We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly important for young learners to have the skills to be able to interpret and use health data and, importantly, be able to question the integrity of the information around them, regardless of whether or not they become a data scientist. Further, on a population level we should be moving more and sitting less than most of us are currently. Our physical activity affects how we think, feel and act in all aspects of our life, from attainment in the classroom through to reducing our risk of various diseases.

The DataFit project aims to develop an innovative learning programme for schools that provides relevant lesson materials and activity devices, which are used to teach data literacy skills whilst simultaneously fostering more physically active lifestyles and meeting curriculum benchmarks. It is about empowering young people to identify user-driven solutions and opportunities to move more, and to become more educated about data use and security at the same time.

Subject experts from across the University of Edinburgh have been leading this innovative project since 2018. The core team includes Dr Samantha Fawkner (@s_fawkner; Physical Activity for Health Research Centre), Professor Judy Robertson (@JudyRobertsonU; Centre for Research in Digital Education), Dr Stephanie Adams (@StephAdams_EDI), Mrs Kate Farrell (@digitalkatie), and Mr Tommy Lawson (@_tommylawson), with further contributions from PhD student, Ms Chuchu Li, and visiting student, Mr Daniel Bellini.

Students and teachers/staff from several Midlothian schools including Newbattle Centre for Digital Excellence, Boroughmuir High School, and Gracemount Primary School, have actively contributed to the development and piloting of the portfolio of lesson plans and materials, through user-driven workshops and numerous consultations. Along the way we have learned a lot, and are excited by the enthusiasm students and teachers have had for the project from the very start. To find out more, follow this link to check out what we presented at a national conference!

What’s next? We are in the processing of finalising the initial lesson plans and materials, and putting them into an online portfolio so that teachers will be able to actively use them. We hope that as teachers use the programming in the classroom, they will continue to share their ideas on how we might improve the lessons and materials over time.

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