3 November 2016

Talking in class: improving discussion in maths and stats classes

Maths is right or wrong – end of discussion  – or is it? In 1984 I was a tutor in Operations Research to second year university students. My own experience of being in tutorials at University had been less than inspiring, with tutors who seemed reserved and keen to give us the answers without too much talking. I wanted to do a good job. My induction included a training session for teaching assistants from throughout the university. Margaret was a very experienced educational developer and was very keen for us to get the students discussing. I tried to explain to her […]
21 October 2013

Proving causation

Aeroplanes cause hot weather In Christchurch we have a weather phenomenon known as the “Nor-wester”, which is a warm dry wind, preceding a cold southerly change. When the wind is from this direction, aeroplanes make their approach to the airport over the city. Our university is close to the airport in the direct flightpath, so we are very aware of the planes. A new colleague from South Africa drew the amusing conclusion that the unusual heat of the day was caused by all the planes flying overhead. Statistics experts and educators spend a lot of time refuting claims of causation. […]
10 December 2012

Teaching time series with limited computer access

How do you teach statistics with limited access to computers? Last century this wasn’t really an issue, at least not in high schools, as statistics has been a peripheral part of the mathematics curriculum and the mathematics of statistics has been taught as a subset of mathematics. But this is changing, and it looks as if the change is starting in New Zealand. The NZ school curriculum has leapt ahead of the rest of the world. Statistics is taught at all levels and at the higher levels of high school, statistics is taught as it is actually done in practice […]