For this entry into our Digital Data Stories (DDS) series on series, we’ll explore our Tutorial Series. In many ways, tutorials are what most people think of when they consider improving their data literacy. Due to this, we thought tutorials would be a great place for us to start creating data stories.
But why do we default to tutorials? This is because many folks use tutorials to teach technical skills and we conflate technical skills with data literacy. However, data literacy isn’t just technical. Data comes in many forms and data literacy means we need to read, work, analyze, argue, and communicate with all kinds of data.
Tutorials don’t have to focus on technical or statistical skills. Data and tutorials are as diverse as their subjects! So, as a method, tutorials can leverage many literacies, such as learning to communicate with data using different narrative forms. That’s why our tutorials include both technical and narrative components. That way folks who want to cultivate data literacy can draw on all kinds of skills when they approach data.
Specifically though, the Data Stories within the Tutorial Series provide pre-written resources, paired with open data sets available at Open Context. In general, we’ve written them to aid instruction in classroom and training settings. However, they can also be used as standalone resources for individuals.
These archaeological data literacy skills include technical ones, such as learning to filter a spreadsheet, as well as narrative skills, such as how to interpret data through different perspectives. The form we use to teach these skills is step-by-step instruction and interaction with real data. And that for us is what defines resources in this series.
The Data Stories in our Tutorial Series are the first ones we have published and you can take a look at them here. We also have a few tutorials incorporated into other Data Stories as they’re a good pathway to learn particular skills. However, we don’t consider those part of the Tutorial Series because the substantive teaching pathway for those data stories are not step-by-step, how-to’s for specific archaeological data literacy skills.
This is an important point to make because every Data Story cultivates archaeological data literacy skills. However, each does so in different ways. We suggest that our Tutorial Series works well for folks who like step-by-step guides or aim to have specific outcomes for their skills. They’re great for logical and analytical learners or folks who like a lot of detail and specific examples for what they’re trying to do. However, they’re also great for folks who learn by doing. That’s because every tutorial helps the user create something to demonstrate their skills.
But tutorials are just one way to teach and so in our other series on series we’ll explore ways that our Data Stories cultivate archaeological data literacy.