I can feel the energy of the waves gently pushing at my body, the sound of bubbles rising by my ears. I look down at my underwater clipboard and carefully write down “5”; the number of kelp stems, or fronds, that I’ve just counted. I let my tethered pencil go, and it floats up in front of me as a fish swims by. Everything seems to move in slow motion around me. I am relaxed, but focused. I need to finish measuring all the kelp plants along three, 20m transect lines laid out in front of me;...Read more
I got up at 4:15 AM to fly from Monterey, CA to Boston, and I don’t fly back until November 8 – which meant that one of the last things I did last night, after packing and before falling asleep, was to fill out my absentee ballot for the big election. I am so relieved. I’ve voted. Any more last-minute surprises will be too little, too late.
Perhaps it is because of my professional interest in data, or maybe it is my concern about the ramifications of our electorate’s decision next...Read more
This past weekend I was invited to run a 2 1/2 day workshop for the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative. CCURI (pronounced “curry”) is an NSF-funded program involving 50 community colleges, and the focus of this workshop was to engage a dozen CCURI professors in developing activities for their students to work with authentic scientific data.
I was joined in my efforts by my close friend and colleague Bill Finzer from the Concord Consortium. Creator of Fathom and CODAP...Read more
What an expert sees in a data visualization is not what a novice sees. This is an important lesson learned from a two-year project undertaken by the Oceans of Data Institute, funded by the National Science Foundation.
Our visual system doesn’t operate like a camera, capturing pictures in our memory. Rather, visual perception is better described as information...Read more
Big data continues to revolutionize almost every discipline. But a key question—how universities can prepare students, researchers and staff with the skills appropriate for success in big data—is largely left unresolved.
That’s why what Shannon McWeeney is doing is so compelling. Last year, Dr. McWeeney—who is the Head of the Division of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical...Read more
At the Oceans of Data Institute, our mission is to transform education to help people succeed in school, work, and life in a data-intensive world. Unfortunately, the book explaining exactly how to do that hasn’t been written yet—so a big part of our job right now is to figure out what a “data literate individual” looks like, and from that information, to determine the steps required in a person’s educational career for them to become data literate.
In his life-changing book The 7...Read more
The Oceans of Data Institute has put considerable energy into understanding what it means to be data literate in the age of “big data”. We, of course, are not the only ones interested in this as awareness of the shifting landscape grows. An internet search we did recently revealed attempts by organizations around the world to describe data literacy with definitions that vary in length from a short sentence to more than 200 words.
Many of the definitions are aimed at practitioners in...Read more
The work of a teacher rarely ceases once the doors of the school finally close for summer vacation. Just a few short days after the school year had ended, I had the opportunity to head back to my old high school stomping grounds and reconnect with many of the teachers who were, and in some cases continue to be, my most influential mentors, helping to shape me as a learner and as a person. But this time, instead of turning to former teachers for wisdom, I was suddenly being treated as the “...Read more
...this is a phrase I’ve heard repeatedly from expert big data analysts since we first launched the Oceans of Data Institute in 2013. Indeed, in ODI’s 2014 survey of close to 100 big data analysts, analytical thinking and critical thinking emerged at the top of the list of skills and knowledge essential to working with big-data across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Since then we’ve been trying to get a deeper...Read more
This spring is a time for celebrations for my family. We just celebrated our first year in our house and the first anniversary of my starting full-time with EDC. Over the past few weeks two of my sons have graduated from college, and this Saturday my oldest daughter is getting married. Happy days indeed!
At times like these, it is hard not to reflect on the importance of the things we do—as parents, as teachers, and as citizens. I’ve also found myself thinking about the work we do...Read more