Scientific Program > Topic 6 > Session 6C >
Presentation 6C2. Introduction to the Normal Distribution in a Course of Data Analysis:
Specific Meaning Induced by the Use of Computers

Liliana Tauber (Spain)
Victoria Sanchez (Spain)
Carmen Batanero (Spain)


Presentation Abstract

The relevance of normal distributions has been highlighted by Moore (1997), and Cohen and Chechile (1997) who remark its role as a link between descriptive and inferential statistics. In our research (Batanero, Tauber and Meyer, 1999; Tauber, Batanero and Sanchez, 2000) we study the teaching and learning of that distribution, with the help of computers in an introductory course of data analysis. Our theoretical perspective (Godino, 1999) considers the meaning of concepts from an institutional and personal aspects and describes different types of meaning elements. We analyzed the textbooks directed to students in social sciences and identified the more common meanings. Starting from this reference meaning, we designed a teaching sequence based on solving exploratory data problems when students would work in pairs with STATGRAPHICS. The analysis of the teaching sequence served to described the foreseen meaning that would be used and the specific meaning contributed by the use of computers.

The experience was carried out and observed during the courses 1998-99 and 1999-2000, in the University of Granada (Spain) with a total of 117 students. Your statistical knowledge was very varied, but in general they ignored the use of software. The analysis of the observation served to determine the implemented meaning and allowed us show the different meaning elements and the complexity of normal.

Computers increased the difficulty of the class management. As suggested by DelMas, Garfield and Chance (1998), computer tools add a cognitive cost, since the amount of information that the student can acquire is limited.

Batanero, C., Tauber, L., & Meyer, R. (1999). From data analysis to inference: A research project on the teaching of normal distributions. Bulletin of the International Statistical Institute, Tome LVIII. 52nd Session of the International Statistical Institute (pp. 57-58). Helsinki: International Statistical Institute.

Cohen, S., & Chechile, R. (1997). Overview of ConStatS and the ConStatS assessment. In Garfield, J. B. & Burrill, G. (Eds.). Proceedings of the IASE 1996 Round Table Conference. (pp. 109 - 118). Voorburg: International Statistical Institute e International Association for Statistical Education.

delMas, R. C., Garfield, J. B., & Chance, B. L. (1998). Exploring the role of computer simulations in developing understanding of sampling distributions. Paper presented in the AERA Annual Meeting. Montreal.

Godino, J. D. (1999). Implicaciones metodologicas de un enfoque semiotico-antropologico para la investigacion en didactica de la matematica. In T. Ortega (Ed.), Actas del III Simposio de la SEIEM (pp. 196-212). Valladolid.

Moore, D. S. (1997). New pedagogy and new content: the case of statistics. International Statistical Review, 65 (2), 123-137.

Tauber, L., Batanero, C., & Sanchez, V. (2000). Comprension de la distribucion normal en estudiantes universitarios. In C. Loureiro, F. Oliveira, & L. Brunheira (Eds.), Ensino e Aprendizagem da Estatistica. (pp. 117-130). Lisboa: Sociedad Portuguesa de Estadistica, Asociacion de Profesores de Matematica y Universidad de Lisboa.


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