The demand for professionals with analytical and data management skills is growing. One way to ensure that there are enough people with these skills is through open data and its use in classrooms as an additional educational resource. This can be achieved by, for example, developing collaborative projects where students must search and filter information, analyse data or generate visualisations for a class. Through these projects, students can acquire a great diversity of skills, such as the use of technological tools, the capacity for analysis and argumentation, and the improvement of soft skills (e.g. teamwork).
Before schools can introduce open data as an education resource, teachers need to be trained and enabled to use open research data in their classes. This can be achieved via programmes such as the Use Data in Teaching project. Following this, teachers can introduce activities to boost the use of open data in the classroom, such as contests and challenges. For example, Spain annually conducts open data contests for students in different cities, such as the BCN Dades Obertes Challenge and the Open Data Contest of Castilla y León. For this to be successful, however, the government needs to be involved. Governments can incorporate open data directly into education plans. One example is the Lehrplan21 project, introduced and adopted by the Swiss government that includes an educational itinerary of learning basic concepts related to data, such as structures, formats, as well as management and analysis of databases.
For more information, read the Spanish Open Data Portal's article about open data to train future professionals. Looking for more open data related news? Visit the EDP news archive and EPD Featured Highlights and follow the EDP via mail, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.