Open Data Increases Learning Opportunities for BC Students

Some of the province’s future leaders are the students at British Columbia’s high schools, universities and colleges. Education is a foundation to helping them reach their potential. And now more than ever, that education can be fuelled by data.

Before the advent of open data, high school students and university undergraduates may have had limited opportunity to learn about data or use it in their studies.  A key barrier was time. As anyone experienced in collecting datasets knows, compiling good data takes months, possibly even years, which does not always fit into curriculum timelines.

The beauty of open data is with more quality data accessible, students have more opportunity to interpret and question data – to tinker under the hood – and become data literate.

At BC’s first Student Codeathon, a group of a grade eleven and twelve students experienced first-hand the possibilities of open data. At the event co-hosted by the Ministry of Education and the British Columbia Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, the students were shown tools and data available and then given free rein to come up with problems to solve.

Check out what the students learned in their own words:

Pioneering into the world of coding opened a new world to me, that of discovering data and learning to use it efficiently in ways that could make a difference to my community.” Dayah, Hugh McRoberts Secondary

“What I really liked was that, they would give you a presentation on where to find some data, and then let you start a mini project using that data, and whenever you were stuck or needed help, they would assist you in trying to resolving the issue.” Rahim, Burnaby South Secondary School

“I learned that the opportunities of open data and the opportunities which you can create are endless. We all have learnt so much from the experience and we hope to share our thoughts and ideas within our schools and districts in the near future.”  Som, Hugh McRoberts Secondary School

We are excited about the possibility of more events like this one. After all, these students are our future leaders. They will help shape the future; whether it be acting on environmental issues or influencing social or economic policy. And so it seems obvious for them to have an opportunity to learn about the power of data.

Have an opinion? Let us know what you think.


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