A few months ago, the University of Glasgow hosted the first international conference of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) which explored approaches to teaching and learning mathematics. The idea was to develop a global community of educators willing to align their teaching approaches with the wide ranging learning needs sensitive to academic as well as cultural diversity. I shared a conference proposal which focused on the theme of enhancing teaching and learning mathematics with the vision of increasing educators’ awareness about barriers to student engagement with mathematics and statistics. This kind of enhanced learning would make mathematics and statistics more accessible, widen student participation through the promotion of inclusive education and enhance engagement with mathematical concepts. It was a pleasure co-chairing the conference organising committee and this post outlines some of the main discussions that took place during the event.
The first textbook I wrote was published 45 years ago in 1970. Since then I’ve written a number of books, including authoring or co-authoring seventeen books on statistical modelling since 2001. During this period the landscape for both publisher and author has changed considerably. This is particularly the case since the creation of the internet and with it, the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P), which began with Napster in 1999.
Last summer I was fortunate to attend ICOTS, the ninth International Conference on Teaching Statistics, in Flagstaff, Arizona. ICOTS takes place every four years, and is an international gathering of educators interested in examining the current state of statistics teaching, and debating ideas to improve it. As a British university lecturer, I suddenly realised that colleagues elsewhere in the world were ahead of us in a race that we didn’t even know was happening.
Two years ago the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations released its report Now for the Long Term. Looking at the long term challenges facing the world, the commission proposed steps that world leaders can take now to address them. Among their recommendations was the creation of an independent, international agency – dubbed Worldstat – to monitor the quality and use of statistics. Their proposal speaks to an ongoing discussion around the need for more and better statistics to guide global development.
The way data is being put to use continues to explode. From purely statistical research in the past, to the ‘big data’ bubble, data is getting copied and reused in novel and interesting ways. All it seems to need is an idea and a dataset, and the two don’t even have to be connected for government to show interest.
More Articles ...
- Inflation measurement is vital to the UK economy, so we have to get it right
- The production problems of moving from surveys to organic data
- Big data or bust? How migration may be the short term solution to the UK’s data skills needs
- Data science sold down the Amazon? Jeff Bezos and the culture of rigour