In this episode, Selena and I embark on an enlightening journey through the complexities of data management beyond clinical data and data strategy implementation.

We delve into the crucial role of translating data insights into actionable strategies, emphasizing the significance of reaching the right audience and driving meaningful outcomes.

Selena’s expertise shines as she shares her innovative approach to data strategy, meticulously crafting plans tailored to organizations’ unique goals and maturity levels. From navigating data overload to empowering leaders with clarity, Selena’s insights offer invaluable guidance for harnessing the transformative power of strategic data utilization.

Additionally, we explore Selena’s passion project, the “Make Data Talk” podcast, where she aims to demystify data and foster confidence among leaders navigating its complexities.

Our conversation extends beyond borders, here are some of the key points:

  • Importance of translating data insights into actionable strategies
  • Focus on reaching the right audience and driving meaningful outcomes
  • Selena’s innovative approach to data strategy for businesses
  • Tailoring data plans to organizations’ goals and maturity levels
  • Addressing challenges of data overload and providing clarity for leaders
  • Overview of Selena’s “Make Data Talk” podcast and its mission
  • Advocacy for global data literacy initiatives
  • Application of data strategy principles in education for student success
  • Conclusion emphasizing the pivotal role of data strategy in our digital landscape

Selena has been enlightening, showcasing the power of data storytelling and its impact on various sectors, from education to corporate settings.

Now, it’s your turn to spread the knowledge! Share this episode with your friends and colleagues who could benefit from learning more about data literacy and how it can drive positive change.

Together, let’s empower more individuals and organizations to harness the power of data for a better future.

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Selena Fisk

Data Story Teller

She is a data storyteller who is passionate about helping others sort through the numbers to tell impactful data stories and lead positive change in their sphere of influence. She fiercely advocates for a world in which everyone is data-informed, not data-driven, recognizing that this isn’t a skill set everyone possesses or feels confident in.

As a data storyteller and grounded researcher, she is as enthusiastic about building data storytelling skills in others as she is about expanding her own understanding of how data can support individuals, organizations, and communities to flourish and thrive. For her, using data in a way that benefits others is paramount. She believes that almost nothing will accelerate the impact humans can have like being able to discern trends in the numbers and using this information alongside contextual understanding to inform decisions.

With the expansion of her business, from 2024, she will continue to deliver keynotes, work with the corporate/NFP sector, and run the Data Champions (schools) program. Her team of extraordinary presenters will continue to work one-on-one with schools, offering professional learning and development sessions and data storytelling training.

In 2022, she published her first corporate/NFP/life data book, “I’m not a numbers person: How to make good decisions in a data-rich world,” with Major Street Publishing, and released her ‘Talking Data’ card deck for meetings in 2023. Her podcast, ‘Make Data Talk,’ began in January 2024.

For educators, she has written three books, which have been published by Amba Press, and her online course is available for individuals and schools to purchase.


How To Leverage Data Beyond Medical Data?

[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to another episode of the Effective Statistician. And today I’m super happy to speak with someone that [00:00:10] literally sits on the other side of the world from my end. Hey, Selena, how are you doing? 

[00:00:16] Selena: Hey, Alex. Well, thank you. How are you? 

[00:00:19] Alexander: Very, [00:00:20] very good. We just had a brief chat before the we recorded and yeah, we have both a lot [00:00:30] of interest into data.

[00:00:32] Alexander: Tell me a little bit about your story. How did you actually get into data or you should say data, [00:00:40] which I think is really hilarious. 

[00:00:43] Selena: I know I was going to say that I was like, I apologize to all your listeners who are used to data. My data [00:00:50] journey started when I was in the UK and my former colleagues used to laugh at me how I said data.

[00:00:55] Selena: So when I lived in England, I did change my pronunciation to [00:01:00] data. And then when I moved back to Australia people wondered why I was pronouncing it like that. So Australia actually really sits on the fence. Some people are data, some people are [00:01:10] data. Anyway, so I apologize in advance. Sorry. My journey with data started when I was in the UK.

