Datamakers school workshop: “It was really fun because now I like data”

March 3, 2015

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30 year six students joined us in the Studio in the first of our Datamakers workshops, exploring data and data collection apps.

The students from English Martyrs Primary school in Preston had spent the week collecting their own data about their journeys to school. In the workshop they worked in groups to explore and combine their data for common themes. They then looked at how putting data on a map can help put that data into context.

In the second half of the day the students developed their own designs for apps that would help and encourage more data collection. The app ideas ranged from games for logging illegally parked cars to an app to help identify areas of high pollution.

Students map their data

Students map their data

The Media Innovation Studio’s Andy Dickinson helped organise the workshop. He said: “We were really keen not to dictate what the students picked as important data. We wanted them to tell us what they felt was worth exploring and they came up with some brilliant ideas. We were really impressed with their passion and imagination.”

Students also explored how they might use sensors to add to the data collection capabilities of a mobile phone. Dr Mark Lochrie was impressed with the level of knowledge of new technologies. “The students already knew about some cutting edge stuff and asked some pretty challenging questions about what we could do with sensors and mobile phones,” he said.

The next step for the project will be to work with the students to develop their ideas into an app they can help test.

“This continued involvement is really important to us”, said Andy Dickinson. “We think that owning the process of gathering data, and making it fun, is an important part of releasing the value of local data.”

The workshop is part of a broader range of Datamakers activities involving community data including workshops to explore building physical devices to help capture data.

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