I have just returned from New York City where the Eastern Psychological Association held their yearly conference. The attendance was very strong, and as in years past, there were dozens of familiar faces of professors dedicated to the teaching of applied statistics in psychology.
I, along with Susan Nolan (soon to be the president elect of EPA) and Tom Heinzen presented on Visualization in data.
I have included a copy of that presentation here.
In short, while at EPA, I reviewed three types of (no-additional cost) software that faculty could use in helping students to visualize data and master concepts in applied statistics.
One, Mathematica, has been reviewed here before (e.g,. this blog will detail how to use Mathematica Demonstration and provide an overview of the software: https://statisticalsage.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/using-mathematica-deomnstrations-to-visualize-statistical-concepts/; this blog will review some of my favorite Mathematica Demonstrations not included in the attached presentation https://statisticalsage.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/before-the-semester-starts-im-playing-with-pictures/ ).
I also talked of a novel way to use Excel as a means of exploring the graphing of data. As you all know, Excel has some interesting quirks, like how it selects an automatic axis that could highlight a difference that isn’t there, or how it will take whatever data you give it and turn it into whatever kind of graph you want, whether it makes sense or not. By having students use Excel, in a discovery learning manner (complete with Socratic type questioning) students can gain better insight not just in using Excel, but more importantly in graphing data effectively an accurately.
I also spoke of using Survey Monkey, with their ability to quickly analyze data … students can use their smart phones to collect a bunch of data very quickly, and then visualize the results.
I see the use of visual images as a critical tool for helping students to better understand applied statistics.