Shubhada Dayal Basuray is an Engineer and MBA with 20 years of experience across industries and functions. She is the founder of Brainologi, an educational technology firm that works in early education. Brainologi has created a step-by-step, self-learning book+ app combination for 5-12-year-old that aims at building a child’s inner capacity beyond the school curriculum.
Real life does not come with an instruction manual. As parents and teachers, our job is to prepare our children for real life. To give them the ability to think through and to solve problems that do not have straight answers. For that, we must teach our children to look at a problem from different sides, much like playing with a Rubik’s cube.
A child is born with more than enough brain cells to be successful. More than 100 billion! It is not the number of brain cells that determines usable intelligence, it is the number of connections that are made between those brain cells. And these connections are formed by different experiences and thoughts that you give to your child. Be it games, visits, conversations, experiences, activities, loving attention, or books.
We see the transformation all around. And the speed at which it is happening. Tasks that were being done by people are being increasingly done by machines. The way we work the way we live is changing. But what does this mean for your child when he/ she grows up and starts working? How will the same job be different for him/ her? One of the big differences will be in the ability to work with data. Standard roles let us say marketing or sales are becoming data oriented. To do their job effectively, they will be required to look at large amounts of data, understand how it is being collected, what information and patterns it shows, and how to use it for their work. The term for this skill is called Data Literacy- the ability to understand, analyse and use data. And this skill is expected to be one of the top skills in demand in the future.
And so, it is only right that we teach our children to become comfortable working with data. So, what are these skills exactly? No, it is not just about statistics and graphs although that is a part of the skill. Data Literacy is something more fundamental. It starts with the ability to ask the right questions. The world is full of information. And it is getting worse. The kids will need to be able to decide which data or information is useful, what does it mean, and what kind of actions can I take? And this is the point at which basic information turns into something more powerful. When information becomes intelligence. Something on which we can act.
And for kids born in the digital era, this is already being tested. At the kindergarten level itself, children are being taught fundamental skills such as sorting and classifying.
Even for a child, there is information all around. Monitor your screen time for a week and decide the next action? Record how much junk food was consumed in a month and decide the goal for the coming month? The example below shows a decision we take in daily life. Which route to take based on traffic predictions. So, teach your child to think about data and you will have inculcated a future-ready skill.