Scientific Program > Topic 2 > Session 2D >
Presentation 2D1. CensusAtSchool 2000: Creation to Collation to Classroom

Doreen Connor (UK)


Presentation Abstract

Within the United Kingdom the CensusAtSchool project was devised in order to make the collection, collation and interpretation of data both fun and interesting. It is a statistical enterprise with three intertwining functions. Firstly to raise children's awareness and perception of what a Census is, how it operates and the reasons for having it. Secondly it gives children in the classroom real data about themselves and their peers to use while learning data handling techniques. A third function to increase both children's and teacher's understanding and use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) methodology within the classroom also applies.

The project involved young people between the ages of 7 and 16 answering a simple one-page questionnaire comprising 17/18 questions arranged into three sections: Yourself, Your Household and School. While some of the questions were deliberately similar to those on the national Census others were aimed more at the children's own interests and enthusiasms. The results, fed back to us via either the Internet or as e-mail attachments formed a national database of results.
The focus for the project in the UK was, and is, the CensusAtSchool Website This is where we asked schools to register for the project and also where all of the materials to conduct CensusAtSchool were available to download as well as the automated upload facility for schools to send their data back across the Internet. The website was designed to be very simple and easy to use and also contains a steadily increasing selection of curriculum tasks, designed for use across the full range of subjects in which data handling occurs. These tasks vary across the full age range and also in the level of help given to the teachers. Many of them incorporate use of URL's and spreadsheets designed to increase ICT methodology.
The success of the project in the UK can be measured in several ways. Firstly the interest and enthusiasm displayed both by the participants within the schools and the media attention it received in the press, on radio, television and news Internet sites showed a lovely balance between educational value and media appeal. Secondly the feedback from participating schools showed appreciation for the help received especially in the field of computer technology and a willingness to use the curriculum tasks within lessons. Thirdly the expansion of the project into other countries with South Africa, Queensland and New Zealand all becoming involved in conducting CensusAtSchool within their own countries will enhance statistical learning with an international database being created.

The real value of CensusAtSchool is that the data is real and relevant. The interest generated by the participating children can only help to improve statistical literacy at an early age. If children can come to understand how to both gather and use data at this stage of their development then surely they will better see how to fully utilise statistics as they grow older.


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