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Data literacy refers to the ability to understand, generate, and use data. This can mean everything from being able to sort through the results of a survey to being able to understand the meaning of a complicated graph or chart. It also includes the ability to critically evaluate data and visualizations.
Teaching Tools and Resources
There are many resources that support teaching data literacy, no matter your background. Tools such as Mentimeter, Socrative, and Poll Everywhere allow you to collect responses from students on the spot and generate visualizations that represent the information graphically.
Easy-to-use infographic tools such as Infogram and Piktochart can be used for projects about data advocacy and storytelling. These tools make creating a compelling infographic straightforward through a combination of intuitive features and online tutorials.
When you’re ready to venture into data analysis projects, Databasic.io’s suite of tools offers web-based ways of exploring and understanding data, complete with activity guides designed for use with teens. Best of all, there is an increasing amount of open data available from local groups and government agencies that can offer relatable and interesting datasets for teens to analyze.
All of these tools can serve as the basis of a larger conversation about the role of data in public discussions, such as the way that schools use student data to make curriculum decisions or how local governments track traffic data to make decisions about signage and stoplights, and what questions students should ask when they encounter data and visualizations in their daily lives.
Data All Around!
The U.S. federal government’s portal for open data provides access to a lot of datasets and offers the option to browse by topics, such as health, public safety, and agriculture. The site also links to data collected by cities, counties, and states.
For projects with an international perspective, the United Nations’ data portal not only provides access to international datasets on topics from agriculture to tourism, but also has links to the data portals for many countries around the world.
NYC Open Data
Though far from the only city with an open data portal, New York City has one of the nicer, more user-friendly sites. Through this portal, you can find city-wide data about education, recreation, local government, and more.
U.S. Department of Education
This site collects data related to the Department of Education, which means that it offers a number of datasets that might interest students, librarians, and teachers. It also offers a link to the National Center for Education Statistics’ Create-A-Graph tool (nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph), which is aimed at younger students.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Public health data can offer many interesting possibilities in working with data, and the CDC’s website provides access to a variety of health topics and tools and resources related to the datasets.
Global Health Observatory Data Repository
For health data at a global level, you can also look to the World Health Organization’s data site, called the Global Health Observatory. Here you’ll find datasets of health problems around the world and related topics, such as air quality and road safety.
Space exploration is always an exciting and inspiring topic, so why not incorporate NASA’s work into your data and visualization activities? With the open datasets available on NASA’s data portal, your data project can visualize meteorite landings or analyze NASA’s patents.
DIY Data Art
creative activities for librarians and educators to build youth data literacy!