- Reiterate the Big Question. Is there a more efficient and sustainable online and/or mobile solution to home/school communication? (What are the digital alternatives?)
- Discuss the importance of evidence-based decision making.
- Ask students: What questions might need to be answered when using data in this project? What are we looking for?
- Ask students: Would a solution that requires a robust internet and a high level of device ownership (especially smartphone/tablet ownership) be useful for our school community?
- What does national data say about that? (Reading/analysing datasets).
- Introduce to students the datasets from the OECD/ ABS/ ACMA/mobile phone providers.
- Assist students in making sense of the big data websites (Skill: Reading/manipulating/analysing).
- As these sites are data-rich and complex, you will need to model how to access the useful data for this project, without ‘getting lost’. A whole-class or group session navigating through a dataset, with discussion, is vital here.
- Set up a space for students to record findings and opinions; for example, a collaborative online space, a whiteboard on which the student recordings can remain until the end of the series of lessons, or a sticky-note wall (again which can remain until the end of the series of lessons).
- Provide students with a template for this big data activity.
- Name of data set.
- Ease of use, how ‘friendly’ was the website?
- What assistance did you need to understand the website?
- Top five ‘takeaways’ from looking at this data set.
- How useful was the dataset in providing you with information to answer the Big Question?
- Place students in groups of 5–6. Divide the datasets from the OECD/ABS/ACMA (online versions, in preference to printed) amongst the groups. As this data is dense have each group of students just looking a one or two datasets (depending upon the time available for this lesson sequence).
- Ask students to record their findings and opinions about the data. In groups, they should be able to find 5 or 6 key points.
- If they already have access to a collaborative website (for example a Google Doc or online forum) they could use that; however, any recording method would be fine (for example, whiteboard, sticky notes) as long as it the results can be seen by all, added to, and edited.
- Support/scaffold and teach around the following questions:
- How do we know what sort of newsletter does our school community want?
- How can we find this out? How will we get this data? Do we need to conduct our own survey? (Skill: Making our own datasets)
- Teach students how to make an online survey. (See Resources for online resources that will assist you.)
- Ask students: What data will this project survey try to capture? (Skill: Making survey questions)
- Teach students of how to frame effective questions. See Resources for things that will assist you.
- Reiterate to students the purpose of the survey: ‘How do we know what sort of newsletter does our school community want?’ Student survey questions should cover issues around preferred newsletter format, connectivity, device ownership, privacy, etc.
- Ask: ‘How will we organise and sort the data we collect?’ (Skill: Manipulating spreadsheets by sorting). See Resources for things that will assist you.
- Ask: ‘How do we analyse this data?’ (Skill: Data Analysis)
- Demonstrate how a spreadsheet can organise data, which makes it easier to understand.
- Have students find, discuss and report on survey data about preferred newsletter format, connectivity, device ownership, privacy, etc.
- Ask: What actions will be informed by this data?
- Monitor responses (see above) from the collaborative space, whiteboard, sticky notes notes and provide feedback for students.
OECD Data ICT Internet Access
ABS Data Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012–13
ABS Data Personal Internet Use
ABS Data Types of Internet Access
ACMA Data Australians get mobile
Mobile phone providers coverage maps eg Telstra
The New Google Forms (2016) Tutorial
Survey Monkey Tutorial
Making good survey questions
Sorting an Excel Spreadsheet
Sorting a Google Sheet
Sorting Apple Numbers Spreadsheet
Sorting Open Office Calc