[00:01:16] Selena: So. I’m a secondary high [00:01:20] school teacher, actually, by training, and I’m a maths teacher, and I’m a sport teacher, like a physical activity or physical education teacher. So in Australia we have to train in [00:01:30] two areas, and maths, maths and sport were the two areas that I really enjoyed going through school, so I thought I’d give them a go.

[00:01:37] Selena: And I moved to the UK and [00:01:40] data had never been a part of my practice prior. To moving over there. And I went into a context where there was very clear annual KPIs for [00:01:50] myself as a middle manager. There were very clear expectations from my executive team about achieving those targets and there’s a fair bit of pressure put on me and [00:02:00] the members of my team to achieve them.

[00:02:02] Selena: There was a lot of things that I would argue were not particularly, Useful in the ways that data was used in that context. But what I could see [00:02:10] was the impact it was having on young people. And now in my work, you know, on clients more broadly. And so I guess my love of it and my ability to [00:02:20] start to predict results and use it in a way that really accelerated and enhanced the.

[00:02:25] Selena: impact on people was I guess where, where this all started [00:02:30] for me. And then I, yeah, I moved back to Australia and started my doctorate in, in the education space and yeah, have written a couple of books [00:02:40] and now work still a bit with schools, but also outside schools as well in how they can use data to really support their clients and the people that they aim to serve.

[00:02:49] Alexander: Yeah. And we’ll [00:02:50] get back to the school topic at the end of the podcast, which will be really, really interesting. So stay tuned for that one in [00:03:00] terms of organizational data, that is a big topic that we want to talk about today. When you work with, with clients, both for [00:03:10] profit and non for profit, what kind of organizational data do you help them with?

[00:03:18] Selena: Yeah, it’s a good question. [00:03:20] And I sometimes get asked by the people I work with what they should care about and I always put it back on them because the data that we care [00:03:30] about completely depends on the context on the vision and mission statement of the organization of the current economic [00:03:40] climate.

[00:03:40] Selena: And it changes within roles as well. So executives will care about different data to what middle managers would care about. And the data that employees [00:03:50] are using and responding to in their work might be different as well. And there’s sometimes overlap between those different groups. I guess my, I see my role [00:04:00] as being somebody who comes in and really helps them work out.

[00:04:03] Selena: Well, what do we care about? If I’m an employee in this company, what are the metrics that matter to me and to us [00:04:10] and our team? And how does, how does knowing those metrics help the overall organizational goals and aspirations of supporting the people that we’re working for? [00:04:20] 

[00:04:20] Alexander: So, for example one of the data things that I always worried about is capacity planning.

[00:04:28] Alexander: Yeah. So for, [00:04:30] for initially as an individual contributor for myself, you know, what are all the projects that are coming up? What are the timelines of [00:04:40] these? How much time do I think I need to, you know, work on these? Do I have, you know, too much on my plate or is there some buffer [00:04:50] in it? And then as a group leader, I was kind of thinking the same kind of, okay, how is that with my team?

[00:04:57] Alexander: And then as a leader of leaders, [00:05:00] I got even more concerned about this topic and I have seen lots of organizations struggle with this type of [00:05:10] data quite a lot. So it’s that, you know, it’s just Lots of different sources where this data is collected analyzed, stored, updated. [00:05:20] Is that something you kind of care about?

[00:05:24] Alexander: Is that a good example? 

[00:05:25] Selena: Yeah, that’s a great example, actually, because as an individual employee, [00:05:30] workflow and capacity is absolutely something that impacts my day to day work. But as you say, the leader of a team. They want to know more of those summary [00:05:40] statistics about where, you know, maybe it’s an overall capacity metric that represents each member of my team, but then as a, as a senior leader, and as you say, as a leader of the [00:05:50] leaders, it’s then which teams are working at capacity, overcapacity, undercapacity, and so it’s actually using the same data, but looking at it through a different [00:06:00] lens.

