A new series to share some of our ongoing learning with you.
At Carnegie Learning, we consider ourselves lifelong learners. Every day, we work on continually developing our knowledge in order to make the best possible math solutions for teachers and students. What We're Reading is a new series to share some of that learning with you.
Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec
Review by April Boland, Director of Engagement Marketing
I first learned about the book, Dear Data, when its authors were interviewed on a podcast (though I don't remember which, to be honest). I quickly began following them on social media and learning more about the project they completed over the course of a year that led to the publication of the book.
Dear Data is a beautiful book that showcases the power of data through hand-drawn art between friends. Giorgia and Stefanie, two friends living across the Atlantic from each other, decided to do a 1-year project in which they would collect a specific dataset every week and share it with each other via postcard. They could illustrate this data however they wanted to (by hand). The result is a visual masterpiece that brings math, science and art together in a very special way. Learn more about the project here.
Giorgia and Stefanie tracked 52 different types of data, including:
They write, "Data can make us more human and help connect with ourselves and others at a deeper level."
In interviews, Giorgia has shared that the project really opened her eyes and gave her insight into different aspects of her life. For example, seeing how often she said thank you and to whom—was it just to strangers to be polite or was it to really meaningful people in her life? Taking time to collect and analyze this data equipped both women with the information they needed to really examine their lives and make any changes they wanted.
While reading this book, I couldn't help but think about the importance of the data in MATHia, our math learning software, and how it has the power to provide important insights in a similar way. Students can see how they're doing with a particular skill or lesson. Teachers can see how each student is doing and even where they'll wind up at the end of the year. They can also look at data on the class as a whole to understand if/how they should shift instruction. (For example, are 75% of my students struggling with this one particular topic? I should devote a bit more time to it.) Administrators can use data to understand how their school or district is performing and look for key trends that can lead them to make positive, actionable change.
Data drives everything we do at Carnegie Learning to make our solutions more effective for the schools and districts that we serve. Not only do we use existing research to guide the design and revision of units of math content, but we also use the data collected in MATHia to constantly improve it. For example, if we see that a large number of students are struggling with a particular problem or unit, we think critically about how that content is presented and make changes that will help students learn it more effectively.
One example of this is the way we recently revised the workspace called "Graphs of Functions." Previously, students would have to enter the coordinates of the y-intercept on the left (see below), but when we saw that students had trouble with this method, we changed it so that they now select the y-intercept point directly on the graph on the right.
In 2018, technology has given us insight capabilities that we've really never had before. Most of us use data every single day in tons of different ways (e.g. tracking our fitness, tracking time spent on particular tasks, tracking our spending).
What role does data play in your life?
April has been writing engaging content and bringing communities together for 15 years. At Carnegie Learning, she heads up the LONG + LIVE + MATH Movement as a way to connect passionate math educators from all over the world so they can learn from, support and inspire each other.Explore more related to this author