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UEW and U.S. Researchers Secure NASA Grant for Innovative Education Project

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Published: Wed, 12/13/2023 - 17:30

Two distinguished scholars from the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Prof. Sakina Acquah and Dr. Benedict Arko, have joined forces with renowned researchers from the United States, Dr. Alvitta Ottley, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), and Amanda Makulec, an Independent Consultant. Together, they have been awarded a prestigious grant by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through the Gordon Research Conferences.

The grant, titled “Comparing Self-Assessed and Applied Competencies to Inform Building K–12 Educator Data Literacy," marks a significant milestone in cross-continental collaboration and underscores the global importance of advancing education in the digital age.

The 12-month project spearheaded by this diverse team of researchers aims to assess and enhance data and visualisation literacy among pre-service and early career educators. The study will delve into the evaluation of educators' overall data literacy, graphicacy, and practical capabilities in interpreting visual information.

What sets this project apart is its multicultural approach, reaching across borders to survey teachers in both Ghana and the USA. This approach seeks to unravel the potential cultural determinants influencing educators' abilities to comprehend, interpret, and critically evaluate visualisations. By combining perspectives from two distinct educational landscapes, the researchers hope to gain comprehensive insights that can inform tailored strategies for improving data literacy globally.

Prof. Sakina Acquah, speaking on behalf of the UEW team, expressed excitement about the collaborative effort and its potential impact on education. She stated, "This project is a testament to the power of international collaboration in addressing crucial challenges in education. By understanding the cultural nuances affecting data literacy, we can tailor educational programmes to bridge gaps and empower educators worldwide."

The project's findings are expected to provide a roadmap for developing effective training programmes for pre-service and early career teachers. These programmes aim to equip educators with the skills necessary to teach data and graphical literacy to their students effectively. Ultimately, the researchers believe that enhancing educators' capabilities will contribute to fostering a more informed and engaged citizenry capable of making better data-led decisions.

As the project commences, the UEW scholars and their U.S. counterparts are set to embark on a journey that has the potential to reshape the landscape of data literacy in education, transcending geographical boundaries for the benefit of educators and students around the world.

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