“In today’s data-driven world…”– Ever wondered why most of the content these days start with that typical phrase? Well, let us look at some data to understand it:
“In 2018 alone, data adoption increased to 59% from 17% in 2015.”
— Data Analytics Adoption, Forbes
It has become imperative for students studying in all fields of subjects to be ‘relevant’ today. At the same time, in the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world that we live in, there is significant grayness around, where there are hardly any right or wrong answers. International Baccalaureate (IB) has strong focus on research right from the early years. The IAs and the Extended Essays that the students work upon in the Diploma Program are some of the means to encourage research. Critical thinking is an important parameter for Extended Essay evaluation and right analysis plays a key role in that. Students are not only expected to collect primary and secondary data but also analyse and interpret it in-line with the problem that they are trying to solve. This is where understanding of analytics comes into play. Training on analytics provides students with the basic tools to be able to collect and look at the data, interpret slices of it in a meaningful way and render them in a logically and visually optimal way for consumption.
In lieu of involving in theoretical concept-learning, Oakridge, one of the top IB schools in Hyderabad recently hosted an intensive 3-day workshop on Analytics. The workshop exposed them to the tools and techniques available in statistics/analytics, such as Tableau and Advanced Excel. Students were at various stages in their Extended Essays (EE) and had the opportunity to learn and hear about their specific essays straight from the horse’s mouth – Prof. Sagar Kamarthi, Lead Instructor from Analytics Headstart LLC, Boston. They also had a good interaction session with Professor on their undergraduate plans in the US and other countries.
Why is statistics an integral part of student-learning?
- Enhancing their Extended Essays
As a part of the Extended Essay, students are involved in serious study of certain topics, which involves collection of data, exploration and analysis of data, and later coming to conclusions. So, for this process, students need to have a good understanding of statistical measures and how they could test some hypothesis, which are statistically valid. So, a comfortable background in statistics is essential for IBDP students. Of course, the basic understanding of statistics is not limited to EE, but the skills go beyond, when they enter college.
- Giving students a strong statistical foundation for college education
Even if a student has taken up a course other than Math, like History, Psychology or Humanity, they all require to have a critical thinking skills or skills to verify the facts—weather it is statistically appropriate or not – and it is crucial to develop that kind of thinking rather than just go by instincts.
How does this workshop help IBDP Students?
“I’ve consulted with the teachers at Oakridge to get an understanding of what is necessary for students in IBDP and then I customized this workshop’s modules. This entire 3-day intense workshop’s modules cover topics that are generally covered in a 12-14 week’s course. In the modules we cover Probability, a necessity for critical thinking in terms of estimation and approximation; then there’s Distribution which is necessary to model the real-world scenarios and then Estimation of Population parameters which students are required to understand to prove hypothesis in their field of study. We also cover a broader scope of Hypothesis Tests, which helps students in verify the hypothesis they add in their research projects, IB essays or beyond high school”, says Prof. Sagar Kamarthi, Director of Data Analytics Engineering Program at Northeastern University.
“The structure of Oakridge School is highly advanced, and the students are really smart and intuitive. The design ideas and entrepreneurial concepts inculcated into the curriculum is unique to this school and you don’t normally see this in a typical high school, which I think is quite progressive. To accommodate this, the modules’ concepts being taught in the morning give a sense of theoretical relatability to the students in the course, where they practically apply these concepts to their essays in the afternoon sessions using case studies”, adds Prof. Kamarthi.
“As I often say, analytics/statistics is a life skill now. With the flood of data around us in all realms of life, decision making is increasingly becoming data-dependent. It is therefore important that the children are equipped to think in a structured manner, develop their own perspectives and are able to take informed decisions, basis the data they analyze and the way they interpret it. The student feedback has been very good and we are quite confident that this workshop would help them improve the quality of their research work. Most importantly, it’s a great beginning to help them with a 21st century life-skill that I call analytics.”, says Avneesh Singh, Director of Oakridge International School, Hyderabad.