Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal: Data Education in Schools
The Digital Education Research Centre is leading on a major initiative in data science education within South East Scotland. A strand of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal (link to http://www.acceleratinggrowth.org.uk) is to develop data driven innovation within the region, with the ambition of making Edinburgh the data capital of Europe. This can only happen with a highly skilled workforce, so an important aspect of the programme is developing talent and skills within the local population. We’re working with Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian, West Lothian, Fife and Borders local authorities, as well as the local further education colleges, Edinburgh Napier and Heriot Watt universities and local employers to offer opportunities to learners at all stages over the next 8 years.
Researchers within Digital Education are focusing particularly on school education. We aim to educate all school learners within the region to become data citizens. Every learner will have the opportunity to learn about how their personal data is used, their legal rights and privacy implications. They should be able to identify what data is collected about them and where it is stored, be aware of and be able to make use of open data, and be able to contribute to the ongoing discussion and evolving definition of data citizenship. Learners will also learn underlying maths and computing concepts, data collection and analysis, and how data can solve problems in everyday life and inform decision-making.
Within the schools programme, we will develop an interdisciplinary data education curriculum, mapped closely to existing maths and computing curriculum topics, as well as a set of engaging, real world data science teaching materials for teachers. We’ll also start and support professional learning networks for local teachers to support them to teach the new material and educate young people and their parents about career opportunities relating to data.
We’re excited about working on such a large scale and ambitious project with the potential to improve so many children’s learning and future opportunities. It’s going to be a huge challenge to scale our pilot work across so many schools and learners but that in itself will become part of our research. Through the perspective of realist evaluation, we hope to establish which methods of teacher education and teaching approaches work for whom, under what circumstances and why.
If you’re a school leader or teacher and you’d like to be involved, please email Judy.Robertson@ed.ac.uk