[00:06:00] Selena: And one of the things, and this is not a technical term whatsoever, but I talk about. helicopter view data, really like summary [00:06:10] statistics versus individual walking down the street data where you get really specific information about what’s going on. And I think about the employee being really concerned about [00:06:20] what those individual projects and activities that they’re doing and the time that each of those takes and the sequencing of that, the leader of those people.

[00:06:29] Selena: Might delve in [00:06:30] that, into that detail, but they’re not going to very often. They’re kind of going up in the helicopter and then the leader of the leaders, they’re not going to be worried about lag time and [00:06:40] the order of the sequencing of events. They’re looking more at that helicopter summary view.

[00:06:45] Selena: And then just from a, from an organizational perspective, it’s like, well, the leader of the [00:06:50] leaders, if they have those metrics, they’re useful and they give an idea of where people are at. But at the same time. If they want to know more about it, or they want [00:07:00] to investigate it further, they actually need to start to get down into those kind of smaller data points.

[00:07:05] Selena: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:07:06] Alexander: Yeah. So when you [00:07:10] speak to leaders, yeah you mentioned you do some corporate data diagnostic first. Mm hmm. What’s behind that? [00:07:20] 

[00:07:21] Selena: Yeah, so when I Talk to leaders about how and employees about how they use data in their worlds. I, I focus on [00:07:30] three main areas. So the first one’s data literacy. So we need people understanding the metrics to begin with, not being scared of the numbers and understanding also the strengths [00:07:40] and limitations of each of those data sets that they have.

[00:07:42] Selena: So my diagnostic, I built my diagnostic myself, and there’s eight questions on data literacy. And then the second piece [00:07:50] for me is around visualizations. What data visualizations do we have? What do we need to best represent the information that we’re looking at and to answer the questions we [00:08:00] have about the data?

[00:08:01] Selena: In some places, in some workplaces, that’s actually a matter of people being able to ask somebody else to develop those visualizations. In other places, they’re having to [00:08:10] create their own in smaller organizations. So there’s a couple of questions on that. But the goal is to get to the point of data storytelling because we need a good data literacy, we need to understand the [00:08:20] numbers, we need good visuals that help us see the trends and the insights, but it’s not until we engage in the data storytelling that we can actually make changes and use that [00:08:30] data to inform our work.

[00:08:32] Selena: So yeah, in my diagnostics, I have questions about that as well. And then there’s a lot of little pace around. You know, I, [00:08:40] my skills may not be great in, in the use of data, for example, but if my workplace is not providing time and support and they’re not actively trying to build my skill [00:08:50] that’s an important thing to know.

[00:08:51] Selena: So there are some questions about the organization, so it’s pretty interesting. It’s pretty interesting because we can, people can do it and it is, it’s free. It’s on my website. [00:09:00] I’m sure you can drop it into the show notes. Anybody can do it at any time. 

[00:09:03] Alexander: selenafisk.Com, very, very easy. 

[00:09:06] Selena: Yeah. Yep. But it’s interesting because we [00:09:10] can get de identified reports from that for the organization.

[00:09:12] Selena: So being able to go back to the organization and saying, and we say to them, this is where people are self reporting their skills. [00:09:20] In these areas. And this is what they’re saying about the organizational structures that are in place to support their learning. Yeah, it’s just, that gives them some really interesting data on the data.[00:09:30] 

[00:09:30] Alexander: That is cool. Yeah. I like these kind of meta data. So data literacy, data visualization and data storytelling. [00:09:40] When you speak about data visualization. As a second step, I guess that is about [00:09:50] exploring data, understanding data, these kind of interactive dashboards, these kind of things we are talking about, yeah?

[00:09:58] Selena: Yeah, a bit of the [00:10:00] interactive dashboards even as simple in some organizations as heat mapped spreadsheets. So being able to have data in tables that’s heat mapped that can [00:10:10] indicate a trend or an insight when, when we can, we know that, you know, the old saying a picture’s worth a thousand words, we know that we can see [00:10:20] trends and insights much more clearly in a visual if we’re given a good one.

