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The town of Cladach on the virtual island of Eilean Mòr is being co-created with students from Newbattle High School and Roslin Primary. They are designing the sensor layout and the data that will be collected to solve real-world problems such as safe routes to school


learning at every level, from school pupils up to university researchers, are also very exciting. Te role of data in our every-


day lives increases the need for “data literacy” for all citizens. Data literacy is the awareness of how data is gathered and used when we interact with the world around us and the skills required to gather, process, analyse and interpret data and use it ethically and responsibly. Te Data Education in Schools


programme, part of the Edinburgh and South-east Scotland City Region Deal, is working alongside the IoT project to support opportunities for young people across the city region to develop data literacy and skills. Professor Judy Robertson, aca-


demic lead on the programme, says: “Data skills development is relevant across all curriculum areas, topics and themes and extends beyond maths and computing to arts, social sciences and humanities. “Data has been hugely significant


this past year in decision-making around the pandemic but data can influence many areas and having the literacies and skills to use data ef-


fectively and responsibly is becom- ing increasingly important for young people. Tink about how musicians can understand their audiences bet- ter from the data that music stream- ing platforms can provide; how you might represent 100 years of climate change data in a soundscape; how smart textiles can help keep you warm (or cool) depending on your level of activity in a day.” As part of efforts to support


data literacies the Data Education in Schools programme has been developing a series of data science “live lessons” which are open to all schools in Scotland and beyond. Since November 2020, almost 4,500 young learners have tried out data science techniques including image classification and machine learning to save endangered rhinos by track- ing poachers and altering code to de- velop their own “data selfies” while reflecting on how personal data can be encoded, “hashed” and presented as a visual and abstract “selfie”. Steven Eagleson, quality im-


provement officer in Fife, says: “With data becoming increasingly important in a range of profes-


sional areas – from healthcare to construction, public sector, tourism and the creative industries – pro- viding young people with opportu- nities to access relevant skills and qualifications, is really important and the world of data offers many such opportunities for learners across primary and secondary.” Te Data Education in Schools


programme developed a series of face-to-face events in 2019, called “Data Town”, which brought together more than 100 aspiring, young data scientists, from P6 up to S3 level from city region schools to explore the ways that data affects all our lives. As part of the IoT project, a virtual, online version of Data Town is being developed. Tis will be supported by the network that the schools will help create. Chapple adds: “Supporting the


hands-on use of these physical IoT sensor devices is the Data Town online learning tool, which enables pupils to engage with a variety of real-world scenarios, such as flooding and air pollution. Tis allows simulated IoT sensor read-


ings to be explored interactively to understand the impacts of these events on both the environment and ourselves. Tere’s a huge range of data that can be gathered from these sensors.” South-east Scotland’s regional


network will create new data sets to support research and enable in- novation in IoT applications for the region’s companies, start-ups, and local authorities. Te ParkLife proj- ect has already explored the use of sensors in Edinburgh’s green spaces to create a “smart noticeboard” featuring park usage information and even detection of bats. Another project is using sensors in East Lothian beach car parks to help inform the public and the council in real-time of the availability of park- ing spaces in high-demand areas. l


Find out more - dataschools@ed.ac.uk Partner Content.


ddi.ac.uk/ FUTURESCOT | SUMMER 2021 | 25


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