Project SMILES for Introductory Statistics
Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs
Project SMILES has developed and field-tested an online innovation in learning where students create a song by filling in key words associated with a learning objective. These interactive songs challenge students to make conceptual connections and construct examples or context, thereby fostering statistical literacy and reasoning skills. By reducing statistics anxiety (a key impediment to student success) and enhancing student learning, the potential impact is striking. Interactive songs are a novel learning resource that holds great potential for teaching literacy and reasoning skills in statistics and other STEM disciplines. The web-based, machine-run, and auto-graded characteristic of this resource provides easy access to students anywhere anytime, and addresses instructor hesitations about in-class use.
For instructors, interactive songs are readily adaptable, regardless of pedagogy (e.g., easily incorporated in a flipped class as well as an online class, or a lecture/lab course), and provide a dynamic bridge for groups like two-year college adjuncts who seek more engagement with the statistics education reform movement.
Most importantly, for students, these professional-quality interactive songs are designed to engage, lessen anxiety, and foster active learning that enhances statistical reasoning skills. To enhance their value, the interactive songs developed by the SMILES project involve a unique artist/scientist collaborative to create original musical resources of high artistic and educational quality.
To evaluate their efficacy for learning and reducing anxiety, we conducted a randomized controlled field test involving 27 sections of introductory statistics at a two-year college in Georgia with a predominantly Black student body and in a large lecture class at Penn State University.
Project SMILES is supported by (2015 - ) NSF DUE EAGER grants #1544426 (PSU), 1544237 (UTEP), and 1544243 (GSU). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Those interested in possible commercial use of Project SMILES materials should email the SMILES team. Commercial use of songs or their related materials is not permitted without the expressed permission of the appropriate copyright holders.
Instructors wanting associated teacher resources (e.g., multiple-choice assessment items, sheet music, etc.) should send a request from their institutional email.
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