[00:10:23] Selena: And it’s not too noisy, but I often use the example of say like cryptocurrency, you know, if I was to show you a Bitcoin. [00:10:30] Okay. Visual, I can get millions of data points into one visualization. We can really clearly see that trend over time. And so sometimes that comes in [00:10:40] dashboards that people buy that they develop themselves in a power bi Tableau Google Looker.

[00:10:45] Selena: Type solution or they’re building them in spreadsheets themselves. So it’s partly, [00:10:50] can you read them? Do you understand them? And this is where, this is where I tap into my grade nine maths teacher kind of vibe. Can you read a box and whisker plot? If you’re given one, [00:11:00] but also, Helping people understand what the best visualization options are for them rather than just them accepting the one that they’re [00:11:10] given or the one that’s just being created as the default by the dashboard.

[00:11:14] Alexander: Awesome. My typical listener understands completely what data literacy means [00:11:20] and Yeah. They also love kind of, usually these kind of dashboards Yeah. To look into use and, and, I guess in my industries, I’m probably mostly [00:11:30] based on R or maybe some in house resources like Spotfire, Tableau, ClickSense, or yeah, whatever the kind of [00:11:40] business intelligence solution of the company is I think most of my listeners would prefer to go to R.

[00:11:46] Alexander: Yeah. Maybe some SASS as well. That’s a [00:11:50] different story. In terms of data storytelling, what is that term for you? Yeah. 

[00:11:57] Selena: So I guess I [00:12:00] just wanted, before I answer that Alex, I just wanted to kind of say sometimes, sometimes I work with data. People like your network because the things that they tell me is that [00:12:10] they’re frustrated that they’re producing great dashboards or they’re developing reports or summaries for people in the organization and they get really frustrated because they feel it’s not being used all [00:12:20] that well.

[00:12:20] Selena: And then at other times I work with people in the organization who are frustrated by the dashboards that all the reports they’re being given because they don’t understand them. So [00:12:30] sometimes my work is bringing those two groups of people together And getting them to bang their heads together and go, well, what do you actually need?

[00:12:37] Selena: What can I do for you? And let’s have a conversation [00:12:40] about that. But in terms of the data storytelling question, there’s I love the work of Brent Dykes in America. He, his work in, in effective data storytelling, [00:12:50] he’s he’s a real trail trailblazer in this space. And he has some really great.

[00:12:55] Selena: Strategies for telling a data story to an audience. And so there are times [00:13:00] where we have to get up and we have to sell the data story. To an audience. So an example of that is I was working with an SEO company [00:13:10] a couple of months ago. They are, their data literacy is great. They have brilliant visualization tools.

[00:13:16] Selena: I went in because they said, we don’t feel like we’re [00:13:20] telling very effective data stories to our clients who are paying us. For SEO services, so we want to be able to convey the impacts that we’re having for them and not have them [00:13:30] question whether they’re spending too much money or whether the investment is worthwhile.

[00:13:34] Selena: So there is that piece about data storytelling and yeah, but I guess for me, I [00:13:40] do that type of work and I focus on data storytelling. When I’m sitting at my computer by myself, looking at the [00:13:50] analytics for my, in my role that are important or looking across my team or an executive looking across multiple teams.

[00:13:57] Selena: And so for me, it’s [00:14:00] how are we decoding for how we decoding that process of having the visual. Having a good data literacy and, and how will we transforming [00:14:10] that into action and how that informs my next steps as an employee or a manager. Yeah, so 

[00:14:16] Alexander: who doesn’t know SEO stands for search engine [00:14:20] optimization.

[00:14:20] Alexander: So basically make everything you do online, Google friendly. 

[00:14:26] Selena: Yeah, yeah. And to get, to get the right number of clicks [00:14:30] and to get the right audience coming to your page and to get people buying from you. Yeah. They, they were dealing with a lot of small businesses, small to medium sized businesses retailers online.[00:14:40] 

[00:14:40] Alexander: And is this so, so important, that last step. Yeah, you can have the greatest data, you can have the [00:14:50] best way to analyze it, the greatest insights, but if you can’t get your stakeholders to understand [00:15:00] them, to get them, to make meaningful decisions from them, All of these previous work is, is pretty much wasted, you know, and I think this is [00:15:10] where clients pay you to make sure that, you know, they can transform the value and this is It is so strikingly [00:15:20] similar to my area, you know, where where there’s exactly the same struggle.

