|Peter Hackl (Austria)||email@example.com|
|Marcus Hudec (Austria)|
|Statistics and Data Analysis play a
major role in modern societies. One can read statistics in newspapers everyday,
and the ability to understand what they say has become of greatest importance
in today's world. Statistical arguments are used for decision making in
politics, economics, business life as well as for court decisions.
In this situation it seems a necessary part of education to acquaint children with basic concepts of data analysis and statistical thinking. The Austrian Society of Statistics therefore founded in 1996 a special work-group (AKOS), which devotes its activities towards a better understanding of data based reasoning of the public generally with special attention towards integration of statistical concepts at all levels of education.
According to these general goals three main activities have been developed, which are described in this paper:
- Statistical Poster Competition
- Development of statistical materials for primary education
- Development of statistical materials for secondary education
Since 1998, the AKOS has organised a yearly Statistical Poster Competition in two categories (children from age 11 - 14; and children from age 15-18). The aim of the competition is to encourage groups of children to perform a statistical project starting from the planning and design of the project and covering all phases of practical statistical work, like data collection, data organization, data analysis up to the presentation of results. This approach found even wider popularity when the presentation, which was originally restricted to statistical posters has been widened up to digital presentations based on HTML or PowerPoint.
The materials which have been developed for the integration of statistical concepts into the educational courses are available via the web:
Primary level: http://projects.smc.univie.ac.at/akos/vshome/Texte/test1.htm
Secondary level: http://projects.smc.univie.ac.at/stat4u/
These URLs contain materials for the teacher (including practical hints and theoretical background) as well as working materials and explanations for the children. The general didactical approach was project-based and interdisciplinary. Based on the paradigm "Statistics should be taught more as an experimental science and less as traditional mathematics" which has been formulated by R.Scheaffer experiments and projects are formulated and have been tested in everyday school-life. It turned out that important statistical concepts as dispersion or correlation can in such a way easily transferred to children even in a primary level.
At the moment the AKOS is active in promoting the concepts among teachers and teaching authorities and to promote the use of the developed materials in schools.
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