Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reflections from the ICOTS Conference: The Collective Fight for Statistics ducation

Nicola's reflections on ICOTS-9

The ICOTS conference was full of delightful encounters with colleagues we respect and also dearly love. How fun to jump and dance in circles with Dani Ben-Zvi when he became excited that it was time to take a photo together! ICOTS also presented opportunities for going "deeper" with folks we may or may not have engaged with much with before. I feel particularly lucky to have discussed teaching with Sandy Madden for a couple hours; her thoughtful, research-based approach to teaching blew my mind!

A profound moment occurred for me during the panel session on GTA development. When Patti Frazer Lock and Kari Lock Morgan each referred to my talk from a few days earlier, I realized that our work is meaningful not only to us, but also to others. More importantly, it is encouraging to realize that there are other statistics educators interested in our work. In short, this reminded me that we are contributing to a collective fight for better statistics education. The key word is collective.

This illustrates my biggest take-away from ICOTS: we are not alone. ICOTS helps us realize there are other statistics education researchers who are working around the world: in assessment at the K–12 levels (e.g. the Florida LOCUS group); in creating innovative documents to inform K–12 education (e.g. the SET document writers); in grappling with their national standards for statistics, many of which are embedded in math and science (e.g. Jane Watson). And as the discipline grows, statistics educators all across the world (e.g. South Africa, England, and here at home...) are faced with challenges for teacher development.

As we engage in our statistics education endeavors, ICOTS is a great chance to remember that we are not alone. We have many collaborators who are also joining in the collective fight to improve statistics education around the world.

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