[00:15:25] Selena: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s just, I often joke, you know, [00:15:30] nobody finds me and says, Selina, we need some more data. Can you help us find some? It’s, it’s the opposite. People have too much. They’re overwhelmed [00:15:40] by it. And they’re not necessarily a hundred percent sure about how to use it. So. Yeah, that’s I guess where I would like to think I come in.

[00:15:47] Alexander: That is a good way to think about it. You [00:15:50] know, we all kind of. We have so much data at hand, yeah, and if we bring in the different departments, especially also the IT [00:16:00] departments, and you know, it’s easy to kind of collect endless amounts of data from all kinds of different areas. So in your, on your [00:16:10] homepage, you speak about data strategy.

[00:16:13] Alexander: What’s that? What does that mean to you? Data strategy? Data strategy. 

[00:16:19] Selena: So I guess it’s [00:16:20] it’s working through the levels of data maturity in some ways for the organization, but it’s coming up with a definitive plan with the [00:16:30] leaders so that what they’re doing and how and what they’re collecting, how they’re collecting it, how they’re visualizing it, all of that to make sure that it actually really serves them and they’re doing it in a way [00:16:40] that is manageable.

[00:16:41] Selena: So what we know is that. All of these different data sets are just being introduced and added. Like Google [00:16:50] Analytics, for example, you think about what that started off as and how big it has now become. All of the visualizations and all of the data would be useful for [00:17:00] someone somewhere. But oftentimes the leaders that I work with haven’t had a chance to kind of zoom out and think, okay, we’ll actually.

[00:17:09] Selena: What do [00:17:10] we value? What aligns with our goals? What is going to give us a really good indication of whether or not we are being successful? How are we coming back and looping around to see [00:17:20] whether or not what we have tried has had an impact? And so it’s actually getting some of that into place and nutted out.

[00:17:27] Selena: So for me, [00:17:30] oftentimes that looks like a data audit. Of what is already in place, what already exists to identify possible gaps. But also there’s an element of my work that ends up being [00:17:40] de implementation. Executives kind of realize that they’re actually collecting a lot more information than they actually need.

[00:17:46] Selena: And so there’s an element of what can we start to remove. [00:17:50] Because we don’t need it all, we’re not using it very well. So there’s a data audit, there’s a data policy there’s a lot of organizations, I don’t know whether this is true for you in your work, but in Australia a [00:18:00] lot of organizations don’t have a data policy.

[00:18:04] Selena: That includes things like safety, security, rationale there are I. T. [00:18:10] agreements in place. So, for some clients, I work with them to write a policy about how it’s used, who it’s used by, at what interval, where it’s, yeah, all the data [00:18:20] governance type. Work as well. But then I guess coming to an operational point of view, one of the things that I do in data strategy is really looking at [00:18:30] writing a data plan.

[00:18:30] Selena: So we were saying before that really good example of capacity. A data plan outlined some of that. So if I’m an employee sitting in this team, in a perfect [00:18:40] world, I would have a section of a data plan that actually informs me about what the expectations are to work in this organization and be in this team, about what data I should be paying attention to, [00:18:50] what the expectations are for me about what I’m looking for in that data and what I should be tracking, and then some expectations around how that data might be used to inform my work.

[00:18:59] Selena: And I [00:19:00] guess the reason why data plans in Australia anyway, are really taking off. There, a lot of organizations are writing them because the problem we have is we have all this data and we have [00:19:10] people saying, well, I know I should be using it. People keep telling me I have to when I can see the value in it, but I don’t know where to start.

