Lately I have been thinking about how great a job we have done in modernizing our intro stats courses, and how we have not done that in our algebra courses. In statistics we have embraced technological changes, such as transitioning from the binomial formula to binomial tables to using technology like StatCrunch/TI to compute probabilities. In algebra, that sort of transition is far from wide spread.
When students have more ownership and control, they are more motivated to learn. In my intro statistics course I have tried to have students collecting their own data to be used for in-class projects. If we allow them to decide which topic they want to investigate, we give them even more ownership and control.
So, if you are not doing it already, try to incorporate more data gathering into your stats class. The rewards for this approach can be great. One strength of this course is that students can use it in a limitless number of areas, so why not encourage that. The course gives us the tools to investigate important issues – find a way to get your students to investigate topics that are meaningful to them. It’s a great opportunity to show students that they can continue to employ this type of thinking throughout their lives and become lifelong learners.
But what about our developmental classes? What can we do there to get our students more involved? I’d love to hear what you are doing. Please post a comment or share this post with someone who is doing this in their algebra courses.
Thanks – George