Friday, 20 June 2014

Increasing Youth Involvement in the Data Revolution

There is a lively online discussion happening right now on Wikiprogress aboutMaking data more accessible for society at large”. This blog, by Wikichild Coordinator Melinda Deleuze, will discuss how children and youth could become more involved in the open data world as data users, storytellers and producers. 

A result of an open data society is that data will inevitably become more freely available for young people to download, use, and share. This means that we need to train children and youth to become more data savvy, so they can interpret the increasing amounts of raw data and visualisations. There are already several free courses and tutorials available online about how to analyse data (e.g.;;, which could prove useful for older youth and teachers. There are also online learning tools geared towards a younger audience, such as these data handling games for children as young at 5 years old. Another great initiative mentioned on the online discussion by Big Idea is their Joint Consultation Workshop in Tanzania back in March. The workshop trained young people from Ghana, Nepal and Tanzania to analyse data and present it to a younger audience, which brings me to my next point...

If data is going to be more easily understandable for youth, then it should be other young people telling the stories. The European Youth Press (EYP) has begun training young journalists to use more data in their work. In 2013, EYP launched the “FlagIt!” project which trained 48 young journalists from 4 continents on how to use digital visualisation tools in open source. The project will soon publish an online handbook available to anyone who would like to use these tools. This September, EYP will be hosting a conference for young European journalists (18 to 26 years old) on data-driven journalism, which will also include participation in the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium on media in the era of big data. Finally, EYP provides a free online course “Doing Journalism with Data,” open to anyone with an internet connection. 

Finally, more interactive technology tools should be geared towards youth as data producers, so that their voices can be heard. The Global Partnership on Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda (#GPY2015) is working on an interactive crowdsourcing initiative to identify youth priorities, building on the results of young voters in the MyWorld2015 survey: Education; Employment and Entrepreneurship; Health; Good Governance; Peace and Stability. Citizen Science for Youth’s webinar last October is another example of an initiative aimed at engaging youth in crowdsourcing data. 

Do you know of other initiatives that include child and youth in the data revolution? Feel free to leave a comment in the online discussion!

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