[00:19:17] Selena: And so a data plan helps [00:19:20] provide that clarity for people. And also helps them see how their piece of that capacity data fits into their leaders and then the next [00:19:30] level of leadership as well.

[00:19:32] Alexander: I love how you speak about this from a strategic point of view. That’s also how I teach. Strategy in terms of [00:19:40] starting with a diagnosis, asking the question, what’s going on here?

[00:19:45] Alexander: Yeah. So what data do we have? What goals do we have [00:19:50] and how do they work together? And then go through a couple of different strategic pillars like data governance, like strategy. Thank you. [00:20:00] How, what are the kind of systems that we use and that we don’t use or that we need to build? The next thing is kind of data literacy.

[00:20:09] Alexander: How do [00:20:10] we display data? How do we communicate data? And so these are the different strategic kind of pillars to look into. And then making an actionable [00:20:20] plan. Where actually lots of strategy discussions fall flat on. Yes, they have big vision and lots of goals, yet they [00:20:30] lack a tactical plan to move forward.

[00:20:32] Alexander: And that’s where the rubber hits the road. You need some kind of, okay, now we focus on this and then do [00:20:40] that and things like this. I very much love this this approach. Awesome. 

[00:20:45] Selena: Yeah. It’s it’s interesting. And when I work with executives and they, I [00:20:50] often encourage executives to draft the plan for, for the organization.

[00:20:54] Selena: And you know, what do you think your HR team rely on? What do you think your finance team rely on? [00:21:00] And, and what do you think your sales and your marketing team work with? And then I encourage them to actually go back to those people and, and Get them to essentially edit the [00:21:10] draft and inevitably there’s always feedback that comes back where the executives actually don’t know all of the different data sets that people are using and relying on and how they’re being [00:21:20] used.

[00:21:20] Selena: So I think it’s actually good for everybody to be involved and it’s good for the leaders to see what’s actually happening day to day in their employees worlds. 

[00:21:29] Alexander: That is [00:21:30] cool. Yep. Yep. And you now have a new podcast. So we just talked about it, that it’s, it’s [00:21:40] really getting off. And you’re getting into a habit of producing it regularly and publishing it.

[00:21:47] Alexander: And there’s really, really great [00:21:50] traction in terms of that. Tell me a little bit more about this podcast. 

[00:21:54] Selena: Yeah, so it’s called make data talk. I actually really struggled with the, the, [00:22:00] the title of the podcast because I, I, I was going to call it talking data and then somebody told me it was going to sound a bit too statsy and it would scare people away.

[00:22:09] Selena: So yeah, [00:22:10] we won’t talk about the name of your podcast, Alex, but

[00:22:13] Alexander: well, my target audience are statisticians. So it should be statsy. 

[00:22:18] Selena: Exactly. [00:22:20] You know, you know, your market very well. For me, it is about. bridging the gap. So my podcast is for people probably not like your listeners, but feel free, you know, I’m, I’m, [00:22:30] I’m always up for more listens in Europe.

[00:22:31] Selena: I see the data. But it’s more so for people, I guess, who are trying to maybe use data or there’s an expectation that they’re using it and engaging with it in their [00:22:40] role, but they don’t feel very confident. So a lot of people in leadership roles now are being expected to use data, but haven’t necessarily had any formal training in it.

[00:22:48] Selena: So some of the [00:22:50] frustration that some of your listeners might have about people not using the reports and the dashboards all that well, for many people comes down to the fact that they just haven’t had experience. They haven’t been shown [00:23:00] how. And so, yeah, I guess I’m just trying to. Make some of those concepts around the use of data easy to digest.

[00:23:06] Selena: And they’re in small kind of manageable chunks of 12 to 15 minutes. [00:23:10] I was talking to somebody yesterday and she said she went and shared one of the episodes with her team. And then they used it at the beginning of a meeting as a bit of a conversation starter. So yeah, it’s just getting [00:23:20] people in a perfect world.

[00:23:21] Selena: I just. I just would love less people to be scared of data or to hate it, because there’s so much power in it and [00:23:30] it can be so helpful. Yeah. Sometimes it yeah, it has a better data has a bit of a PR problem. Sometimes. 

