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.
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.