The term “mail merge” might not be familiar to those who have not worked in an office setting, but here is the Wikipedia definition: **Mail merge** is a software operation describing the production of multiple (and potentially large numbers of) documents from a single template form and a structured data source. The letter may be sent out to many "recipients" with small changes, such as a change of address or a change in the greeting line.

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Quantitatively Thinking

John Oliver said it best: April 15 combines Americans two most-hated things: taxes and math. I’ve been thinking about the latter recently after hearing a fascinating talk last weekend about quantitative literacy. QL is meant to describe our ability to think with, and about, numbers. QL doesn’t include high-level math skills, but usually is meant to describe our ability to understand percentages and proportions and basic mathematical operations.This is a really important type of literacy, of course, but I fear that the QL movement could benefit from merging QL with SL–Statistical Literacy.

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PD follow-up

Last Saturday the Mobilize project hosted a day-long professional development meeting for about 10 high school math teachers and 10 high school science teachers. As always, it was very impressive how dedicated the teachers were, but I was particularly impressed by their creativity as, again and again, they demonstrated that they were able to take our lessons and add dimension to them that I, at least, didn’t initially see. One important component of Mobilize is to teach the teachers statistical reasoning.

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Model Eliciting Activity: Prologue

I’m very excited/curious about tomorrow: I’m going to lead about 40 math and science teachers in a data-analysis activities, using one of the Model Eliciting Activities from the University of Minnesota Catalysts for Change Project. (One of our bloggers, Andy, was part of this project.) Specifically, we’re giving them the arrival-delay times for five different airlines into Chicago O’Hare. A random sample of 10 from each airline, and asking them to come up with rules for ranking the airlines from best to worst.

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Yikes...It's Been Awile

Apparently our last blog post was in August. Dang. Where did five months go? Blog guilt would be killing me, but I swear it was just yesterday that Mine posted. I will give a bit of review of some of the books that I read this semester related to statistics. Most recently, I finished Hands-On Matrix Algebra Using R: Active and Motivated Learning with Applications. This was a fairly readable book for those looking to understand a bit of matrix algebra.

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Like Rob, I recently got back from ICOTS. What a great conference. Kudos to everyone who worked hard to organize and pull it off. In one of the sessions I was at, Amelia McNamara (@AmeliaMN) gave a nice presentation about how they were using data and computer science in high schools as a part of the Mobilize Project. At one point in the presentation she had a slide that showed a screenshot of the dashboard used in one of their apps.

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I just read a wonderful piece written about how the Harvey Mudd increased the ratio of females declaring a major in Computer Science from 10% to 40% since 2006. That is awesome! One of the things that they attribute this success to is changing the name of their introductory course. They renamed the course from Introduction to programming in Java to Creative Approaches to Problem Solving in Science and Engineering using Python.

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Citizen Statistician

Learning to swim in the data deluge