[00:23:37] Alexander: Oh, statistics has [00:23:40] definitely a PR problem. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. You probably heard about this as well.

[00:23:48] Alexander: Yes. [00:23:50] Absolutely. Lots of us are. Quotes. Yeah. So I’m pretty sure it’s a great idea for people to [00:24:00] share your podcast to those who are not statisticians so that people get a little bit more aware about how [00:24:10] data can be used, what are kind of things that And of course, it’s a great conversation starter also for anyone listening [00:24:20] and who is a statistician and who would really love to do more about data literacy training and do more, you know, even beyond [00:24:30] medical data that we all work on all day.

[00:24:35] Alexander: Now there’s one last thing that I wanted to talk about with you, and I said [00:24:40] that already at the beginning, so let’s close the loop and talk a little bit about schools. Well give you a background. Obviously, schools [00:24:50] is really important, and you hope. schools with in terms of data as well. So what do you do there?[00:25:00] 

[00:25:00] Alexander: By the way, besides writing a couple of different books that we’ll also link to in the show notes. 

[00:25:08] Selena: Awesome. Thank you. So [00:25:10] with schools, I mean, I do pretty much everything I’ve said so far in the podcast. I do with schools as well. So work with schools around their strategy [00:25:20] and middle leadership and, and then with teachers as well.

[00:25:25] Selena: One of the things that schools have a real I guess, capacity to do is like action [00:25:30] research. Have a hypothesis, look at the data, identify a gap, take that hypothesis test it, and then think about, well, if there is a gap there, what can I do to fill the gap? And what [00:25:40] can I, what can I kind of do in my classroom?

[00:25:42] Selena: So it’s a, it’s a lovely place to play in some ways because it’s not as black and white. As just the [00:25:50] numbers because we’re dealing with complex systems and complex human beings, but it’s things like being able to say that a particular class is struggling with an element of their [00:26:00] writing. And if the teacher can see.

[00:26:03] Selena: that they’re really struggling, say with cohesion, the data that’s coming out is saying they’re struggling with cohesion. The teachers then starting to [00:26:10] think about, well, how do I teach better? How do I teach cohesive devices? What are some activities that I could be running in my classroom? How can I build their skill in that in [00:26:20] cohesion?

[00:26:20] Selena: And then looping back at the end is once I’ve done that, how do I know whether it’s had an impact? And I just, I, I love the work. This is kind of how I got into it in the first place, but [00:26:30] it’s it’s really. Awesome to be able to see kids experience success because the teachers meeting of them at their point of [00:26:40] need in a, in a traditional education model, we basically taught the same thing.

[00:26:43] Selena: We taught to the middle. And you sat and listened and conformed or, you know, [00:26:50] you didn’t, whereas now education is so much broader and more specific and there is so much variation in how we teach and what we teach to different groups [00:27:00] and even having subgroups in the same classroom working on different topics.

[00:27:03] Selena: activities. It’s awesome because it’s meeting students at their point of need in a, in a way that is far better than what we did before, [00:27:10] but obviously you need really good data to inform those kinds of groupings to be able to put them in the right place. So yeah, action research projects are a good way of doing that, but just generally people [00:27:20] using data to help students achieve their goals and help move them forward is pretty awesome.

[00:27:25] Alexander: And you have developed a system so that you [00:27:30] can work with. in a more kind of beyond one to ones, but more kind of on a, on a system level. Tell us a little bit more about the system [00:27:40] level for schools. 

[00:27:41] Selena: Yeah. So systems in Australia generally have their own strategic plan for the entire system. And then all of the schools within the [00:27:50] system are informed by that global strategic plan.

[00:27:52] Selena: So their goals need to be aligned often with the strategic plans. But then schools are sometimes in this [00:28:00] tension between what do my, our students need and what are the gaps here, but then what does the system want us to do? And so again, it’s being able to build capacity in the leaders to kind of know [00:28:10] their data really well, to be able to work out where it aligns and what they, what they kind of need to collect.

