Crock-pot dinners, early morning backpack packing, soccer bags, and after school snacks ready to go! I don’t know about you, but these things must mean one thing; school is not only back in session but is in full swing! It has taken me a bit of time to get my bearings, but I feel like now that almost a full month of school has passed I’m finally getting my “back to school” mama groove back!
As a kid, I loved school! School was not only a place to hang out with my friends but I genuinely loved learning. Learning has always been a strength of mine. Yes, I was the kid who had my homework done before I ever left school because I couldn’t wait to get right in and learn more. I suppose you could say it was early on in life that I became a lifelong learner, to want to learn more about the how & why for the world around me and always looking to broaden my understanding.
Recently I was able to explore Ben Jones’s courses for data literacy. I was first introduced to Ben Jones and his published work about two years ago through his book Avoiding Data Pitfalls. This book was pivotal in my professional world, evidenced by the sticky notes and heavy highlighting of my very loved book, which I keep close by on my desk. When I learned he had an online course content, I was eager to dive in.
I enrolled in the two-part series Digital Literacy course based on his book “Learning to See Data : How to Interpret the Visual Language of Charts”. A digital copy of the book is also available with the online course.
Jones’s “Data Literacy Level 1” course was a great refresher for many of the skills I utilize in my professional work when thinking about data. This course captured the basics of data literacy and included sections on how to read and interpret data visuals. Level 1 was a great reminder to not only see data for what it is, but to remind myself what data is not. Data can only tell the story about what is represented in the data set and does not include the story of what is left out/missing from the data set.
Jones’s “Data Literacy Level 2” course dug deeper on how to explore, visualize, and discover real world data. Not only does Ben do a great job at breaking apart each step through looking at data, but his examples are practical, making them easily applicable to a novice or an expert. Level 2 includes application of skills learned with many data tools such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Tableau, and other analytical software and provides great tips and tools with these applications and platforms.
Working with GEAR UP grants, I often see my work year in sync with that of a school calendar year (August-July). With September being the “beginning” of my year, I find it a great opportunity to take a breath, step back, and learn something new before my year really kicks off. I’m excited to see where this new school year leads for the GEAR UP grants I support. I can already see where the pieces from the Data Literacy courses will fall in place! The only problem with completing this series is now I have to find something to fill my learning itch. After all, how can education stop when there is always something new to learn?
Ben Jones’s website: https://dataliteracy.com/