Scott Keir, head of education and statistical literacy at the RSS, provides a round-up of all of the sessions and events at this year's RSS Conference that will be of interest to anyone involved in teaching or promoting statistics in schools or communicating statistics.
This year's RSS International Conference, held this week in the beautiful city of Cardiff, looks set to be a brilliant event. I'm especially pleased to see such a wide range of sessions that contribute to our strategic goal of education and statistical literacy. As I look back over the past few years' programmes, I see a steady increase in the range and number of sessions, to the point where 'Communicating and teaching statistics' is now a regular session stream, and the professional development stream routinely includes sessions focusing on developing communication skills, essential for the modern statistician.
I've outlined below the sessions that I've spotted in the extensive programme (with apologies to any I've missed). You can see that they include keynotes on data visualisation, sessions organised by members of the RSS Education and Statistical Literacy Committee that encourage members to get involved with promoting statistics in schools, discussions of good practice in teaching and communicating statistics, and showcases of communication skills by members of the statistical and data community. There's also a satellite event for teachers, with Christine Franklin from the American Statistical Association, co-organised with the Teaching Statistics Trust and the Cardiff Q-Step Centre.
These sessions only happen thanks to the dedicated efforts of our members who submit session and talk proposals. The call for proposals for the RSS International Conference 2019, to be held in Belfast next year, opens shortly. I look forward to seeing a wide range of high quality sessions relating to communicating and teaching statistics at that too.
Monday 3 September
- Welcome to Conference and Keynote 1, 18:00-19:00: John Pullinger (UK National Statistician) 'Mobilise the power of data to make better decisions'.
Tuesday 4 September
- 1.6 Communicating Statistics: Learning statistics in applied contexts: Graphical principles for creating effective data visualizations Mark Baillie - Novartis, Teaching the concept of prior probability to medical students, doctors and other non-statisticians using ‘P maps', Huw Llewelyn - Aberystwyth University, Revealed: What Every Statistician Should Know, Neil Spencer - University of Hertfordshire
- 3.6 Communicating Statistics: Data Journalism, 14:10-15:30: featuring Joe Twyman of Deltapoll, Clara Guibourg of BBC News, Charles Boutard of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Claire Miller of Reach, and John Burn Murdoch of the Financial Times
- 4.4 RSS Prize Winners - Statistical Excellence for Early Career Writing 2018, 15:40-16:40: A special session in which the three finalists for the Statistical Excellence Award for Early-Career Writing 2018 will deliver presentations based on their articles
- 4.6 Contributed - Communicating Statistics in a Digital World, 15:40-16:40: Making health and care statistics accessible in a digital world, Danielle Cornish - Office for National Statistics, Transforming Health and Social Care Publications in Scotland, David Caldwell - NHS National Services Scotland, Meeting Census 2021 user needs: the development of an online flexible dissemination system, Chris Ashford - Office for National Statistics, United Kingdom
- PD4 Professional Development: Get Involved - RSS Volunteers Internationally, 15:40-16:40: find out how statisticians of all ages (from the young to the most experienced) have been volunteering for the RSS and associated initiatives and how you may be able to get involved
- Keynote 3 - Significance Lecture: Hannah Fry’s Guide to Being Human in the Age of Algorithms, 17:10-18:10: Ahead of the publication of her new book, Hello World, Dr Hannah Fry explores our relationships with algorithms, the responsibilities we give them, and the impact they are having on our societies – including the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
Wednesday 5 September
- 5.6 Communicating Statistics: STEM Showcase: showcasing statistics through outreach and public engagement, 08:30-09:50: The session will explore effective and engaging statistical activities used in outreach (eg STEM curriculum enrichment) and public engagement (eg science festivals). The session will be of interest to attendees interested in participating in outreach and public engagement, such as becoming a STEM Ambassador. Presenters will be Jeff Ralph (Office for National Statistics & RSS William Guy Lecturer 2017-2018), Laura Bonnett (University of Liverpool & RSS Education Committee) and Joanna Burnett (NHS Blood and Transplant). Organised by the RSS Young Statisticians' Section & RSS Education Committee
- 6.6 Communicating Statistics: Building statistical literacies for the Sustainable Development Goals: Data, Skills and Training, 14:30-15:50: This session will explore three aspects of statistical literacies development. First, we introduce how international organisations are strengthening statistical data capacity in national statistical organisations. Second, we discuss the statistical skills development in the student population, through initiatives such as Q-Step in the UK. And third, we show how we are sharing the training capacity in the UK and the US through the joining up of these initiatives, and contributing to knowledge transfer with government and research organisations. The panel will focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and the indicator framework to measure and track progress towards them.
- 7.6 Contributed - Communicating Statistics: Teaching statistics - tips and techniques, 16:20 -17:20: Using learnr to create interactive tutorials for R: from the pinnacle to the pit, Andy Field - University of Sussex; Using video feedback when assessing R code, Deirdre Toher - University of the West of England; The (Q-)Step Change in Demand for Quantitative Social Science: evaluating intervention on a principal-agent problem, Thomas King
- Keynote 5 - Discussion Meeting: Data visualisation, 17:30-19:30: ‘Visualizing spatiotemporal models with virtual reality: from fully immersive environments to applications in stereoscopic view’ (S. Castruccio, M. G. Genton and Y. Sun); ‘Visualization in Bayesian workflow’ (J. Gabry, D. Simpson, A. Vehtari, M. Betancourt and A. Gelman);‘Graphics for uncertainty’ (A. W. Bowman)
Thursday 6 September
- 8.6 Communicating Statistics, 08:50-09:50: What can we learn about the teaching of statistics from the historical relationship between sociology and statistics in Britain? Plamena Panayotova, the University of Edinburgh; Language and images that support the conceptual understanding of Statistical Inference, Hilary Watt - Imperial College; Online, interactive data skills modules - making learning more accessible, Vanessa Higgins - UK Data Service, University of Manchester
- 9.6 Communicating Statistics: Experiences of the Q-Step Centres, 11:30-12:50
- PD6 Professional Development: Getting your research published and maximising its impact, 11:30-12:50: The session will provide valuable advice for writing articles of different formats and for different audiences, explore what makes a 'good' article, highlight common mistakes to avoid, give an overview of journal review processes, and explore available self-promotional tools
- 10.6 Communicating Statistics: Communicating statistics in a post-truth age, 14:00-15:00: Perceptions vs reality: Presenting statistics to bust myths, Iain Bell - Office for National Statistics; Fake stats: mythmaking in the digital media age, Fraser Nelson - The Spectator; Understanding our impact, Martin Nicholls - ONS
- PD7 Professional Development: Get Involved: Volunteering in the UK, 14:00-15:00: This session will focus on volunteering in the UK through the following schemes and initiatives: Statistics behind the headlines (speaker: Deirdre Toher, University of the West of England); STEM Ambassadors (speaker: Simon White, University of Cambridge & RSS Education Committee); Sections and Local Groups (speaker: Karen Facey, RSS Honorary Officer for Sections & Groups)
- Statistical Problem Solving: the Art and Science of Learning and Teaching from Data: 06/09/2018, 16:30 - 18:00: The Teaching Statistics Trust Lecture 2018 for teachers of statistics in all subjects in schools and colleges by Christine Franklin, School Statistics Ambassador, American Statistical Association. This event is a satellite event to the RSS International Conference 2018.
Further details of these sessions are available on the RSS International Conference website.