LabXchange has launched the Data Science-Driven Science Education project, a collaborative effort to create free, online data science learning resources. The project is the result of a $6 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) under the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Biotechnology, and Enhanced Civics Education. The award supports the building and dissemination of modular, interactive, and inclusive online curricula, which apply data science to real-world challenges in biotechnology and climate change.
This interdisciplinary project will lead to the development of two new learning clusters: Data Science in Biotechnology, and Data Science in Climate Change. The clusters will be designed and built by LabXchange, an initiative of Harvard University’s Vice Provost of Advances in Learning, in collaboration with the Harvard Data Science Review. The resources will then be disseminated for free through the LabXchange online platform from now through 2025.
Data Science-Driven Science Education aims to provide sustainable, long-term data science resources for high school students and educators that will augment national digital literacy by integrating data science with existing high school STEM curricula and building educator capacity to confidently lead students in data science explorations. By intervening earlier in the workforce pipeline, we aim to raise the level of preparedness among students for critical data science careers.
To prepare educators to use the curricula, LabXchange will also create a set of complementary educator resources and deliver virtual teacher training workshops in collaboration with the TIES Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM. TIES Founder and CEO Jan Morrison commented, “This collaboration with LabXchange, an initiative we have long supported, offers an ideal opportunity for TIES to continue delivering on its mission of providing learners with meaningful and transformative opportunities that will prepare them for life and work today and tomorrow.”
The project is led by co-principal investigators Dr. Joseph Blitzstein of the Department of Statistics, Harvard University, and Dr. Xiao-Li Meng of the Department of Statistics, Harvard University, and the founding editor-in-chief of Harvard Data Science Review. Under their direction, an array of core data science concepts will be brought to life by the LabXchange creative team.
“Data science focuses on using data to learn about the world, but sometimes is taught as ‘just’ math,” says Dr. Blitzstein. “Biology and climate science, despite being very empirical fields where collecting and interpreting high-quality data is essential, are sometimes taught without explaining the foundational data science principles that enable reliable knowledge discovery. Through this project, we aim to infuse data science into the high school science curriculum, introducing data science concepts to deepen students’ understanding of biotechnology and climate science, and, conversely, using biotechnology and climate science examples to make data science more intuitive and accessible. The material will be freely available on the innovative LabXchange platform, which enables customized, interactive journeys through the material.”
Since launching in January 2020, LabXchange has worked to create equitable opportunities for success in science on a global scale, reaching over 33 million learners to date.
LabXchange is an online science education platform that provides users with access to high-quality science education, personalized instruction, online lab experiences, and networking opportunities across the global scientific community at no cost. To learn more about this initiative, visit www.labxchange.org.
Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning seeks to shape the future of education by discovering new ways to build the competence, curiosity, and confidence of learners on our campuses and around the world. We create engaging and scalable learning experiences, cultivate inspiring ideas, and connect a global community of learners while developing tools, technologies, platforms, and policies to reduce friction throughout the learning lifecycle.
About the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Biotechnology, and Enhanced Civics Education
The Department of Defense NDEP is committed to providing STEM education opportunities to students and educators of all ages throughout the country and across all demographics. By partnering with federal, state, and local agencies, academia, and industry, the Department is ensuring the future diverse and talented workforce needed to carry out its mission. The program aims to foster a diverse and inclusive community of learners, who are equipped to tackle the complex challenges facing our national security and contribute to the strength and resilience of our nation.