Two New Academic Papers

If you’ve been to my hands-on workshops, you might be surprised to hear I’m also the “academic paper” kind of guy.  In fact, my position here as Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab means that one of the way I contribute is by publishing academic papers.  I have two of those in the latest issue of the International Journal of Community Informatics, a special edition on Data Literacy.  Give them a read if you want a deeper look into either how our Data Murals work, or into the design and use of our suite of activities and tools.


Data Murals: Using the Arts to Build Data Literacy

Rahul Bhargava, Ricardo Kadouaki, Emily Bhargava, Guilherme Castro, Catherine D’Ignazio

Current efforts to build data literacy focus on technology-centered approaches, overlooking creative non-digital opportunities. This case study is an example of how to implement a Popular Education-inspired approach to building participatory and impactful data literacy using a set of visual arts activities with students at an alternative school in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  As a result of the project data literacy among participants increased, and the project initiated a sustained interest within the school community in using data to tell stories and create social change.

DataBasic: Design Principles, Tools and Activities for Data Literacy Learners

Catherine D’Ignazio, Rahul Bhargava

The growing number of tools for data novices are not designed with the goal of learning in mind. This paper proposes a set of pedagogical design principles for tool development to support data literacy learners.  We document their use in the creation of three digital tools and activities that help learners build data literacy, showing design decisions driven by our pedagogy. Sketches students created during the activities reflect their adeptness with key data literacy skills. Based on early results, we suggest that tool designers and educators should orient their work from the outset around strong pedagogical principles.