Big data is changing industries—health care, journalism, science, and manufacturing among them—at breakneck speed, and these rapid changes are challenging the U.S. education system to keep pace. We still have much to learn about the skills, knowledge, and habits that students will need to succeed in an increasingly data-heavy world.

EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) is committed to preparing students for success in a world where big data is central to decision making. To that end, ODI conducts research to better understand how humans make meaning from data, designs and tests science curricula that promote data literacy, and works with partners to identify the specific skills and knowledge needed for success in a big data-driven economy.

Key Activities

ODI advocates for data-rich instruction in the classroom and works to prepare students with relevant skills and knowledge. To accomplish this, ODI:

  • Facilitates conversations among educators, industry leaders, and policymakers to identify ways to promote more rigorous data instruction in grades K–16
  • Develops curriculum that supports authentic scientific inquiry using big data, such as the Ocean Tracks interface and EDC Earth Science
  • Conducts research to understand the challenges faced by learners confronted with increasingly sophisticated data and tools


Developed Profile of a Big Data-Enabled Specialist, the first-ever occupational profile on this topic.

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National Science Foundation, NASA

IBM; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Stanford University; University of California, San Diego