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Data is a Team Sport, Episode 1: Enabling Learners

- June 6, 2017 in community, data literacy, Event report, Fabriders, Online Conversation Notes, Online Curriculum, podcast, research

School of Data’s podcast series exploring the ever evolving data literacy eco-system.  Upcoming episodes will focus on specific areas within the eco-system such as Investigative Journalism, Civil Society, Government and Academia. In this episode we speak with two veteran data literacy practitioners who have been involved with directly engaging learners to get beyond spreadsheets to build confidence and take agency in their own learning. Our guests:
  • Rahul Bhargava is a researcher and technologist specializing in civic technology and data literacy. He creates interactive websites used by hundreds of thousands, playful educational experiences across the globe, and award-winning visualizations for museum settings. As a research scientist at the MIT Center for Civic Media, Rahul leads technical development on projects ranging from interfaces for quantitative news analysis to platforms for crowd-sourced sensing.
  • Lucy Chambers initially embarked on a career as a journalist, she took a few turns which lead to a career at Open Knowledge teaching journalists how and why to work with data. She was one of the editors of the Data Journalism Handbook. She later lead the highly successful School of Data programme which extended technical training to non-profit organisations. Lately, she has focussed on delivery of software projects as a product manager. Most recently, she has been working in West Africa on health related software.

Notes from the first episode

Rahul described methods to data novices to think more creatively by drawing and using a gallery of their artwork to build confidence to think more critically. He says that this experience is what led to the creation of databasic.io, a website designed specifically to engage learners. Lucy tells of School of Data’s initial struggles with setting up a one-size fits all online curriculum and how they learned through focus groups and testing that they needed to focus on people, rather than a tool-based approach. They then turned to developing a fellowship programme which is very much at the core of the School of Data network. Both of our guests had strong opinions about building data literacy culture in organisations. A common mistake is made by letting the IT Department provide data training.  Organisations often produce unhelpful data metrics and dashboards that don’t actually help staff get a full picture of progress.

Gaps in the Data Literacy EcoSystem:

  • Toolbuilders not understanding and subsequently not building for learners.
  • NGO’s not testing out data driven messages with their audiences before they release them.

Adjusting to a ‘post-fact’ world means:

  • We need to make sure that people understand that data not necessarily truth and that it is often used as rhetoric and that it carries bias. Data sets should have a biography attached.
  • Narrative wins, so the data presentation methods where the audience is bombarded with facts and figures just doesn’t work. We have to spend more time pulling out the compelling narrative from the data.

They wanted to plug:

  • Rahul is building a co-hort around further development of databasics.io. Ping him via twitter to get more information on that.
  • Lucy’s blog is Tech to Human and she writes about her work and what she’s learning. She is working on a project for MySociety called EveryPolitician and writing about it on Medium.

Readings/Resources they find inspiring for data literacy work.

View the full online conversations:

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Second Quarterly Report on my Panton Fellowship

- March 26, 2014 in Open Source, openscienceASAP, Panton Fellowships, podcast, report, scio14, visualization

by Timothy Appnel

by Timothy Appnel

I am now almost halfway through my Panton Fellowship, so it is time to sum up my activities once again. The most important activity in the last quarter was surely the work on the open source visualization Head Start. Head Start is intended to give scholars an overview of a research field. You can find out all about the initial release in this blog post. I was busy in the last few weeks with bugfixing and stability improvements. I also refactored the whole pre-processing system and further integrated the work of Philipp Weißensteiner with regards to time-series visualization. If you are interested in trying out Head Start, or – even better – would like to contribute to its development, check out the Github repository. Furthermore, I attended the Science Online un-conference in Raleigh (February 27 to March 1). Scio14 was very inspiring and engaging. Cameron Neylon hosted a great session on imagining the far future of academic publishing. In Rachel Levy‘s workshop on visualizations, we reflected on our own visualizations and there were tons of tips for improving one’s work. Other great sessions included post-publication peer review (with Ivan Oransky), altmetrics (facilitated by Cesar Berrios-Otero), and alternate careers in science (led by Eva Amsen). I also encourage you to check out the videos of the keynotes which include a very inspiring talk by Rebecca Tripp and Meg Lowman on neglected audiences in science, and the awesone crowd-sourced 3D printing project for creating prosthetic hands by Nick Parker and Jon Schull. Let’s move on to my work for the local Austrian community. Together with my fellow OKFN members Sylvia Petrovic-Majer, Stefan Kasberger, and Christopher Kittel, I became active (remotely for now) in the Open Access Network Austria (OANA). Specifically, I am contributing to the working group “Involvment of researchers in open access”. I am very excited about this opportunity as it is one of the objectives of my Panton Fellowship to draw more researchers in open science. What else? Earlier this year, I was interviewed for the openscienceASAP podcast. In the interview, I talked about altmetrics, the need for an inclusive approach to open science, and the Panton Fellowships. You can find the podcast here (in German). If you have read my last report, you may remember that I spoke on a panel about open science at University of Graz. The video of the panel (in German) is now online and can be found here. Furthermore, I’d like to draw your attention to the monthly sum-ups of open science activities in the German speaking world and beyond: January, February. So what will my next quarter look like? As you may remember from my last report, I am currently a visiting scholar at University of Pittsburgh. In the weeks to come, I will integrate Head Start with Conference Navigator 3, developed  by the great folks of the PAWS Lab here in Pittsburgh. Conference Navigator is a nifty scheduling system that allows you to create a personal conference schedule by bookmarking talks from the program. The system then gives you recommendations for further talks based on your choices. Head Start will be used as an alternate way of looking at the topics of the conference, and to give better context to the talks that you already selected. I will return to Austria in June, just in time for Peter Murray-Rust‘s visit to Vienna. There are already a lot of activities planned around his stay, and I am very much looking forward to that. As always, please get in touch if you have any questions or comments, or in case you want to collaborate on one or the other project.