NSDL Using Data in the Classroom Workshop
April, 2002 Carleton College
This twenty-eight person workshop brought together faculty from science and engineering disciplines and NSDL project PIs to better define why, how, and to what effect faculty use data in the classroom. The workshop goals were to advance the effective use of data in the classroom, to support inquiry and discovery based learning, and to inform the design of on-line data delivery tools.
Data enhanced learning experiences, including activities in which students collect and interpret their own data and those in which they explore research databases to answer questions, are an important tool for student learning. In particular, data-enhanced learning experiences can
- prepare students to address real world complex problems
- develop their ability to use scientific methods
- teach them how to critically evaluate the robustness of data or evidence and their consequent interpretations or conclusions, and
- provide training in technical and communication skills and the values and ethics of working with data.
Currently, there are excellent examples of how students can be engaged in using data to answer questions from all of the scientific disciplines and engineering. Future work should focus in three areas: disseminating examples of effective practice, evaluating the impact of date-enhanced learning, and developing data access infrastructure and services. Data access infrastructure and services should support students in
- finding and accessing data relevant to the topic they are investigating
- evaluating the quality of this data
- using appropriate tools and interfaces to manipulate and render data to answer questions
- combining multiple and diverse data sets to solve a central problem
- generating visualizations and representations that communicate interpretations and conclusions
- contributing student data to larger data sets
- viewing individual student data in the context of larger data sets
The workshop participants recommend that NSDL promote the interactions and partnerships needed to develop this type of data access and supporting services.