Data Literacy: A Necessary Tool of Empowerment
Meet the Maker
Amber Soto, Director of Mathematics Instruction, Implementation and Improvement
What is a movie that inspires you?
One of my very favorites, “Hidden Figures”, inspires me in so many ways! I love the scene in which the women “computers” realize that the new machine would eventually push them out of their jobs. Instead of fighting the change, they worked to learn coding so that they could reposition themselves as indispensable. It not only inspires me as a woman in the world of mathematics, but as an educator in a world that is in desperate need of change to align with the times!
What fictional world or place would you like to visit?
As a kid, my favorite book was, “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, Mary Poppins wrote a book!) Whangdoodleland is the quintessential world of imagination and creativity. If you can dream it, it is there! I would love to be able to take a ride on the joke-propelled boat “The Jolly Roger”, and order an ice cream sundae from the magical soda fountain by simply telling it what I want! That just sounds AMAZING to me! <3 <3
As we come closer to Halloween, what is a memorable costume that you have worn?
Our family used to be into group costumes, and we LOVE old school video games – Mario Bros in particular! So one year, we each picked a character – I was Princess Peach, my son was Mario, my husband was Luigi, and my sister was Toad. It was SUCH a fun year! 🙂
What is the “why” for this week’s Making Magic?
In 2018, it was said that 90% of the world’s data has been collected in the past two years. I’m sure that number is even more impressive now! I can’t even FATHOM the pace at which the information at our fingertips is growing. What is scary about that is the inability for many to be able to understand and decipher the data that they are able to find. Because of this, in the state of California, a new Mathematics Framework is currently being drafted; one that focuses much more on Data Science than ever before.
In his TED Talk, Jordan Morrow said, “Reading, working with, analyzing and arguing with data empowers us as individuals to make sense of all the information that is out there – and then to make decisions with it.”
As our world moves into an age of technology and digitalization, it is ESSENTIAL that we equip our learners with the ability to understand and navigate the incredible amount of data at their fingertips so that they can use it to make well-informed decisions in their futures!
This Week’s Focus
How can we help our learners understand and use data to navigate this digital age and make well-informed life decisions?
The first PBL “pillar” is “A Need to Know.” There is nothing more pressing than the need for our future generation to understand information about the world around them, or to be data literate! Though this particular time period is often referred to as the “Age of Information,” we are quickly realizing, as educators, that it is also becoming the age of MISinformation! Therefore, a huge focus in our projects needs to include guiding our learners through the process of truly researching a topic, understanding how to decipher credible sources, familiarizing our learners with data in all its forms, and helping them learn how to extract and analyze information from raw data.