Hands-on Hacking with Education Data @ RIT

Join us for our first, hands-on meeting of the New Year!

D&C Education reporters Tiffany Lakes and Meaghan McDermott have asked us to help find "story seeds" in a number of national and local public data sets.

You don't need to be a techie or a database expert to participate in this event. In fact, this will be a great opportunity for Hacks and Storytellers to learn more about how public data can be leveraged for reporting and what types of searches are possible.

Sean Lahman, the D&C's Data Guru, will kick things off with a presentation on digging for stories in databases. Then Tiffany and Meaghan will present the data sets they are looking for help with. After that we'll break up into small "fishing" groups and we'll see what we can find.

And, as with all our RIT meetings, after the formal meeting is done, the "after meeting" will take place at the Lovin' Cup.

Since this is a hands-on meeting, be sure to bring a laptop (if you have one)

Join or login to comment.

  • Timothy D.

    Was really great meetup everyone, thanks!

    March 26, 2013

    • Tiffany

      Yes it was! Thanks to all the Hackers for your help and expertise. Tim, could you post the links you were showing us? I'd like to show your work to my editor.

      1 · March 27, 2013

    • John K.

      Really awesome work, lots of fun. Let's do it again soon.

      1 · March 27, 2013

  • Timothy D.

    Tiffany, the 911 feed: http://mcsafetyfeed.org/ the other was Monroe Minutes which isn't quite ready for prime time, but should be before summer.

    March 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The new data.ny.gov site might also be a good place to look beforehand. Most of the education data there (https://data.ny.gov/browse?category=Education) relates to post-secondary education, but some of it is relevant to k-12 (I'm assume that's the area we're looking at).

    1 · March 25, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Now that I'm going through it for real, I'm finding it to be a needle-in-haystack situation. But there's occasionally something which looks promising.

      March 25, 2013

    • Meaghan M.

      Thanks Chris, for the link. There could be some great stuff in there.

      March 26, 2013

  • Matt B.

    Thanks for the input John. The primary goal of tomorrow's meeting is to help two reporters from the D&C "fish" for story ideas across a selection of public "big" data.

    To your point, coming up with ways to use socio-economic data as a filter or vector to look at these questions is extremely helpful and worth doing.

    I believe, for example, that Meaghan is interested in looking at reporting of violent incidents across schools and school districts. I suspect that looking at that with an eye to socio-economics might surface some leads worth following-up.

    1 · March 25, 2013

  • Tiffany

    Hi all! We're all looking forward to the discussion tomorrow and happy to see so much interest early on. As Matt mentioned, we have a few data sources we would like to share with you hoping you can help us mine through them. If you're interested in taking a look at them beforehand, here they are: One includes instances of violence in schools http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/vadir/vadir-reporting.html. The other is a fairly large collection of data with everything from athletics participation to AP courses to the number of times students are restrained or put in seclusion rooms http://ocrdata.ed.gov/. We will talk more about these tomorrow, but certainly welcome ideas of other data sources or things that jump out from these two!

    1 · March 25, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks! I predict 90% of the time will be spent loading and getting familiar with this data and 10% will be spent finding cool stuff. At least, that's how data journalism usually turns out. Getting a jump on the first part is very welcome.

      March 26, 2013

    • Matt B.

      That sounds about right. Again, the goal for tonight is just going to be starting the process and seeing what *might* be in there. I don't think anyone is expecting to break any stories right off the bat!

      March 26, 2013

  • John K.

    So what problem are we trying to solve?

    My thoughts:
    Some school systems are thinking of having different graduation rate goals for different races given the disparities that exist. The fact that testing data is being correlated with race as the main differentiating factor is not only racist, its stupid. I think we can do a lot better by correlating based on socioeconomic quintile. It's far less controversial, and the link between poverty and academic success is much stronger than race.

    A predictive system using student testing, socioeconomic, and in class performance data to identify the risk of a student dropping out and the magnitude of that risk. Could be used to identify problems before that get out of hand, shifting the focus to prevention over remediation.

    1 · March 25, 2013

  • Matt B.

    If you have time, I suggest giving the following article a read ahead of the meeting:
    http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/03/you_cant_just_hack_your_way_to.html

    March 22, 2013

  • Matt B.

    No worries John, come when you can!

    March 21, 2013

  • John K.

    Arriving Late, Class 'till 8pm.

    March 13, 2013

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