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01 May 2024

DataFace - what is it and how can you get involved? Secondary TC meeting

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Becci Peters

This is a summary of a secondary TC meeting about the DataFace competition open to schools nationally.

Engaging Students in Creative Data Visualisation through Cheltenham Festivals' DataFace Competition

Cheltenham Festivals, a renowned charity organisation, has developed an exciting initiative called the DataFace competition as part of their Science Festival. This competition provides an excellent opportunity for secondary school students to explore the world of data visualisation and storytelling. The DataFace competition is not just about festivals - it encompasses a wide range of outreach programs, learning opportunities, and participation events. The four main festivals organized by Cheltenham Festivals are science, literature, music, and jazz. The DataFace competition is specifically part of the Science Festival, offering students a chance to delve into the creative aspects of data representation.

Karen Morris, a former head of computing at Stroud High School, has been closely involved with the DataFace competition. She has worked with Cheltenham Festivals for the past two years, helping to pilot the competition and providing valuable insights.

The competition challenges students in years 8 and 9 to explore and interrogate data sets, using skills they have learned in spreadsheet topics, such as sorting, filtering, and conditional formatting. The goal is for students to find a compelling data story and present it in a visually creative manner.

To support teachers and students, Cheltenham Festivals has created a comprehensive set of resources, including lesson plans, video summaries, and suggested activities. These resources cover core skills, such as introduction to spreadsheets, sorting, formatting, and data interrogation, as well as "power skills" that delve deeper into data science concepts, such as data integrity, sourcing, and diversity. The video resources are particularly valuable, as they guide teachers and students through the data sets, explaining the columns, units, and other important details. This helps ensure that both teachers and students feel confident in understanding and working with the data. Additionally, Cheltenham Festivals has included interviews with data visualisation artists. These interviews provide inspiration and insights into the creative process of transforming data into engaging visual representations.

The DataFace competition can be integrated into the curriculum in various ways. Some schools have incorporated it as a standalone unit of work, while others have used it as an extension or enrichment activity. The flexibility allows teachers to tailor the experience to their specific needs and the interests of their students. To further support cross-curricular connections, Cheltenham Festivals encourages collaboration with other departments, such as geography, art, and design and technology. This interdisciplinary approach can enhance the learning experience and provide students with a more holistic understanding of data visualisation and its applications.

Overall, the DataFace competition offers an exciting opportunity for secondary school students to develop their data analysis and creative skills, while also fostering collaboration and interdisciplinary learning. By engaging with this initiative, teachers can inspire their students to explore the fascinating world of data storytelling and visualisation.

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