Original Research - Special Collection: Mathematics

The importance of understanding large data, context, conventions and uncertainty in a pandemic

Max Stephens, Djordje M. Kadijevich, Janelle C. Hill, Mayamiko Malola
African Journal of Teacher Education and Development | Vol 1, No 1 | a7 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajoted.v1i1.7 | © 2022 Max Stephens, Djordje M. Kadijevich, Janelle C. Hill, Mayamiko Malola | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 August 2022 | Published: 17 October 2022

About the author(s)

Max Stephens, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Djordje M. Kadijevich, Institute for Educational Research, Belgrade, Serbia
Janelle C. Hill, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Mayamiko Malola, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has provided rich data displays informing the public about the spread of infection, risks for certain population groups and the effectiveness of vaccines. These data sources offer opportunities for students and teachers to explore and discuss data of high relevance to their lives and their communities.

Aim: This article argues that in the teaching of statistics and probability, greater attention needs to be given to understand the three key elements of statistical literacy, namely context, conventions and uncertainty. The article also identifies several key areas linking theory and practice.

Setting: This article draws on different data displays using COVID-19-related websites internationally; nationally in Africa and South Africa; and locally in the State of Victoria in Australia.

Methods: By investigating and analysing different data displays, the article shows the importance of assisting students to understand context, data conventions, uncertainty and risk–benefit to understand COVID-19 data. The article examines pertinent ‘frontier’ areas in the teaching of probability and statistics.

Results: The article identifies important opportunities and challenges for the teaching of statistics in schools and for teacher education, including greater attention to frequentist expressions of probability, risk–benefit analysis, the importance of time series analyses and critical approaches to the evaluation of available data sets.

Conclusion: For schools, greater attention needs to be given to the different conventions by which data are expressed, including the use of dynamic dashboard representations.

Contribution: The article shows how available COVID-19 data can be used to enhance students’ statistical literacy and enrich teacher education.


Keywords

probability; statistics; statistical literacy; data visualisations; dashboards; teacher education; COVID-19; pandemic.

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Crossref Citations

1. Implementing digital storytelling in statistics classrooms: Influences on aggregate reasoning
Aslıhan Batur, Ünal Çakıroğlu
Computers & Education  vol: 200  first page: 104810  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2023.104810