Arkansas needs to focus on developing a data-literate workforce for the jobs of the 21st century. This will require a long-term strategy that targets education across the full spectrum of K-20 classrooms.
AR Big Data Science is a data science outreach and research program sponsored by faculty at UAMS. This program will be piloting the use of big data sets in middle school classrooms using established modules from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We view this as an opportunity to stimulate enthusiasm for data science in middle school students so they will consider data science as a future career.
Our approach in the middle schools will augment the statewide educational ecosystem being fostered by the NSF Arkansas EPSCoR DART program. The overall goal of this project is to assess if the use of an integrated big data science curriculum can engage students and increase the knowledge and understanding of how big data can be used to interpret the world around them.
There are two specific aims to the project:
- Increase teacher knowledge and confidence in using big data science in the classroom and
- Increase student knowledge, skills and efficacy in using big data science.
- Kevin D. Phelan, Ph.D., Professor, Division of Clinical Anatomy, UAMS (Co-Director)
- Tiffany W. Huitt, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Clinical Anatomy, UAMS (Co-Director)
- Annice Steadman, retired Arkansas educator (Curriculum Integration Coordinator)
Program Staff Bios
Having grown up on a west Arkansas farm afforded Annice Steadman the opportunity to begin her science education at an early age. The farm was a science laboratory offering lessons in agronomy, animal husbandry, environmental science, evolution, animal and plant behavior, and microbiology. With a degree in science education, she accepted her first teaching position at a middle school in the Little Rock School District teaching Earth, life, and physical science. Six years later, she accepted an invitation to teach biology and AP Biology at Little Rock Central High School. During her twelve-year tenure she became involved in preparing students for the science competitions. The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts employed Mrs. Steadman as the Director of Life Science. There she worked with an outstanding group of teachers to write the curriculum, design classrooms and laboratories, and recruit students for the charter class. For the next two years she taught AP Biology, microbiology, and anatomy and physiology while serving as Director of the ASMS Regional Science Fair. After returning to Central, she worked with College Board during the summer months as an APSI AP Biology instructor. After a career in public school she spent six years at Pulaski Academy Upper School. Retirement to help with grandchildren did not last long. Mrs. Steadman returned to LRSD for the next four years as the Science Lead Teacher.
The AR Big Data Science team is excited to announce that we have just been awarded an NSF Arkansas EPSCoR DART Seed Grant. This is a two-year $98,000 grant supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. OIA-1946391. The title of the grant is: “Piloting Big Data Science in Arkansas Middle Schools.”
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Middle School Teachers Across the State
If you are a middle school teacher in Arkansas and you would like to participate in our pilot program this year, please contact us via email at Arbigdatascience@gmail.com.