Data Literacy in the Real World

Data — millions of little “bits” of numbers and information — is often collected, aggregated, and analyzed to determine how long it will take you to drive from home to work, which YouTube video you might like to see next, your location based on a credit card purchase, or the online ads you see after opening a marketing email. Data surrounds us, follows us and leads us as we type, tweet, friend, Google, post, and email.  

Knowing how to recognize the role data plays in our  lives is critical to navigating today’s complex world. We want our high school students to graduate being able to understand and make conscious choices about the ways in which they approach data. Data literacy — the ability to “read” and “write” effectively with data — is critical to success in the 21st century.

Educators and librarians can help students become more data-savvy once they are more savvy with it themselves.

In this volume, you’ll find two kinds of professional development tools to support that growth. Part I contains pre-made professional development via links to webinars from the 2016 and 2017 4T Virtual Conference on Data Literacy, along with discussion questions and activities that can animate conversations around data in your school. (Click here to access the links to the archived webinars.) Part II explores data “in the wild” with case studies pulled from the headlines, along with provocative discussion questions, professionals and students alike can explore multiple perspectives at play with Big Data, data privacy and personal data management, ethical data use, and citizen science. (Those case studies list web URLS where you can access real-world readings. If you don’t like typing in URLs from the PDF or print volume, you can find all of the links here.)