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Data Science Education Needed Focus On Ethics

  • September 12, 2021 at 6:56 am
Data Science Education Needed Focus On Ethics

The big idea Our new study shows that undergraduate training for data scientists. Which has been call the most sexy job in the 21st Century by Harvard Business Review, fails to prepare students for ethical science.

Data science is the intersection of statistics and computer science, applied to a specific field like astronomy or linguistics, medicine or psychology, or sociology. This data crunching aims to solve otherwise unsolvable problems. For example, how can health care providers create personalized medicine based upon a patient’s genetics or how can businesses make purchase predictions based off customers’ behaviour.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, there will be a 15% increase in science jobs over the 2019-2029 period. This corresponds with a higher demand for science training. Colleges and universities have responded to this demand by creating new programs, or rewriting existing programs. In the United States, there are now at least 50 undergraduate data science programs. This is a significant increase from just 13 in 2014.

We were both educators and practitioners of science and we were inspire. By the increase in programs that investigate what and isn’t cover in undergraduate science education.

Our study compared undergraduate data science curriculums with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s expectations for data science training. These expectations also include ethics training. Most programs had a lot of coursework in mathematics, statistics, and computer science but very little instruction in ethical issues like privacy and systemic bias. Only half of the degree programs that we examined required coursework in ethics.

Why Data Is Important

Data science is a powerful tool. Responsible application requires knowledge and training. These results are consistent with previous research that showed little regard for ethics in science degree programs. This suggests that students in undergraduate data science programs might not have the skills and judgement to use science responsibly.

You can easily find examples of reckless data science use. A built-in bias in can cause a high level of police. Presence in neighbourhoods that are historically under-police. Another example is the U.S. healthcare system’s bias algorithms. That allow Black patients to receive lower care than those with similar needs.

Extensive training in ethical practices is a better way to prepare scientists who are socially responsible.

It Isn’t Yet Known What The Future Holds

Data science is still a new field, but guidelines exist to train undergraduate students in the discipline. These guidelines raise the question: What training can an undergraduate get?

The National Academies recommend that you receive training in 10 areas including communication, data management, and ethical problem solving.

Our research focused on undergraduate science programs at schools that are R1 (research-intensive). Further research could be done to examine the preparation and amount of training in data science at Masters and Ph.D. levels, as well as the nature of undergraduate scientist training at schools with different research levels.

There is a lot of opportunity to compare students’ training with employers’ expectations, as many data science programs are still new.

Next Data steps

We will expand our research by exploring the factors that could be driving curriculum development in degrees in other disciplines, which are experiencing similar job market growth.

Students Love Learning Real Modern Physics

  • September 12, 2021 at 6:38 am
Students Love Learning Real Modern Physics

Why is middle school students losing interest and enthusiasm for physics? What is Australia’s performance in science, technology engineering, mathematics STEM? The Einstein-First Project believes it has the answer. This is because the students online experience with science is completely at odds with the school curriculum.

National Science Week was my opportunity to speak to 650 students ranging in age from 5 to 11. I asked them if they’d heard of black holes. Minimum 80% of them raised their hands. What are the black holes in school curriculum? We don’t. Because 19th-century Physics is all about curved time and warped space, it’s impossible to talk about black holes.

Our students have made it abundantly clear that science school is not about old stuff. Modernizing the curriculum is essential. We need to replace 19th-century concepts by 21st century concepts and teach all students the language of modern Physics, beginning in primary school. Today we launch our book Teaching Einsteinian Physics in Schools. It’s design to lead a revolution in school science beginning at year 3.

Young Students Grasp Einsteinian Concepts

The conceptual revolution began with Einstein’s 1905 discoveries. The last steps, Einstein’s theory of gravity in 1915, and de Broglie’s 1924 discovery, that all matter has a combination of bulletiness and waviness (commonly known as wave particle duality), were fundamental in changing physicists’ ideas about space, time and radiation. These discoveries form the basis of almost all modern technology.

Ten years ago, I ask my colleagues, it possible for Einsteinian concepts to taught in primary school? They replied, No. First, you must learn Newton’s Physics! I was blunt in my response! I responded bluntly! It states that things can travel arbitrarily quickly and gravity travels instantly, time is constant everywhere, mass and energies are independent, and the universe works like clockwork.

Our initial trial taught Einsteinian Physics in a primary school. The most amazing thing about our initial trial was the fact that children did not seem to be surprise by the idea. They simply took it in stride. The trial was repeat eight times in various primary and secondary schools.

The students were taught that light is compose of photons with a combination of waviness, bulletiness, space curvature and geometry changes, and that there time on top of mountains. They were not surprise by any of this. It was a hit with the children. A teacher in year three said, By the end, they had master vocabulary and understood concepts that not normally taught until high school. It was hard to get them away from their activities. Surprisingly, they accepted concepts that teachers and adults find difficult.

