Monday, September 21, 2015

Is Anush data? - Mentor experience by Paul Bajaj (Bangalore camp)

It was a great experience to be a part of the mentor group for 16 enthusiastic 6th-10th graders introducing them to the world of data science.

While we waited for a few remaining participants to join, we asked the students 'what is data'. 'Everything is data', quipped Anush. We probed him & the rest of the group further, 'Is Anush data?'. 'Yes', said Anush; 'No', said the others. The discussion continued to help us uncover an interesting definition of data, 'something about Anush is data, Anush is not data'.

The day was full of such uncovering about engaging children with data science. I had a group of four to mentor - one boy and three girls. They varied in their abilities to follow and do the exercises we gave them. Rating children on a scale of 1 to 5 on their likelihood of befriending them on basis of given information on name, gender & hobby came easy to them. As did entering the data on a spreadsheet. They understood the features & could assign classifiers too (old/new to names; indoor/outdoor to hobby). While all were able to look for basic patterns in data, 2 out of the 4 were able to understand how to build their simple predictor. 1 was able to test the accuracy of his predictor. 

Two out of the four were able to extend themselves further - see that classifications did have some subjectivity (is painting walls indoor or outdoor), look at new features that could matter more (type of hobby [arts or sports or nature] being more nuanced than its location [indoor or outdoor]), look at new classifiers (length of name than its old/new nature). 

Overall, while what they derived from the hands-on day might have been linked to their own ability, the day succeeded in giving them an opportunity to engage with data & get a pique into the world of a data scientist. I came back with several ideas on how much more we can do with this goldmine of an idea!

Thank you, team Aspiring Minds for the initiative!

No comments:

Post a Comment