Through the end of 2012, students ages 13-18 around the globe are invited to participate in “Data Detectives,” an engaging Web experience to learn about how Big Data will impact their lives and the world they will be inheriting. Data Detectives is the student component of the Human Face of Big Data, a globally crowdsourced media project focusing on the new ability to collect, analyze, triangulate and visualize vast amounts of data in real time.
“The Human Face of Big Data,” produced by Against All Odds Productions, aims to help people better visualize the ways Big Data is shaping the future of the planet, and includes a smartphone app, worldwide events, a large format illustrated book with an interactive iPad app, and a documentary.
The Data Detectives initiative invites students to answer questions, explore examples of how Big Data is changing their world, interact with real-time data and see how other students around the globe are impacted in similar and different ways. Students can explore the Data Detectives Web experience at www.studentfaceofbigdata.com.
Also at this URL, educators can access a supplementary teaching kit with activities that employ statistics, geography, social sciences and other relevant coursework related to “Data Detectives.”
As newly deputized “Data Detectives,” students will be able to explore, discuss and pull eye-opening insights from dozens of stories about Big Data. These are just a few examples of how Big Data is coming to life in the real world:
Ingestible Sensors: Tiny vitamin-sized pills the size of a grain of sand containing integrated circuits and a battery that transmits heart rate, respiration, body posture, even sleeping patterns as they travel through your body.
Finding the next Lady Gaga: A company called Next Big Sound analyzes social media to predict which emerging musicians are likely to write the next big hits.
Food Fight: When nine-year-old Martha Payne of Scotland photographed and ranked her school lunches according to quality, quantity, nutritional value and pieces of hair found on her “food-o-meter," the local government council tried to ban her Web site. Martha’s millions of supporters took to Twitter and Facebook, forcing the council to reverse its decision. Martha used her newfound fame to raise $185,000 from her followers to provide meals to children in 16 countries.
Sensing Earthquakes: In Taiwan, students at the Lanyang Girls High School are among the thousands of people in 67 countries participating in the crowdsourced Quake-Catcher Network, which uses the accelerometers in every day laptops to detect and provide advance warnings of earthquakes.
“The goal of Data Detectives is to spark the imagination of students around the globe by making them think about new technologies that will impact humanity in ways similar to language and art,” said Rick Smolan, CEO of Against All Odds Productions. “We want to expose the personal side of a complex topic to demonstrate just how different the lives of today’s youth will be in comparison to their parents.”
The Human Face of Big Data project is based on the premise that the real-time visualization of data collected by satellites, and by billions of sensors, RFID tags, and GPS-enabled cameras and smartphones around the world, is enabling humanity to sense, measure, understand and affect aspects of our existence in ways our ancestors could never have imagined.
The “Data Detectives” component of “The Human Face of Big Data” project is editorially independent and is made possible through the generous support of EMC Corporation, which serves as the primary sponsor. Supporting sponsorship comes from Cisco Systems, FedEx, VMWare, Tableau and Originate.
Another project collaborator is TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting world-changing ideas from leading thinkers and doers. The organization recently launched the TED-Ed platform for students and educators. See EducationWorld’s review of the TED site.
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