Challenges and Opportunities in Teaching and Learning Data Literacy through Art

Achieving data literacy is challenging when schools narrowly focus on statistical reasoning rather than on meaning- and inference-making. Without attention to the social contexts of data, learners can fail to develop a critical stance toward data, to understand the nature and production of data, the questions that it can answer, and the ways that data can be used to inform and misinform. We explore art as an accessible and personally relevant approach to developing middle school students’ data literacy. We designed and implemented a 2-week long arts-integrated unit in a grade 7 classroom. Interviews with two teachers and two students following the unit, and analysis of students’ artworks and pre/post survey responses, reveal opportunities and challenges at the intersection of data science and art. We discuss pedagogical considerations for other interdisciplinary approaches to data literacy.

Matuk, C., DesPortes, K., Amato, A., Silander, M., Vacca, R., Vasudevan, V. & Woods, P.J. (2021). Challenges and opportunities in teaching and learning data literacy through art. In Proceedings of the International Society for the Learning Sciences Conference, pp. 681-685. The International Society for the Learning Sciences. Online.