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Workshop statistics: Using technology to promote learning by self-discovery

Research on the Role of Technology in Teaching and Learning Statistics: 1996 Proceedings of the 1996 IASE Round Table Conference
Rossman, A.
Garfield, J. B. & Burrill, G.
International Statistical Institute

Technology has been used as an active learning tool in Workshop Statistics, a project that involved the development and implementation of curricular materials which guide students to learn fundamental statistical ideas through self-discovery. Using the workshop approach, the lecture-format was completely abandoned. Classes are held in microcomputer-equipped classrooms in which students spend class-time working<br>collaboratively on activities carefully designed to enable them to discover statistical concepts, explore statistical principles, and apply statistical techniques.<br><br>The workshop approach uses technology in three ways. First, technology is used to perform the calculations and present the visual displays necessary to analyze real datasets, which are often large and cumbersome. Freeing students from these computational chores also empowers the instructor to focus attention on the understanding of concepts and interpretation of results. Second, technology is used to conduct simulations, which allow students to visualize and explore the long-term behavior of sample statistics under repeated random sampling. Whereas these two uses of technology are fairly standard, the most distinctive use of technology within the workshop approach is to enable students to explore statistical phenomena. Students make predictions about a statistical property and then use the computer to investigate their predictions, revising their predictions and iterating the process as necessary.