Monday, September 23, 2013

SRTL-8: Great Discussions by a Great Lake

Great statistics education thinkers from around the world came to sleepy Two Harbors, Minnesota for a week of discussion, debate, and reflection on the great issues in our field. The theme of the Eighth Forum of the International Collaboration for Research on Statistical Reasoning Thinking and Literacy (SRTL-8) was: Reasoning about uncertainty in the context of making informal statistical inferences. Our explorations of students' reasoning about uncertainty included many videos of students working through problems, and we explored the process of informal inferences qualitatively and quantitatively among K–12 and undergraduate students and teachers.
Twenty-four international delegates attended the week-long event from nine countries across the globe: Australia, Colombia, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Forum provided the group of scholars with an opportunity for dedicated discussion and debate of the theme, stimulated by in-depth presentations and informal sharing of projects. A distinctive feature of SRTL's format is the emphasis on reflection and group discussion: a conference on student learning that is set up to foster deeper participant engagement and open-ended exploration than is usually available at lecture-oriented conferences.
Follow-up events are to include a book based on the scientific program, published through Catalyst Press, informal gatherings at other upcoming statistics education meetings, and ongoing research collaborations among many of the delegates. Plans are already underway for the next meeting (SRTL-9) in Germany in 2015.
The Forum was sponsored by The University of Minnesota, the Statistics Education Section of the American Statistical Association, Springer Publications, and Alakef Coffee Roasters.
Joan Garfield and Elizabeth Fry from The University of Minnesota led the local planning and organizing prior to the SRTL-8 gathering, supported by Bob delMas (University of Minnesota) and Dani Ben-Zvi (University of Haifa, Israel), who ensured that the forum ran smoothly. Thanks to the efforts of the local organizers, participants were able to not only enjoy each other’s creative efforts during the scientific program but also to appreciate the local culture and natural beauty of Minnesota’s north shore!

For further information please contact the SRTL co-chairs:
Joan Garfield,
Dani Ben-Zvi,

Scientific Program

George CobbStatistician's address: Reasoning about uncertainty: why our tensions are essential
Cliff KonoldUsing data and chance to make conclusions
Hana Manor Braham, Dani Ben-ZviStudents' reasoning about uncertainty while exploring sampling distributions in an "Integrated Approach"
Arthur Bakker, Dani Ben-Zvi, Katie MakarReducing uncertainty in a hospital laboratory: A vocational student's web of reasons and actions involved in making a statistical inference
Janet Ainley, Dani Ben-Zvi, Hana Manor Braham, Dave Pratt:Children's expressions of uncertainty in statistical modelling
Rob GouldTeaching data handling
Rolf Biehler, Daniel Frischemeier, Susanne PodwornyPreservice teachers' reasoning about uncertainty in the context of randomization tests
Luca ZapataPromoting the development of teachers' ideas of uncertainty
Sandra MaddenConstructing simulations and interrogating empirical sampling distributions supports teachers' reasoning in the presence of uncertainty
Pip Arnold, Stephanie Budgett, Maxine PfannkuchExperiment-to-causation inference: The emergence of new considerations regarding uncertainty
Robert delMas & Ethan BrownStudents' emerging reasoning with uncertainty in a randomization-based first course in statistics at the tertiary level
Jennifer NollFacilitating students' Reasoning about uncertainty in the context of making informal inferences: the role of curriculum and technology
Jill Fielding-Wells, Katie MakarInferring to a model: Using inquiry-based argumentation to challenge young children's expectations of equally likely outcomes
Sibel Kazak"How confident are you?" Supporting young students' reasoning about uncertainty in chance games through students' talk and computer simulations

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Free Book—Statistical Thinking: A Simulation Approach to Modeling Uncertainty

(cross-posted from Citizen Statistician)

Catalyst Press has just released the second edition of the book Statistical Thinking: A Simulation Approach to Modeling Uncertainty. The material in the book is based on work related to the NSF-funded CATALST Project (DUE-0814433). It makes exclusive use of simulation to carry out inferential analyses. The material also builds on best practices and materials developed in statistics education, research and theory from cognitive science, as well as materials and methods that are successfully achieving parallel goals in other disciplines (e.g., mathematics and engineering education).

The materials in the book help students:
  • Build a foundation for statistical thinking through immersion in real world problems and data
  • Develop an appreciation for the use of data as evidence
  • Use simulation to address questions involving statistical inference including randomization tests and bootstrap intervals
  • Model and simulate data using TinkerPlots™ software
Why a cook on a statistics book? It is symbolic of a metaphor introduced by Alan Schoenfeld (1998) that posits many introductory (statistics) classes teach students how to follow “recipes”, but not how to really “cook.” That is, even if students leave a class able to perform routine procedures and tests, they do not have the big picture of the statistical process that will allow them to solve unfamiliar problems and to articulate and apply their understanding. Someone who knows how to cook knows the essential things to look for and focus on, and how to make adjustments on the fly. The materials in this book were intended to help teach students to “cook” (i.e., do statistics and think statistically).

The book is licensed under Creative Commons and is freely available on gitHub. If physical copies of the book are preferred, those are available for $45 at CreateSpace (or Amazon) in full color. All royalties from the book are donated to the Educational Psychology department at the University of Minnesota.