Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stats for Dummies (e.g., me)

It's been a while (obviously) since I last blogged, but I think it's time to do as I will soon instruct my students: write everyday, even if only for the sake of writing....

I am a teacher of English.

I desire to state it clearly and succinctly because the subject of this blog represents an attack on my ordinarily singular pedagogical sensibilities.

You see, as part of my Master's work through the University of Florida, I am taking EDG 6931: Research for Educational Technologists. One would tend to think such a class might have to do with, oh, doing some research. Perhaps research for Educational Technologists.


Simply put, it's a math class (statistics, to be specific). Now, I can appreciate the subtle nuances of language, can spin yarns detailing basically any writer's methodology and its effects on his work, can even write fairly fluid prose myself (read: I am capable of being a B.S. artist when the situation presents itself). But whoever concocted such an obvious bait-and-switch with this one should be given her due. Research for Educational Technologists = Statistics? Only a veritable compendium of rhetorical knowledge would be able to produce such a fallacious title. Or maybe they are just like me (when the situation presents itself): B.S. artists.

Nevertheless, I am compelled to take it. This is probably the class I have been least looking forward to (heavy litotes here), but alas we educators are working in an increasingly data-driven world, so it behooves me to know how to collect data and if ever I suspect someone of -- as one butcherer of the English language said -- propagating "fuzzy numbers," then I should be able to prove such a case.

Still, I haven't had a math class in nine years. The students I have now were in elementary school then. Playing with Power Rangers.

We'll see how this one goes. I hope by writing thoughts on here as I go, I will better learn as I hoist myself up the mountain of statistical knowledge. I figure if I have my students reflect on their learnings, then I had better be a decent model for them to do so.

This teacher of English is about to become a learner of math.