Data literacy for high school students

A teaching module in collaboration with the TMI Academy

  • Article
  • Our approach
Marieke Schulte
Chair Digital Power Datahub
3 min
17 Dec 2021

We can no longer ignore it: our society runs on and is about data. From small to large amounts of data, data about our purchasing behaviour, our health, our WhatsApp messages and our political preferences: data is used to make our lives easier, more fun and more predictable. Sounds good, right?

Data literacy 

But what exactly is data, which data do we (un)consciously share every day and what happens with it? Only good things? We will answer that last question: unfortunately, our data is not only used for good things. The CambridgeAnalytica scandal is just one example. 

Fortunately, we are (partly) in control of sharing our data. But then you have to know what data actually is, how (your) data is collected and what the consequences are. We call this data literacy. Digital Power's consultants can talk for hours about data literacy, and we want to make that knowledge accessible to everyone. They say 'catch them young', and therefore we developed a data literacy lesson module for secondary school students in 2020.


A perfect match 

However proud we were (and are) of our teaching module, it is not very 'young'. Fortunately, at the end of last year we talked to the TMI Academy, a foundation that knows everything about young people and their environment. The TMI Academy teaches Digital Literacy at secondary schools and has built a beautiful learning environment during the Corona crisis with modules on media wise themes. The Datahub and the TMI Academy turned out to be a perfect match: we wanted to share our data knowledge with as many students as possible and TMI wanted to develop a module about data. 

We also learned from the data lesson module 

This is how we started a very nice and instructive collaboration. We presented our data awareness teaching module, TMI shared their way of working with us and in a few sessions we exchanged all the necessary knowledge with which TMI could build the renewed teaching module. The TMI Academy created the teaching module using the design-thinking iterative process, in which the team processed our presentation and tailored the provided data knowledge to the skills and needs of young people.

The teaching module was given the name 'data' instead of 'data awareness' or 'data wisdom' because, according to Puck and Séna from TMI, for many young people these are unknown words. A striking example of how differently our teams looked at the learning module and how much we all learned from the collaboration.

Kara Mondelaers of TMI teaches second-year high school students

The data lesson module 

A year later, the module was completed and it turned out beautiful! The main goal of the module is that students know which data traces they leave online and that they can deal with them more consciously in their own lives. In order to attract (and keep) the attention of young people, TMI incorporated various learning methods into the teaching module. For example, it contains a series of videos in which a hacker gains access to a boy's data. This illustrates which types of data are sensitive or which can be traced back to the user. The module also contains missions (chapters) in which data is discussed in more detail.

The teaching module was first presented in class on November 2, 2021 and is now being continuously presented to thousands of students in the Netherlands. View some images from the module below:


Receive data insights, use cases and behind-the-scenes peeks once a month?

Sign up for our email list and stay 'up to data':