By Laurie Corrin, High School Math & CS Teacher
Correlating COVID-19 infection rates with state population data. Analyzing the Internet Movie Database to find new Hindi movies and compare rating sources. Comparing earthquakes across the United States. Examining the times different crimes are committed in San Francisco. Graphing popularities of video games worldwide. Charting disease progression in different states. Examining women’s rights in different nations using the UN’s Gender Development Index.
The above-mentioned projects were created by students in our first Data Science class. Our students are using Python and real-world data analysis techniques to examine the data that is all around us today. I am so impressed by their willingness to dive into new technology and their interest in diverse topics.
Today, there is more data than at any other time in history. Over 35 trillion gigabytes of data will be added in 2020. This data is used by corporations, universities, and governments to inform all kinds of decisions. Machine learning creates new algorithms that affect every aspect of our lives. In Data Science class, we are examining the ethical and social implications of these algorithms, along with the technology behind big data. Our students engage thoughtfully and honestly with ethical dilemmas.
Data Science is the first of our new semester-long technology electives. We created these electives because of our goal that every Forest Ridge graduate is a confident user and creator of technological artifacts. In these courses, students engage with an area of modern technology and its ethical and social issues. They develop coding skills and learn computer science concepts. Each course ends with a culminating individual project.
The quality of their first projects makes me eager to see what the students will do at the end of the course. I know they will surprise and impress me. They already have.