Johannesburg - With the growing demand for data scientists and analysts worldwide, learning subjects like maths and data analytics at school need to be more attractive and fun for pupils.
This has since encouraged the University of Western Cape (UWC) to host a workshop to help teachers make the delivery of maths and data analytics more engaging for their learners.
A group of teachers, joined by 10 UWC students training to be teachers, UWC lecturers who train our next generation of teachers, funders and guests gathered at the UWC campus earlier this month for the workshop titled, Teachers 4 Data Analytics.
The event was hosted by the Department of Statistics and Population Studies at UWC, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and SAS.
It aimed to arm mathematics teachers with material and ideas to make the teaching of data analytics more interesting and exciting in class.
There was also a demonstration of a free software package called SAS DataFly. SAS Datafly is an interactive tool that collects and visualises responses obtained from computers or mobile phones in real time.
Acting Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Professor Admire Dube said teachers should be messengers to encourage learners to pursue studies in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
“Data is everywhere and teachers should be the messengers to encourage learners to consider studying in the STEM fields, but particularly in the analytics field. There is a huge need for data scientists and analysts in South Africa and worldwide,” said Dube.
Manager of the UWC Data Science Programmes, Professor Renette Blignaut welcomed the guest speaker, Professor Christine Franklin from the University of Georgia who attended the event via a virtual platform.
She enthusiastically shared how statistics training can be made exciting in class. Prof Franklin emphasised the message that learners should be trained to think statistically so that they are better equipped to understand and interpret data that is all around them.
Dr Julia Keddie of the UWC Data Science team said that the teachers were the change agents who could encourage learners to select mathematics at school level. She said the teachers should show learners how to appreciate the value of statistics in the real world and to encourage learners to study statistics when they complete their schooling.