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Matthew commented on My Life By the Numbers

Joanne Beckwith, Jen Davenport and I prototyped this idea at The Teachers Guild's session at Steelcase last night.

Our idea was to create a sequence of activities that build toward answering the fundamental question of "What do you (I) value?"

The sequence would be to:
- identify 3 variables that the student wants to measure (books read, steps taken, Instagram likes, hours on Netflix, calories, etc.) which could include some prompted teacher suggestions
- the student would then set goals for those 3 values over a period of time (a month, a semester, etc.)
- the student would determine ways to collect data and (where possible) AUTOMATE data collection.  Examples of this could be using a fitbit or cheap pedometer, signing up for Goodreads, etc.
- after data collection has been completed, the students will organize their data ( a spreadsheet, a database) and considers metrics that could be useful (ratios, comparisons to self at different times periods, comparisons to peers, comparisons to global or community norms, etc.)
- next the students would create visualizations of their data (infographics, motion charts, etc.)
- finally the students would construct a narrative of their data experience with the central conflict of the narrative focusing on their effort to achieve their goals.  The narrative could consider the conflict between goals (want to read more, but spent more time on Netflix than planned) or the rising and falling action of working towards one's goals over time.

In the end, this project would help students to identify the variables in their lives that they value and understand how their own actions relate to their goals.  This may also help them to understand the difference between their intended values and their actual values.  Furthermore, students may come to understand how their personal values can be undermined by external measurements and audiences that provide them with feedback, criticism and validation.