Implications of technology on what students need to know about statistics
The availability of technology influences what people need to know about statistics, but do they need to know less, more or something different? As one piece in the jigsaw puzzle of this quest, this chapter focuses on the question of what student laboratory technicians in vocational education need to learn about statistics in the presence of technology. Through interviews with interns, intern supervisors and teachers, a questionnaire administered to interns, and workplace observations I have identified what statistical knowledge is taught and required. The knowledge required turned out to diverge across laboratories and to be highly influenced by the degree to which work is mediated by technology. For example, calibration and validation of measurement instruments is based on linear regression, but is often automated. Many computations are carried out on Excel sheets, but not all schools dedicate enough instruction time on spreadsheets. At least 30% of the interns (N=300) felt insufficiently prepared in terms of mathematics or statistics.
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