Even though working with data is as important as coding for understanding and dealing with complex problems across multiple fields, it has received very little attention in the context of Computational Thinking. This paper discusses an approach for bridging the gap between Computational Thinking with Data Science by employing and studying classification as a higher-order thinking process that connects the two. To achieve that, we designed and developed an online constructionist gaming tool called SorBET which integrates coding and database design enabling students to interpret, organize, and analyze data through game play and game design. The paper presents and discusses the results of a pilot study that aimed to investigate the data practices secondary students develop through playing and modifying SorBET games, and to determine the impact of game modding on student critical engagement with CT. According to the results, students developed and used certain data practices such as data interpretation and data model design to become better players or to design an interesting classification game. Moreover, game modding process motivated students to question the original games’ content, leading them to develop a critical stance towards the game data model and representations.
With the development of technology allowing for a rapid expansion of data science and machine learning in our everyday lives, a significant gap is forming in the global job market where the demand for qualified workers in these fields cannot be properly satisfied. This worrying trend calls for an immediate action in education, where these skills must be taught to students at all levels in an efficient and up-to-date manner. This paper gives an overview of the current state of data science and machine learning education globally and both at the high school and university levels, while outlining some illustrative and positive examples. Special focus is given to vocational education and training (VET), where the teaching of these skills is at its very beginning. Also presented and analysed are survey results concerning VET students in Slovenia, Serbia, and North Macedonia, and their knowledge, interests, and prerequisites regarding data science and machine learning. These results confirm the need for development of efficient and accessible curricula and courses on these subjects in vocational schools.