Why data literacy for kids?

Ross White

8/4/2020 1:40:00 PM |

Story telling

So, this is my first blog and, I have to admit, I am massively out of my comfort zone... I’ve thought about blogging before. I even setup a WordPress site and Twitter account for a Qlik related blog, but never quite made the jump.

So why now?

Well, I’ve found something that I am passionate about to put my words ‘out there’. I’ve always been interested in data. Ultimately, there’s no denying that I’m an Accountant at heart who graduated from increasingly fancy Excel spreadsheets, to implementing finance systems and empowering finance teams, to having my mind blown by the possibilities of Qlik’s Associative Engine. My career turned green, white and grey and, a few hundred Qlik projects later, that first introduction to QlikView feels like a lifetime ago. In many ways it’s two lifetimes ago, as I am now lucky to have two young children to distract me!

children playing football

Alongside my family, football plays a big part in my free time. I count myself very lucky that my family and football combine in that I coach my son’s football team. At first this was terrifying; standing in front of a group of six year olds, trying to get them to sit still, let alone listen and follow instructions. Well, similarly to my career, I invest in myself and studied, did some coaching badges and with knowledge and experience, I grew in confidence.

Problem solving is key

We’ve created an environment where children are challenged but can feel comfortable working with data they recognise, with the ultimate aim of helping them to become an effective communicator with the ability to tell stories with data and engage their audience.

Saturday morning is my favourite time of the week, out on the training pitch setting problems for my players to solve. I often use small sided games such as 2v2 or 3v3 in training, which are fast and always create new and fun challenges. Watching the children grow individually and collectively brings huge satisfaction, and there are few better feelings than seeing them solve those same problems on their own in matches on Sundays.

prolem solving - problem, thinking, solution

Kids in Data’s approach to data literacy is similar to small sided games in football training. We’ve created an environment where children are challenged but can feel comfortable working with data they recognise, with the ultimate aim of helping them to become an effective communicator with the ability to tell stories with data and engage their audience. Our aim is to help children ask the right questions and find answers using the data around them, combining these skills to help them become better problem solvers. This is why Kids in Data is so important to me. Our simple goal is to make data literacy fun for children while helping them develop these lifelong skills.

What's next?

what is next?

We’ve only just started on this mission, with more games and learning modules in the pipeline. We’ve also got some fantastic contributors joining us on the journey, offering their experience and insights. I am excited to welcome Allen Hillery to Kids in Data as our first contributor, who would bring his wealth of knowledge and expertise on data literacy and share that through our site, allowing me to step back into my comfort zone. Allen joins Kids in Data with huge experience in the data literacy field. Allen is currently an Associate Adjunct Facility at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies as well as writing for the Data Visualisation Society and Beyond the Data. Allen also sits on the Advisory Board for Data Literacy LLC. You can connect with Allen on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter) or read many of his articles on Medium.

Ross White

Ross is the Co-Founder of Kids in Data, Director of Qlik Practice at Tahola, an FA Qualified Football and Futsal Coach and a full-time dad.