LOS GATOS, Calif., Jan. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- These multi-colored spirals lined up on a giant sheet of white paper might look as mysterious as Egyptian hieroglyphics to the uninitiated, but they're actually representations of how a class of sixth graders spend their time at Los Gatos' Raymond J. Fisher Middle School.
The spirals form a "data portrait" -- an art form inspired by Laurie Frick, an artist in Austin, Texas who "explores the bumpy future of data captured about us." Each spiral pictured here represents the hours spent in a typical sixth grader's day: The colored dots represent a child's favorite category of activity, with the other categories (sleep, meals, school, homework, screen-time, etc.), spiraling outwards to the least favored.
The kids created these data portraits during a workshop and lesson about the concept of "big data art." It's a new 90-minute class taught during a math period by the Art Docents of Los Gatos, and is part of a push by the Los Gatos Education Foundation and the school district to incorporate more of a STEAM approach to learning.
The idea behind the innovative and unusual new lesson is to engage students in a simple, accessible way in order to introduce them to the more complex idea of "big data".
The parent volunteer-run workshop does this by engaging the kids in a relatively simple and fun hands-on charting and art activity. The insights revealed about their days tend to surprise and excite the sixth graders as the spirals show them an aspect of their lives they hadn't explicitly thought about before.
The Art Docents' Big Data Art Workshop showcases the work of several notable big data artists to illustrate how modern computing and art can quantify and reveal what's otherwise invisible around us.
The non-profit, founded in 1973, is a volunteer-run arts and cultural educational organization. It serves more than 3,000 students in the Los Gatos Union School District.
Big Data and data science is increasingly shaping every aspect of modern 21st century life. A few districts around the country are piloting data science courses for middle and high-schoolers. The Art Docents of Los Gatos' Big Data Art Workshop places Fisher among those pioneers introducing the concept to middle schoolers who will become part of our future workforce.
SOURCE Art Docents of Los Gatos