Report

  • The use of computer assisted instruction in teaching statistical concepts was studied. Students enrolled in classes in education who lacked statistical experience participated. Knowledge questions for pretest and posttest assessments were prepared from a pool of questions used in the statistics department of the College of Education at Virginia Tech. Software modules for this pilot study were created through computer software applications and implemented in a Windows 3.1 environment. Central limit theory was the concept presented, and it was presented in one of three different computer-mediated ways: (1) text, graphics, plus static interaction (TGS); (2) text, graphics, plus animated interaction (TGA); and (3) text, graphics, plus passive video (TGPV). Because the investigation was a pilot study to support further investigation, analyses were not developed in depth. Gains in knowledge were found, however. Participants were less enthusiastic about TGS than the other presentations, with TGA appealing to most. Issues for further study are discussed. (Contains 16 references.) (SLD)

  • In everyday teaching, the mathematical meaning of new knowledge is frequently devalued during the course of ritualized formats of communication, such as the "funnel pattern", and is replaced by social conventions. Problems of understanding occurring during the interactively organized elaboration of the new knowledge require an analysis of the interplay between the social constraints of the communicative process and the epistemological structure of the mathematical knowledge. Specific aspects of the problem of meaning development are investigated in the course of two exemplary second-grade teaching episodes. These are then used to develop and discuss decisive requirements for the maintenance of an interactive constitution of meaning for mathematical knowledge. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

  • Several aspects of interview research heretofore receiving little attention are discussed. A brief description of the different types of interview formats and levels of analysis is presented. Following a discussion of the problem of analyzing protocol data, some suggestions are offered about analysis procedures that derive from constructionist assumtions. A model is offered of the interview which describes its role in hypothesis formulation and hypothesis testing. Views on how the interview can be used in combination with other research methods to investigate problem solving are discussed. Finally, how interview research is currently being reported is examined, and recommendations concerning the types of information necessary for inclusion in such reports are offered. Suggestions are aimed at encouraging the researcher to remain skeptical of interpetations of protocol data, and to report the results of interview research fitting specific criticism from the research community. ERIC RIE #ED-204 400.

  • The study provides: (1) a rationale for using microcomputer spreadsheet programs as teaching tools in applied statistics courses; (2) examples of one spreadsheet template--Analysis of Variance; (3) corresponding workbook exercises for the ANOVA template; and (4) results and discussion of how the exercises are used in an introductory statistics class. Twelve templates covered topics ranging from descriptive statistics to multiple regression, and a workbook provided problem sets for the microcomputer spreadsheet program. During the summer of 1987, two graduate-level introductory research methods and statistics classes pilot-tested and evaluated the templates and workbook. The templates and workbook were revised during fall 1987 based on student and instructor evaluations. The templates will be retested and reevaluated at the end of the spring 1988 semester. (Author)

  • One of the most common misconceptions about probability is the belief that successive outcomes of a random process are not independent. This belief has been dubbed the "gambler's fallacy". The belief that non-normative expectations such as the gambler's fallacy are widely held has inspired probability and statistics instruction that attempts to counter such beliefs. This study presents an investigation of student performance pre and post instruction on problems dealing with these kinds of statistical misconceptions. Instruction consisted of 10 laboratory sessions, 1.5 hours each, delivered to 16 high school students attending a summer mathematics program at Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts). The instruction included computer simulations that were intended to provide students with sufficient data to refute expectations based on the representativeness heuristic, as well as other misconceptions about chance. Student performance suggests that a belief in representativeness may not be as widespread as thought, and that curriculum development aimed at countering this belief should proceed cautiously. In addition, student who apparently do not have a well-developed understanding of independence in random sampling may nevertheless answer such problems correctly based on reasoning that is fundamentally non-probabilistic. Thus, many items currently being used to assess conceptual development may be insensitive to certain misconceptions about probability. Student misconceptions about probability need to be better understood if more appropirate mathematics instruction is to be achieved. (KR)

  • Discussed is the design, development, and evaluation of a self-paced college program in statistics which used computer assisted instruction. The program permitted a great deal of individual attention to weak students and freed the strong student to whip through the acquisition of the tools necessary to plan and conduct research. (RM)

  • The recording of the interaction between pupil and computer is one of the data sources frequently used in research on the use of computers in teaching. Describes the analysis methodology of these recordings to determine the use of computers in statistics and its adaptation to other research work on the use of computers in education. (Author/MDH)

  • Manual for teachers about the subjects probability calculus and statistics in German secondary classes with lesson plans, teaching units, reports on class experiments and mathematical facts. Contents: intuitive probability, statistics in 6th grade using a BASIC-desk computer, descriptive statistics in 7th and 8th grades, probability calculus in upper secondary, limit theorems, inference statistics.

  • The Educational Research Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg) attempts to go beyond conventional use of a computer laboratory by offering services to further the educational knowledge of its students. Laboratory staff members demonstrate methods needed to accomplish educational tasks for program requirements as they offer appropriate help to novice and experienced users. This set of papers reviews approaches used at the laboratory. An overview is provided by J. C. Fortune and A. L. Packard. "Computer-Based Laboratory (Mini-Courses Aiding Students in Statistical and Research Methods" (C. J. Rogers) describes how these brief courses are used to familiarize students with options available to them. "Opportunity for Educational Support: Open Laboratory and Mini-Courses" (M. W. Cumbow) describes the physical layout, hardware, software, and courses of the educational research laboratory. "In Support of the Research Education of Graduate Students: Free Tutorials" (J. List) describes the free tutorials in software use provided at the Educational Research Computer Laboratory in the areas of: (1) word processing; (2) statistics; (3) mainframe communications; (4) spreadsheets; (5) graphics; and (6) database management. (SLD)

  • Hypertext and its more advanced form Hypermedia represent a powerful authoring tool with great potential for allowing statistics teachers to develop documents to assist students in an algorithmic fashion. An introduction to the use of Hypertext is presented, with an example of its use. Hypertext is an approach to information management in which data are stored in a network of nodes, or frames, connected by links. Nodes can contain text, graphics, audio, video, source code, or other forms of data. The designer of the document creates the nodes on a word processor, statistical package, or graphics program; he or she may go forward or backward through the links created. Hypertext documents are easy to use, although the number of levels of linkage should be kept to a minimum for students. Such documents are not as easy to create, requiring the creation of text files, linkage files created with Hypertext software, and graphics files. A sample Hypertext document is described for student learning about hypothesis tests for a single sample containing a parameter measuring the central tendency of the population. It is predicted that, in time, the text for an elementary statistics course will be a Hypertext document. Two sample flowcharts for use in the Hypertext document are provided. (SLD)

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