One of the effective approaches might be the use of technological tools, in particular when students deal with complex or big data. Tinkerplots (Konold and Miller, 2011) is one of such tools, which enables students to interact with data in intuitive and dynamic ways. Students can construct their own representations of data by ordering, stacking and separating data.
Statstalk project led by Sibel Kazak investigated the issues around (1) young students’ conceptual understanding of statistical and probabilistic ideas within informal statistical inference, which seems to be neglected in the early grades of schooling, (2) mediating roles of technological tools and children’s talk, and (3) recommendations for practical educational contexts. The technology-based teaching can support students’ conceptual understanding of mathematics – Tinkerpots becomes scaffolding to develop their statistical inferences and decision making (Kazak et al. 2015a; Kazak et al. 2015b).
But the use of the technology is not the final solution, and indeed we need to consider a lot of factors, such as task design, teacher, and educational context (Drijver, 2015)!
For example, while Tinkerplots can offer powerful learning opportunities for students, the roles of teachers should not be underestimated. For example, Watson and English (2018) who also used Tinkerplots found that:
It was disappointing that some students did not score as well on Parts B or C of the Assessment that were based on TinkerPlots graphs. Although students had filled in their Workbooks during class individually, they worked in pairs using TinkerPlots. It may have happened that one of the pair took over the manipulation on the computer screen, with the other not paying attention, hence recalling less of the activity. (p. 18)
This implies that teachers carefully monitor or manage the use of Tinkerplots during teaching. In fact, Parero and Aldon (2016) suggest that reported with technology-based learning environments teachers’ roles are very important.
In this project hopefully, we will be able to seek effective ways to teach data analytics with technological tools such as Tinkerplots!
Drijvers, P. (2015). Digital technology in mathematics education: Why it works (or doesn’t). In Selected regular lectures from the 12th international congress on mathematical education (pp. 135-151). Springer, Cham.
Kazak, S., Wegerif, R., & Fujita, T. (2015a). The importance of dialogic processes to conceptual development in mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 90(2), 105-120.
Kazak, S., Wegerif, R., & Fujita, T. (2015b). Combining scaffolding for content and scaffolding for dialogue to support conceptual breakthroughs in understanding probability. ZDM, 47(7), 1269-1283.
Panero, M., & Aldon, G. (2016). How teachers evolve their formative assessment practices when digital tools are involved in the classroom. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education, 2(1), 70-86.
Watson, J. and English, L. (2018). Eye color and the practice of statistics in Grade 6: Comparing two groups, Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 49, 35-60.