CS Principles Portfolios: Data

August 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This post will discuss my experiences with the Big Data PBT, the program that has brought the most amount of success to my course. My students love data analysis – and in fact, I do as well. At this time last year, the only PBT I was concerned about implementing was the Data component. I was constantly working on deciding what needed to be taught in the classroom, and how to teach it.

I spent a lot of time thinking and reading about data mining. I understood the concept of finding patterns in large data sets. Making these patterns into visualizations was also not difficult. The challenge, however, was figuring out what the visualizations should convey. For a given data set, what patterns were I looking for? I realized that the amount of relevant information collected depends on the types of questions that are applied to the data sets. These questions are fairly complex – you can’t find answers by simply scanning through one data field.

The other challenge is teaching this concept of data analysis. On a basic level, the concept is quite easy – taking simple surveys among a group of people is gathering data. The survey responses are a raw set of data that has been collected around the questions. This eliminates the problem of finding valid questions.  However there is the challenge of trying to teach students the idea of finding patterns in data sets.There  is also the challenge of finding visualizations that accurately map the results. Students need to be taught how to use the various computing and visualization tools to manipulate and analyze the collected data.

These are my challenges. I worked to solve them last year, and I am still working to improve my methods.

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