By Raymond Pun and Kenya Flash
In our last post, we covered how you might use Credo to teach image searching and visual literacy. This week we will be looking into how Credo can help you teach data literacy. Data literacy is the ability to read, interpret, create, and communicate data as information. Many disciplines, from communication to political science and more, expect students to show proficiency with these skills in their assignments.
Credo has many images and resources to help users find data for specific studies. Although the background info Credo is known for may not be in-depth, its collection is comprehensive and useful when teaching basic data literacy skills. Let’s look at some of the techniques and activities you can use to teach data literacy and quantitative thinking skills in your upcoming classes.
Discuss the Topic Page: Statistics. Credo highlights statistics as a mathematical method to achieve the collection and interpretation of data. Furthermore, it provides a simple method of doing this, which students may remember as the mean, median, and mode of the data provided. These measurements may speak to frequency, averages, and/or predictability of the materials presented.
Teach students about qualitative and quantitative data through statistical analysis. Credo can help you to explain the differences between both types of data, and can help you highlight different data visualization techniques including popular ones, such as mapping, line graphs, pie/bar charts, pictograms, etc. You might also want your students to guess why one kind of visual might be more appropriate than another, and discuss when you would use these kinds of visuals.
Have students explore descriptions of previously collected statistics in Credo, such as the Census, and explain how useful that data may be for their research. There are also various demographic data available on topics such as poverty or climate change, and you can have students discuss and analyze the data presented to create a lively discussion on important issues today. If your library subscribes to Issue Briefs (Credo's current events add-on), that can be provide further resources for this type of discussion.
Consider how you can use the ACRL’s Framework to have your students think about data literacy critically. One of Credo’s linked resources on the topic page Statistics highlights how people may lie using statistics. This article points to Authority as Constructed and Contextual, which may be discussed in a future piece. Credo can be used to introduce basic data literacy skills for first-year general classes such as communication, writing and the social sciences.
Kenya Flash recently began work as the librarian for Political Science, Global Affairs, and Government Information at Yale University. Previously, she served as the Political Science and Sociology Liaison, as well as Diversity Resident Librarian and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a role she held for two years. Before then, Kenya worked as a Circulation Supervisor at Kings College, as an Adjunct Reference Librarian at Wilkes University, and in several other academic institutions, both in libraries and in residential life/student services. Kenya earned her MLIS from Drexel University, her MA in Political Science from East Stroudsburg University, and her BA in Government and Law from Lafayette College. She has written and presented on a number of topics in librarianship, including uses of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, assessing the needs of graduate students, and diversity and cultural initiatives led by academic libraries.