It’s Easy To Learn By Doing And It’s Great Fun

Activity-based learning is a favourite with the children. They also love toys so toys are used whenever possible. Toy photons are created using Nerf gun bullets, pingpong balls as toy electrons, and toy molecules that are made from magnetic tennis balls and/or ping-pong ball. To increase the bulletiness of toy cars, we sometimes use them as photons. We also use objects with greater mass to increase their bulletiness (i.e. Momentum. These toys enable experiments such as the dissociation toy molecules by toy ultraviolet photons. This allows us to understand why UV light can cause DNA damage and skin cancer and why radio (and even 5G!) are so popular. Photons have less bulletiness, which makes them safer.

The explanatory power of Einsteinian Physics is immense, regardless of whether it’s at quantum interactions or gravity. Einsteinian gravity refers to space as elastic fabric. Our two-dimensional spacetime toy is made of lycra. You can easily measure the stretching of time and space by rolling different balls on the Lycra. As the video below illustrates, almost all gravitational phenomena are easy to observe.

These spacetime simulators are a favorite among students of all levels. They learn how photon trajectories can be deflected in curving space, how gravity gradient forces tear apart comets, and how orbits change their orientation (called precession). A year 7 teacher stated, It makes it easier to talk with students about interesting topics, such as the latest black hole discovery.

University Chopping Blocks Climate Change, Social Sciences

  • September 12, 2021 at 6:17 am
University Chopping Blocks Climate Change, Social Sciences

What are Australia’s three greatest challenges in the next five to ten years. How will social science help to solve these problems? These questions were asked by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in a discussion paper that was published earlier in the year. This review was prompted by cuts in social science disciplines across the country. Teaching takes precedence over research.

One Group of Eight university proposes to reduce the number of sociology and anthropology staff from nine to 1. The social sciences will see positions reclassified from research and teaching to teaching-only.

Research funding is also shifting to applied research. Federal government is looking for research that engages more with industry and can demonstrate its contribution to national interests.

Other long-term trends are also threatening. This confluence of funding cuts and revenue loss from international fee-paying students is a result of the combination of these two factors. In the 1980s successive federal governments have eroded the value of social sciences in comparison to science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This policy changes the purpose of Australian universities. It now aims to produce job-ready graduate, and places more emphasis on engagement with industry. Restructuring funding is seen as an investment in science. Social science students have seen their fees rise.

Social Science Expertise

This is all happening during a period of pandemics when the social sciences are more important than ever. It is vital that science and social sciences work together in order to meet the challenges we face.

To name just a few, the pandemic highlighted issues like attitudes and behaviour change, fake information and the politics in science, vulnerability of those in care, roles, responsibilities and gender disparities in the pandemic’s effects, as well as the role and responsibilities of government and citizens. Understanding the cultural and social diversity that underpins people’s beliefs and values, and how they interact in a global emergency is key to addressing these issues. Social scientists are responsible for this.

Gender analyses of COVID-19’s impacts have shown, for example:

  • Women are 22% more likely than men to lose their job.
  • 20 million girls in the world will never go back to school.
  • A paltry 23% target women’s economic security in emergency aid.

Because of systemic gender inequalities, these impacts will likely be lasting. To remedy these impacts, we must understand the context of social and cultural structures.

Social science research is what reveals the extent to which the pandemic has exacerbated the precarity of women and the inequality they face. Cultural norms around the globe limit women’s mobility and independence, and place them in unpaid care work. The hardest hit sectors, such as education, social care and care, are the most concentrated concentration of women.

The social sciences provide students with the tools to address complex problems in 21st-century society beyond the pandemic. The social sciences offer the ability to: Understanding the nature of individuals, communities, and cultures (the human condition).

Gain A Wide Comparative View

You will be able to see how the crises in this century have an impact on how you live. There are many fields of study, including sociology, anthropology and gender and race, Indigenous studies and political science. The sciences are directly applicable to many pressing issues. These include pandemics and vaccine hesitancy, climate change, race and gender relations; inequality and poverty, mass migration and refugees; and authoritarianism.

News events give us an insight into complex social phenomena. This requires science analysis. Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and March 4 Justice are just a few examples. The Federal Court victory for a group comprising teenagers, who means that the environment minister is responsible for protecting children from the harmful effects of carbon dioxide emissions.

Sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists have the evidence to help us apply solutions to global issues in local settings. We have the science to stop the spread of COVID-19, and we can create vaccines. How can we make the necessary social and behavioral changes to sanitation, vaccine uptake and mask-wearing? How do we turn science into policy?

Another example is that it’s one thing understanding climate science but how can we ensure people are aware of what they can do in their daily lives to make it better? Social scientists provide insight into the reasons why certain changes occur or not through expert analysis and translation.

Are You Job-Ready?

Social scientists are in high demand and have never been more so. Social scientists are found in the public and private sectors. They work in community and international development as well as refugee and humanitarian agencies. Social science graduates are valued by employers for their communication skills, analytical skills, cultural awareness, and effective communication. Arts, social sciences, and humanities graduates are much more employable than scientists.