Data Literacy Playground

An Open Project Spotlight

Samantha Ahern (@2standandstare) works on the Digital Education team at University College London. After spending the last year exploring learning analytics and ethical considerations, she’s been working to jumpstart Data Literacy Playground in our current round of Mozilla Open Leaders.

I interviewed Sam to learn more about Data Literacy Playground and how you can help!

What is Data Literacy Playground?

It will be an Open Educational Resource targeted at 16–24 yr olds. Students and young adults are often asked to sign consent forms, but their privacy rights are really not ever explained to them, they do not always understand the implications of sharing their data. We aim to create an online training environment where this can be explored.

The aim is that the playground will have 3 zones: Data and Me, Data and The Academy, and Data and Society. We hope that the zones will contain: data to analyse and play with, along with games and links to related resources such as Lightbeam.

How did the Data Literacy Playground start?

It was original proposed Tanya Dorey-Elias (Thompson Rivers University) and was a potential hackathon project at the 2017 Learning and Knowledge (LAK) Conference hackathon. Tanya’s original ideas for the playground can be viewed on her blog.

The initial motivation was ethical considerations with regards to Learning Analytics, we wondered how students could give informed consent if they’re not truly informed?

It was recognised that it was too large a project to work on at the LAK Hack, but should happen, hence my application to Mozilla Open Leaders.

What challenges have you faced working on this project?

Trying to shape something that was quite wooly, and Tanya being on a different continent and timezone. Has been tricky to keep her in the loop re: the development of the project.

What are you most proud of accomplishing during MozFest?

Having a group of people sit on the floor playing the Open Data Boardgame — Datopolis! Datopolis was developed by the Open Data Institute.

Participants of the To Datopolis and Beyond session starting to question why they should share data — and its pros and cons, unprompted. Also, passers-by who saw the game wanted to know how they could obtain their own copy — GitHub!

How has your project been impacted by Mozilla Open Leaders?

It has helped kickstart the project. Have had to think through what we want to achieve and how we want others to help. The most difficult things to write were the readme and contributing files. Had to start turning quite nebulous thoughts into concrete-ish ideas and plans. Anna, my mentor, has been great and really helped, I really enjoy our fortnightly catch-ups. Has been awesome to talk to others about their projects too!

How can others help you continue the work on Data Literacy Playground?

At present we are seeking help creating the visual identity to the playground, these are the current issues in GitHub for the project.

But we also need synthetic and/or open data sets for use within the playground, some tools for remixing and visualising this data e.g. R Shiny Apps, expertise from data scientists, data librarians and data protection specialists.

What meme or gif best represents your project?

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