DEVELOPING A FRAMEWORK FOR EDUCATORS' DATA LITERACY IN THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT: PROPOSAL, IMPLICATIONS AND DEBATE
Big and Open data, as the forms of datafication in the society, have shaped a new form of divide. Not only the issue of abundance recalls the competence to navigate such abundance; but there are new concerns such as surveillance as well as the inability of understanding power and control behind data tracking and algorithms. Several strands of social research are exploring the problem through critical and sociotechnical lens, emphasizing the need to improve people’s awareness on data-driven techno-structures. However, while it has been frequent to observe, analyse and deconstruct data-driven practices and apparatuses, there is still dearth of approaches that aim at transforming the common individuals’ ability to react to this phenomenon. Education as discipline can shed light in this regard, since it is based on “designerly ways of thinking”: that is, develop people ability and knowledge to transform themselves as well as their socio-cultural contexts. To this regard, a first educational concern would be to focus data literacy and educators’ data literacy, as mean to frame the problem.
This paper aims at introducing a conceptual framework supporting educators’ data literacy to empower them as education professionals, as well as their students, to thrive in the datafied society. By framing the problem, we are putting the basis for intervention. This pathway is usual in educational research: needs’ analysis, modeling desired learning outcomes, which are the base to design for learning and deploying educational interventions.
The study is based on a conceptual review of several frameworks of data literacy. Over a search of 386 papers, 19 papers were selected, aiming at discussing, developing or testing data literacy framewors. The frameworks' components were extracted, analysed and discussed through a comparative approach. From the analysis of the background and the mentioned dataset, it emerged that the topic of data literacy is not new and has a tradition of research linked to numeracy as basic literacy. More recently, statistical elaboration, visualization and data storytelling have been added.
The datafication of education has also led to rethink “pedagogical data literacy”, that is, abilities to understand data tracked along educational processes. Moreover, the idea of using Open Data as Open Educational resources to promote both technical skills as well as civic education has also been given increasing attention. Lastly, critical approaches to the problem of datafication and the new literacies required to deal with personal data have emerged. In spite of this emerging characterization, the discussion connected to educators' data literacy is mostly focused on evidence-based approaches, and the several problems dealt in the literature on data literacy are not comprehensively covered into a single framework. On these basis, and considering the policy recommendations of the DIGCOMPEDU as framework for educators' digital competence, I introduce a proposal to frame data literacy as crucial dimension of educators' professional competence.