[00:28:15] Selena: So yeah, I often am working. with people in a room from [00:28:20] multiple schools multiple different sites, which is really good because teachers don’t get, and leaders don’t get a lot of opportunity to speak to people outside of their [00:28:30] school or across different networks. So it is good to be able to do that, to get them in the room, because the good people doing great work, you know, being able to share the wisdom [00:28:40] is, is really important.

[00:28:41] Selena: So that’s, yeah, it’s quite nice. And I’m now lucky that my practice is big enough and busy enough that. I have a couple of casual presenters, so I [00:28:50] have other people working for me and they do the one on one schools work largely for me now. Yeah, 

[00:28:56] Alexander: cool. And so before we hit [00:29:00] record, Selena and myself talked about this and I said, this is pretty cool.

[00:29:07] Alexander: And I would love to [00:29:10] bring that to you. Also, non English speaking countries, well, of course, also the English speaking countries. So if you’re somewhere in [00:29:20] the US or UK and you want to learn more about that, then of course that’s great as well. And if you are in Spain or [00:29:30] in Brazil or in China or in Japan or in Germany or France or Italy or whatever, and I know some people from Italy [00:29:40] listening please get back to Selena and myself. Because we want to leverage Selena’s work, not just in English speaking [00:29:50] countries, but also beyond. So just go to the homepage, yeah, and send an email to Selina or [00:30:00] myself, alexander at the effective statistician or selina at selina fisk. Thank you. And then we can kind of collect a [00:30:10] group of people that help with implementing this globally.

[00:30:15] Alexander: You know, so that we bring, you know, data [00:30:20] literacy to see different school systems that we improve things there. I think this is really, really needed a lot more so [00:30:30] that people can later also make better healthcare related data decisions. Well, of course, data in all different [00:30:40] aspects, but I do really care a lot about health care related data.

[00:30:45] Alexander: And my vision is to make sure that people [00:30:50] have the right evidence to make the right decisions in terms of their health care. And of course, that also includes that they have some knowledge [00:31:00] about health care. school systems can see kind of how data can help them, then that is also a way to get into [00:31:10] schools that say, do more about data literacy.

[00:31:13] Alexander: Because I know that this is still a pretty big gap and very [00:31:20] often kind of a niche topic within schools, yet we live in such a data rich world, and I kind of find this a little bit frustrating. Although, I love when my [00:31:30] kids do sports as well, but a little bit more data topics would be really, really good.

[00:31:36] Selena: There’s lots of, there’s lots of data in sports, don’t you worry. 

[00:31:39] Selena: [00:31:40] I know, I know, I know. 

[00:31:43] Selena: Yeah, just shout out to the Moneyball movie, I love that so 

[00:31:47] Selena: much. 

[00:31:48] Alexander: Yeah, I love it, I love it. [00:31:50] If you haven’t seen seen it as a listener, I can highly recommend it. It’s, it’s it, there’s lots of knowledge to take from in terms of [00:32:00] how you as a, as a data person can get to a huge influence and in that case actually [00:32:10] completely transform a sports, kind of a baseball.

[00:32:14] Selena: Yeah. Okay. 

[00:32:17] Alexander: Thanks so much Celina, that was a great [00:32:20] discussion starting from the school system in the UK over to how we can increase data literacy, data visualization skills, data [00:32:30] storytelling skills within organizations, how we can better get to a strategic approach on data in organizations, both. [00:32:40] For profit and not for profit.

[00:32:42] Alexander: We talked about your new podcast which we’ll definitely link to in the show notes and ultimately about [00:32:50] your approach to helping schools make better use of data. Thanks so much for, for that and have a great time. [00:33:00] 

[00:33:00] Selena: Thanks, Alex. Thanks for having me.

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I want to help the community of statisticians, data scientists, programmers and other quantitative scientists to be more influential, innovative, and effective. I believe that as a community we can help our research, our regulatory and payer systems, and ultimately physicians and patients take better decisions based on better evidence.

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