links with its Latin American and Caribbean neighbours. The United States wants to take advantage of these links and things the D.R. can act as a leadership role in enlarging investment in the region. Now, most citizens on our world have heard of the Ford car company, BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. This is because they are all very successful German car companies. As a matter of fact, Germany is the third largest automobile manufacturer in the world, after the United States and Japan, with almost 730,000 workers in the sector. The production of cars in this European country has been very helpful, as it has contributed to the GNP per capita. Five years ago, this number was only $40,390. From then and now, it has increased by $4,620, making it a high $45,010.
Lastly, Sri Lanka, which now a days has a gross national product of $9,470 US dollars. It increased by $2,140 over the last five years. A factor that contributes to the improvement, is related with tourism. In 2014, over 1.5 million tourists from around the world arrived in this south-Asian country, while five years ago, this amount was only 654,476.
        The final part of my infographic explains the inflation rates. According to the Central World Bank, the vast decrease in Dominican Republic's inflation rate was due to lower food and non-alcoholic beverage prices. The D.R.'s inflation rate went down since 2010; it lowered around 3.3%, from 6.3% to 3 percent. Next, in the European country, the rate first increased from 1.1% to 1.5%, although then it decreased to 0.9%, which is where the number is at now. Reports are stating that the lower rate is mainly due to car fuels, where the prices had dropped 3.4% in 2013, as well as by reduced costs for heating oil, which went down 6 percent. As a final point, in Sri Lanka, the inflation rate at first increased by 0.7%, however it decreased by a vast 3.6% after such a slow change before. This is most likely due to the fact that the newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena, and the government, reduced the prices of food and energy and lowered utility rates in line with an electoral pledge.
        To conclude, Germany had overall the best scores. If we look at the current rates, the European country beats the three other nations. For example, their GNP per capita is a high of $45,010 while the other two countries are less than 12,000 US dollars. Additionally, the most improved rates overall, came from Sri Lanka. To prove this, their inflation rate started out as 6.2 percent, then went higher to 6.9%,  but dropped to 3.3%.
        Clearly, I have learned many new numbers and facts from my countries economies. They all vary in many different ways, and they all have a plethora of reasons for their unique trends.

        From making two infographics for Geography now, I understand that using this presentation format is a very easy way to display numerical data. For example, the Piktochart programme lets a user create interesting graphs or visual representations of the statistics that the person has collected or research. When presenting and sharing about this type of information, it wouldn't be handy to show a bundle of numbers on a Prezi, as that would be confusing and displeasing to the eye. Furthermore, my most recent infographic is better on a variety of levels compared to my most recent presentation. On of the opposites that stood out to me the most was how busy the first infographic was compared to the second. One of the reasons for this was the use of colours. As is seen in the image below, this is a slide from my first infographic. The boldness and the largeness of the small paragraph of text on the right makes it look important although the graph is supposed to be the center of attention, whereas in the picture below, it shows the citation was put a bit smaller.
Furthermore, the use of colours was worked on. The Dominican Republic-slide has a yellow background, and the graph has a yellow bar. Luckily, the two shades are a little different, although the chart is harder to see. Also, the numbers on the side of the graph and the labels are a challenge to read as well. The last comment is that the graph is a very common graph, and so not super interesting and/or intriguing. To contrast, the German-slide has a clearer colour combination. It has a white center background, therefore the text is all easier to read, however the purple border gives it a nice tint of colour. Additionally, even though the data isn't represented in an actual graph, it is still legible, understandable and attractive. A final comparison is that the graphics and citations all fit together in my second slide. Since I'm explaining the GNP per capita by using an example of Germany's car industry, I add images of their automobile brands and other vehicle-related things. On the other hand, the D.R.'s slide is explaining unemployment rates while a picture of a sunny beach is demonstrated with a Dominican flag and a palm tree. In sum, overall, I have improved my infographics. The organization, the images, use of colour, and meaning of parts of the slide has shown growth over the course of the two presentations.

     Due to the infographics presentations in my Geography class, I've learned a few things about making my data look intriguing to the audience. Firstly, colours can change a whole presentation. If there is a special scheme throughout the slides or just one particular slide, it makes it more pleasing to the eye. Also, keeping a consistency with the colour tones creates are more easy-to-understand presentation. If a light piece of text is placed on a bright background, the information isn't going to be legible. Same goes for dark on dark. Instead of doing that, stacking darker colours on top of lighter colours or vice versa since it ensures the fact that things are able to be read or seen. Furthermore size and format of the text on the screen is important to be payed attention to. For instance, the title is most often a large piece of text strewn across the top of the page, while a piece of information could be smaller and lower on the slide. In addition, when including images, the presenter has to make sure they relate to whatever the person is talking about. If a pony is featured on the slide, but the topic of the speech is black holes, the image most likely should be removed. Moreover, the audience could get distracted by the other picture and therefore pay less attention to what the speaker is trying to say. Lastly, the organisation of everything included is very important. Having things all over the place does not attract an audience at all. A neat, clear presentation with an additional image or interesting colour receives an fascinated eye from someone instead of a visual that has colours and shapes everywhere of all different sizes, with graphs half visible. When these skills are mastered, a fantastic visual will emerge, and the audience will nod their heads in approval.

1 comment:

  1. Rosanne,

    I am very proud of how diligently you worked on this entire project as well as your thorough reflection of the learning process on this blog post. Congratulations on your achievement and effort.

    Mr. J.