Sunday, 7 August 2011

Our school report

Now we know what people thought of us! Today we looked at the feedback forms from our visits to The Swinton High School. We thought about how to present the information in an interesting and accessible way, and decided to use pie charts and tag clouds. Statistical graphics like these have an interesting history - did you know that Florence Nightingale was one of the pioneers?

The pie charts cover these questions:
  • Would you recommend this sort of activity to other students?
  • Do you think that the Mutating Messages project has changed your attitude towards Statistics?
  • How much Statistics do you think you learned from the session?

We're pleased that so many came away with a positive image of statistics and the research activity, particularly after just two one-hour lessons. And for those who want to learn more, there are many good places to do A-level Statistics modules... and many good Universities where you can take Statistics even further!

This tag cloud is particularly interesting:- we asked 'Name 3 things you learned from the Mutating Messages project'. After coding the responses, we got:

 The concepts involved in the experiment seem to have come across very well, for example:
  • Phylogeny - the shape of our tree of desks affected the mutations we saw
  • Prediction - we can use statistics to make 'professional guesses', eg. about unseen messages 
  • Dynamics - thinking about the patterns of change that we see
The third cloud shows clearly the biggest thing that students took away from their time with us. When asked 'What (if anything) do you feel you have gained from taking part in the experiment?', the students said:

...a better picture of the uses of statistics in real life. Of course, that's the reason we do statistics ourselves, so that's great to hear. And we loved some of the additional comments - even the student who wrote 'I hate statistics' was kind enough to admit that they now appreciated the subject more...!

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