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Global Project Readies to Tackle Data Science Gap

1 October 2018 No Comment

Details of a global project to beef up the teaching of data studies in high schools throughout the world and train teachers in data science as a science of central importance were recently released by the International Data Science in Schools Project (IDSSP), which interprets data science as an interdisciplinary subject drawing on disciplines including statistics, computer science, mathematics, communication, and soft skills.

“The last decade has seen spectacular growth in data collection and usage in most areas of human endeavor—from government to business, to health, science and the environment,” says Rob Gould, a spokesperson for the group. “The scale and complexity of the data now being amassed are far beyond the ability of single computers or individuals to manage. We need teams of data science experts working together in real time, around the world. That is why we have launching an urgent project aimed at meeting the global shortfall in trained data science professionals.”

The aim of the IDSSP is to transform the way data science is taught the last two years of secondary school. Its objectives are the following:

  1. To ensure school children develop a sufficient understanding and appreciation for how data can be acquired and used to make decisions, so they can make informed judgments in their daily lives as children and then as adults
  2. To inspire school students to pursue tertiary studies in data science and its related fields, with a view to a career

The following two curriculum frameworks are being created to support development of a pre-calculus course in data science that is rigorous, engaging, and accessible to all students:

  1. Framework 1 (Data Science for Students) is the basis for developing a course with a total of some 240 hours of instruction.
  2. Framework 2 (Data Science for Teachers) is designed as the basis for guiding the development of teachers from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., mathematics, computer science, science, economics) to teach a data science course well.

The project is a collaborative activity involving leading computer scientists, statistical scientists, curriculum experts, and teachers from Australia, Canada, England, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States and supported by several national and international societies, groups, and companies.

“We envisage the material will be used not just in schools, but also as a valuable source of information for data science courses in community colleges and universities and for private study,” says Gould.

Draft frameworks will be published for widespread public consultation in early 2019 and completed by August. For more information, email IDSSP or visit the IDSSP website.

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