What is Data Literacy?

Data literacy is the ability to read, write, and communicate data in context. It is necessary for everyone to have basic data literacy.  We can increase access and interest in data science careers by incorporating data skills into out-of-school learning programs.  To accomplish this, informal educators need strategies for teaching data literacy.

The 3 C’s of Data Literacy are curiosity, creativity and critical thinking according to Jordan Morrow.  Morrow explains,

“Within the world of data and analytics, we get so caught up in the magnificence that is the data itself, the magnitude of it, and the power of the technology. All the while, the human element of curiosity can spark so much power with data and analytics. In this case, we are discussing curiosity as the ability to ask questions, challenge things. By asking more and more questions, we can pull in more and more data to answer those questions. This can lead to insight.  

We can utilize the power of creativity to analyze the data differently, and to tell creative stories around the data, bridging the gap between the data/technology and the business. Finally, we need to use our human ability of critical thinking to think about the information and data that is presented to us.  We can’t just take all the data and information at face value, but unfortunately that is often what happens.”

Our goal is not to create data scientists but rather to encourage young people to learn to use their own curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking to ask questions, seek patterns, and challenge assumptions when they look at data. We want them to know they are the power behind the analytics that generate deeper insights and innovative ideas.

We live in a digital and data-driven world. Everyone doesn’t need to be a data scientist, but everyone does need to be data literate to navigate this world – and organizations need data-literate people who will help them be innovative and creative in this data-driven world.