Four Years of Data Science Education

Last week, while I wasn’t looking, ADSEI turned four. Four years of working with teachers and running workshops. Four years of creating resources. Four years of refining what it means to teach Data Science. Four years of understanding the impact of using real problems to teach STEM and Data Science.

When I first started teaching Data Science, I remember going to conferences and having people say “Oh wow! You can do Data Science at school now?” and replying “Not yet, but give me a minute.” Well. Cometh the minute, cometh the charity!

We’ve worked with Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre, the Victorian Department of Education and Training, the ACT Department of Education, Education Services Australia, Teacher Professional Groups, and more. We’ve worked with teachers, schools, and parents. We’ve written a book, Raising Heretics: Teaching Kids to Change the World – a blueprint for educational reform. And we’ve run a ton of workshops and created a wide range of projects, lesson plans, blog posts, and videos.

It was pretty clear when I founded the Australian Data Science Education Institute that Data Science Education was an idea whose time had come, but the key ideas are so much more than Data Science. It turns out that teaching Data Science using real projects also teaches critical thinking, creative problem solving, ethics, and communication. It belongs in every subject across the curriculum. It empowers kids to solve problems they care about.

Imagine if we could build a world where evidence based policy was demanded at all levels of government, business, healthcare, education, and everywhere. Where evaluating programs systematically and objectively was the default. Where our response to problems and crises put science and evidence first, and ideology second.

If we routinely teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and everything else in the curriculum by empowering kids to solve real problems, using evidence and data to understand the world, this kind of evidence based world will be within reach.

When kids learn that all data has flaws, that their own work can never be perfect, and that every solution needs to be evaluated, however attractive and “obvious” it might seem, then they are learning critical thinking as an essential component of their own work. They learn to consider the impact of their solutions on people who don’t look, act, or think the same way they do. They learn to assume that their own work has flaws. They learn to look for unexpected complexity and complications. They learn that the obvious solution might well be wrong.

So how can you engage with ADSEI? So many ways!

Donate to support our work at givenow.com.au/adsei/

Download lesson plans, project ideas, and interesting datasets (for free!) from adsei.org/datasets/

Buy the book, Raising Heretics: Teaching Kids to Change the World. A blueprint for reforming education and empowering kids to make change.

Check out our growing collection of Data Science Education Videos

Get in touch with contact@adsei.org to have ADSEI build curriculum, develop projects, and create resources that suit your school and your community.

Send us interesting datasets with annotations that explain what each field means and how the data was collected, so we can build lesson plans around them.

Join the Teachers Using Data Science Facebook group to connect with other teachers using real data in the classroom.

Share your favourite data science projects and classroom activities on the Facebook, group, or send them to us to share on the website.

Join the mailing list to keep up with our activities.

And, above all, spread the word! Share the website, the book, the facebook group, the youtube channel. Tell your kids’ school. Tell your colleagues. Tell other parents. Help us empower all kids to change the world.

In the spirit of always evaluating your own work, ADSEI runs evaluations of all of its teacher training, and you can see the latest results on the website.

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