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Teaching Data Science to High School Students

MMS Founder

Article originally posted on Data Science Central. Visit Data Science Central

As Data Science becomes highly popular, more and more people are interested in pursuing a career in the field. It is not only about exploiting a multitude of opportunities but Data Science is actually an intriguing subject. It is incredibly stimulating for the mind and a perfect activity for those who like thinking outside the box.

For the same reason, Data Science is now being taught at the level of high school. Young minds can be honed for this skill and prepared for a more complex global environment. The aim of teaching Data Science to teenagers is not just limited to helping them make a career in a steadily growing field but it is also quite nourishing for their brains. Learning Data Science can help professional excel in related fields as well.

Data Science is Natural Subject to Teach to Teenagers

It is an undeniable fact that over time, the human brain has evolved. Many factors are involved in this evolution that has resulted in current teenagers being smarter than the ones before them. Today’s kids have a grown up already in a competitive world; one that is also rich in technology. So part of their brains and personalities is already prepared to take on the complex business world.

Besides kids’ brains having become advanced, most of them have the natural ability to collect and interpret data. And they do it with interest because children are naturally curious as well. For example, kids like collecting day to data like who is competing in the latest hit singing or dancing show. They can predict results and vote smarter based on insights from following the show. They apply the same concepts to their high school competitions and the way they will choose their college options.

Why Focus More on Data Science and Not Coding?

High schools necessarily teach a curriculum for computer science. However, the type of curriculum may vary from school to school. However, computer science is a field that keeps evolving. Many high schools stay up to date by introducing students to basics of newer technologies. Others may only focus on computational thinking; leaving the rest to be pursued as specialities at college.

However, we now live in a global village where students should be prepared from a very young age to face the challenges of the future. Therefore, updating curriculums is almost a necessity. Talking about updating courses, one has to admit that certain technical knowledge is becoming less important to learn and others more. For example, coding is to be mostly taken over by artificially intelligent machines in the future and Data Science becomes a more opportunistic career.

Importance of Teaching Data Science at High School

As mentioned earlier, Data Science is not just a technical subject to be taught for career-based purposes. In fact, it is almost a social science. Most of the careers, especially those directly related to the business world, are becoming integrated with big data.

An understanding of Data Science will develop better collaborative skills despite what careers the students choose in the future. Data collection is part of almost all types of industries these days. Even if a certain profession has nothing directly related to applying data analytics, they will still need to understand the insights provided by Data Scientists for their fields at some point. If there is already an existing foundation for Data Science, the communication will become easier and result in more effective perspectives.

Tips to Teach Data Science to High School Students

Data Science is a complex field. One has to remember to develop a curriculum that applies to the needs of the high school students. The concept is to prepare them so they can understand its importance and decide if this is the career they might pursue in the future. Or how they may use it in relates fields.

Here a few things high schools must focus on when planning to teach a Data Science course:

  • Clarifying course objectives is a necessary step. Both computer and Data Science are not cut and dry subjects. There are different dynamics when you go beyond the basics. Therefore, courses should have defined goals. Based on these goals, staffing and student support should be decided
  • Courses should complement the current trends in the field of Data Science and employment opportunities as well. High schools should consult career counselors, colleges, and Data Science experts for accomplishing this effectively
  • Many skills are integrated with multiple school courses. For example, public speaking, writing, and presentation. Data Science should also be treated as a similar skill. Understanding and interpreting data sets should be associated with any course that involves problem-solving
  • Courses should include collaborations with universities and businesses in order to expose students to the more practical applications of Data Science

We are already witnessing the way data is changing the business world. Data has almost become a commodity and data scientists are highly respected professionals. It is safe to assume that the future will only offer more complex challenges when it comes to competition in the business world. Therefore, the importance of collecting and interpreting data will only increase. Furthermore, the pace we are experiencing, another safe assumption is the development of smarter technologies for solving data sets. This is why we need to prepare young minds for the future. They should be able to understand the steadily advancing technologies and that big data is the key to success.

Moreover, a foundation in Data Science will add to their soft skills; increasing their chances of becoming well-established professionals no matter what careers they pursue. It is significant to mention that it is a street-smart skill; usable even outside of the professional world.

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