databot™ Does Data - and Much More
Welcome to databot™ and the latest in our data literacy series! Data Science is one of the fastest growing career tracks on the planet and with good reason. Nearly everything is data driven these days, whether it is your autonomous lawn mower, your drone that locks and holds position easily, the weather patterns that predict incoming hurricanes, or the GPS app you use to find that restaurant with the awesome rice bowls.
Data literacy is the ability to read, understand, create, and communicate data – arguably a literacy metric of extreme importance in the 21st century. In this blog series we investigate the world of K12 data literacy education – who is working on it, why it’s an important foundational skill for students, and how can we all get involved in building a more data-literate world. In this blog episode we visit WozEd, a leader in developing data science curriculum for K12 students.
Meet WozEd - Leading the Way in Data Literacy
Steve Wozniak, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Steve Wozniak is a well known computer scientist and entrepreneur who discovered he had a passion for education and teaching children. Best known for his original work with Steve Jobs and the development of Apple computer technology, Wozniak, affectionately known as Woz, now provides some extraordinary STEM curriculum solutions for schools and other educational organizations around the country.
His organization, WozEd, focuses on programs that develop an “engineering mindset” in students – an approach that is non-linear, collaborative, employment focused, sometimes messy, and frequently involves failure as a growth metric. Failure based learning works wonders in developing perseverance and problem solving skills – we all know the “aha moments” of learning something the hard way. The wheels come off our robots, our circuits smoke, our code crashes, our bridges collapse, and, as in the case of Elon Musk, we blow up a lot of rockets before we achieve success.
If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it’s within your reach.
— Steve Wozniak
WozEd is one of the few programs we’ve found nationwide that offers a career pathway for data science that includes kits and curriculum to specifically develop data literacy in students. Their other career pathways include Coding, Engineering Design Process, Drone, Cybersecurity, Mobile Development, Animation, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and AR/VR – an awesome lineup for jobs of the future. Data Science and related jobs has been the fastest growing and top career track on Glassdoor now for four years running, so it’s no surprise that it is in the career lineup. When asked about the genesis of the Data Science pathway, Karen Young, the CEO of WozEd, explained it is a critically important topic that provides the foundation and underpinnings for all of these other career tracks.
We’re looking for ways to make data more interesting and accessible for students because it is a common denominator across all of our career pathways.
— Karen Young
Karen Young, WozEd CEO
“Take SpaceX and their launch of the Dragon. This required the efforts of a number of experts in robotics, engineering, aeronautics, coding and more. The common language used to coordinate their efforts and others involved in the project is data. We’re looking for ways to make data more interesting and accessible for students because it is a common denominator across all of our career pathways.”
Karen also went on to talk about the approach of WozEd and the structure of the pathways. The intentional design provides students with a variety of experiences that help them hone in on what they love to do and what they are good at. Once a student discovers that magical intersection of passion and talent, they will be well prepared for pursuing a successful and satisfying career.
The Data Science Career Pathway offered by WozEd has four levels that explore data in engaging, hands-on activities that increase in depth and complexity as students progress. Topics explored include relevant explorations of energy, forces, states of matter, and other topics that provide real-world insight into data collection and interpretation. Materials used range from handheld microscopes and spreadsheets to Sphero robots. These kinds of exciting tools and relevant explorations make data more interesting and memorable to students, exactly what we need to build a data literate workforce of the future. Now in over 3,500 locations nationwide, check out the WozEd programs for some inspiration and potential solutions to the STEM challenges your organization might be facing.
The databot™ Data Literacy Series
Data literacy – what is it and why is it important? In this databot™ blog series, we explore the why and how of data literacy programs in play today. If you think about the world we live in it becomes evident quickly that the ability to read, interpret, and communicate data clearly might be the most valuable skill on the planet in the 21st century. Self driving cars, autonomous drone fleets, business intelligence that feeds us the exact advertising at the exact time required to convert our purchase – all of this is powered by data.
As citizens of a data driven world it is our responsibility to become data literate to make informed decisions. When students work on data driven activities with databot™, they are building valuable skills in the collection, visualization, and interpretation, and communication of scientific data. These skills are transferrable to all other types of data whether it is business intelligence, Covid 19 statistics, or the latest data from Mauna Loa Observatory telling us our planetary CO2 levels are continuing to rise.
databot™ is the most versatile data exploration tool on the planet for K12 students investigating scientific phenomenon, coding, robotics, and more. One incredible tool, an infinite number of applications! Visit our product page and order yours today.
Critical for Careers: A competent grasp of data is probably required to be successful in any career of the 21st century, and one select career track, data science, is growing by leaps and bounds. By 2026 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 11.5 Million jobs in data science, and for the past four years running Glassdoor has named data science its number one job. You can read an article with more details here, see some of the top applications of data science in the real world, and also see some of the hefty salaries ($80K-160K average) that employees with this skill set are taking home. Importantly, this all starts with basic competence in data literacy!
Important Practices to Master: The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are an impressive body of work developed to guide science education for the 21st century. One of the three cornerstones of the NGSS are the eight Science and Engineering Practices that are identified as essential for all students to learn. Importantly, the 4th practice is Analyzing and Interpreting data. Whenever students are conducting data oriented activities such as those using databot™, they are learning to collect and analyze data – an invaluable skill that can be applied to any career of the 21st century. The more comfortable we can make our students when interacting with data today, the more successful they will be tomorrow.
databot Rocks Hands-On Data Science! Get Yours Today!
About the Author
Robert Grover is a proponent of STEAM education and educational technology that helps engage and develop the students of today into the thoughtful leaders of tomorrow.