PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THE WORLD OF BIG DATA
May 28, 2014 (3:00 pm)
Oceans of Data Institute (part of the Education Development Center, Inc., USA)
Analyzing data, spotting patterns, and extracting useful information have become gateway skills to full participation in the workforce and civic engagement of the 21st century. Yet classrooms are falling short of preparing students for this world. And they’re missing the opportunity to harness the power of big data to transform student learning.
Data science is a whole new field of endeavor, and employers and universities are grappling with the creation of entirely new degree and training programs. At the same time, K-16 educators are trying to understand the foundational skills in data science needed to prepare students for professional studies and careers in the 21st century. In most classrooms, students’ work with data is limited to reading graphs prepared by others, or at best collecting simple data sets themselves. Working with large, complex data sets is a formidable challenge – enough to stop many students cold.
The Oceans of Data Institute is fully engaged in the challenge of bringing Big Data into K-16 classrooms, bringing together experts from diverse fields, conducting research, and developing and testing model learning environments that infuse large, authentic data sets into the classroom and develop students’ data-using skills. This presentation will share what we are learning from our endeavors, the programs we are developing that hold promise, and the challenges we are grappling with as we prepare students for the world of Big Data.
Ruth Krumhansl is Director of the Oceans of Data Institute (part of the Education Development Center, Inc., USA), which is dedicated to transforming K-16 science education to support student entry into a world of Big Data by serving as an intellectual hub and thought leader, conducting research to refine our understanding of how students learn to work with data, and developing and testing new materials and teaching approaches. Krumhansl is lead author of two books: Visualizing Oceans of Data: Educational Interface Design, and EDC Earth Science, a full-year high school earth science course (to be published fall of 2013 by LAB-AIDs) that engages students in building from evidence via data-rich investigations of questions that are relevant to society. She also leads the Ocean Tracks project, a collaboration with Stanford, which provides student access to near real-time and archival data from electronically tagged marine animals, drifting buoys, and Earth-orbiting satellites, along with Web-based data visualization and analysis tools.