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The unexpected fear of statistics

Statistics is the cause of a lot of fear. There are thousandsĀ of students studying psychology, sociology, economics, biology, medicine, animal science and education who thought they would be free of mathematics and suddenly discover they have to deal with statistics. In the case of psychology it is absolutely everywhere: both in whole courses about statistics, […]

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Likeable primes

There is a Twitter account that tweets the prime numbers once an hour in sequence. (The handle is @_primes_.) Since before I joined Twitter, it’s been working its way through the six-digit primes and some of them are very nice. A lot of other people think they’re nice too, based on the fact that they […]

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Book Reading: Which One Doesn’t Belong – Teacher Guide

This is another post about a teaching book I’ve read recently. This one is about the Which One Doesn’t Belong Teacher Guide by Christopher Danielson.
It goes with a beautiful little picture book called “Which One Doesn’t Belong?”, which is a shapes book different from any you’ve ever seen before. In this book, each page has […]

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The Zumbo (hypothesis) Test

Here in Australia, we are at the tail end of a reality cooking competition called “Zumbo’s Just Desserts“. In the show, a group of hopefuls compete in challenges where they produce desserts, hosted by patissier Adriano Zumbo. There are two types of challenges. In the “Sweet Sensations” challenge, they have to create a dessert from […]

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Disjointed independence

There are two terminologies in probability which many students are confused about: “independent” and “disjoint”. The other day I was working with a student listening to their thinking on this and I suddenly realised why.
In your standard introduction to probability notation, various notations and terminologies are introduced, usually with reference to the meaning of the […]

Posted in Being a good teacher, How people learn (or don't), Thoughts about maths thinking | Tagged , , |

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Why don’t people bring me raw data?

We often get research students visiting us to get help with analysing their data, even though it is not actually our job to help them and we are not formally qualified to help either. But I still sit with them and listen to their woes and give what advice I can, because I know how […]

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Ancient boxplots

When we learn things, we tend to get the impression that the things we learn have been passed down to us from the ancients. We think that the ways of thinking and doing we are presented with are the only way to think and do, and they were decreed by some all-knowing prophet in prehistorical […]

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When will they see the most important bit?

For the past two years, I’ve been involved in the design and teaching of the statistics curriculum to the 3rd year medical students, and I have to say it’s been very rewarding. Most of my job involves helping students who have been taught by someone else somewhere else and who haven’t had the best experience […]

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Things I didn’t learn from OZCOTS 2012

A couple of weeks ago I found out that OZCOTS (Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics) was being held here in Adelaide. I thought that I should go to it, since I seem to be spending rather a lot of time teaching statistics these days. And so I went.
As it turned out, I didn’t learn all […]

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Statistics and Insomnia

Some years ago, I saw a snippet on the ABC science show Catalyst about insomnia — in particular, the flavour of insomnia where a person has trouble falling asleep at all. They reported on a trial study investigating the effectiveness of a tortuous new treatment for chronic insomnia. (You can read about it at this […]

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