'Big Data' Skills Not Being Taught in K-12, Experts Say


This Education Week article spotlights the work of EDC's Oceans of Data Institute, describes the Institute's development of the first-ever profile of the skills and competencies that big data professionals need, and quotes Institute Director Ruth Krumhansl on the need for schools to foster K-12 students' data literacy: "Pressure from employers has led to a band-aid approach of on-the-job training and nascent graduate-school programs, but the real problems begin much earlier in the educational pipeline, Krumhansl said. 'In most K-12 science classrooms, they're doing very simple controlled experiments with only one or two variables,' she said. 'Students really need experience with working with multiple variables, when there are a number of different things that could be causing a certain result.' She cited as a model K-12 project for teaching big-data analytical skills the EDC's 'Analyzing Ocean Tracks' project, which allows students to develop their own research questions and conduct their own investigations and analysis based on publicly available oceanographic data. After tracking sea animals' migration patterns, students might seek to find causes for certain patterns, looking at everything from sea-surface temperatures to chlorophyll maps. Efforts to develop more such curricular resources are in their early stages, Krumhasl said, and should be aided by the growing availability of public and 'open' data sets."


Education Week

Publication Date: 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014