Student approaches to constructing statistical models using TinkerPlots

Jennifer Noll & Dana Kirin
Technology Innovations in Statistics Education, 9(1). 2016


Statistical literacy skills and technological literacy skills are becoming increasingly entwined as the practice of statistics shifts toward more reliance on the power of technology. More and more, statistics educators suggest reforming introductory college statistics courses to include more emphasis on technology and modeling. But what is the impact of such a focus on student learning? This research examines a small sample of students. The students received a reform-oriented curriculum focused on modeling and simulation using TinkerPlots™ technology. The data reported here is from students written work at the end of the term on their final assessment. They had access to TinkerPlotsTM for the assessment and we share the ways they used the technology to create statistical models. This work provides insights into the ways students’ construct models and how they interpret the models they construct within the context of the original statistical problem they were given. We describe how the technology used in this reform class appeared to frame students’ ways of constructing a statistical model. We also discuss challenges of this approach for student thinking and share implications for teaching and future research.