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Using Advertisements To Teach Statistical Literacy Rose Martinez-Dawson Senior Lecturer Department of Mathematical Sciences Robert M. Horton Secondary Mathematics Education Co-director of SC Center for Inquiry in Mathematics and Science Clemson University

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Goal Of Seminar Understand the role advertisements can play in teaching statistical literacy Overview of statistical literacy Types of advertisements Statistical literacy challenge categories Ways to incorporate advertisements Examples of advertisements to promote statistical literacy Overview of research Demonstration Sources and advantages of using advertisements

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Modern Student Watches an average of 1500 hours of television each year –Sees approximately 20,000 thirty-second television commercials (Herr) Average college student on the Internet 100 minutes per day (Anderson, 2001) –Online advertising is watched, on average, more than 15 minutes each month –Youtube is one of the most popular sites visited Average Youtube viewer watches more than 7 hours monthly (www.frankwbaker.com/mediause.htm).www.frankwbaker.com/mediause.htm

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Goal “…to move students from a situation where they automatically believe everything they read in the media to one where they intelligently question data and claims...” (Watson, 1997) Promote the ability to critically evaluate statistics encountered in everyday life.

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Statistical Literacy: The Hierarchical Model (Watson, 1997) Tier 1 Basic understanding of statistical terminology Tier 2 Understand terminology within social context to make inferences based on everyday statistics Tier 3 Develop “questioning attitude” which involves use of more sophisticated concepts in order to challenge claims

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Statistical Literacy “Statistical literacy is more about questions than answers. It doesn’t have many answers, but it should help one to ask better questions and thereby make better judgments and decisions… Statistical literacy helps one answer the question asked of most statistics: “What does this mean?”” Schield, M. “Statistical literacy: Thinking critically about statistics” http://www.augsburg.edu/ppages/schield http://www.augsburg.edu/ppages/schield

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Statistical Literacy And The Media “If evidence of the need for statistical literacy is found in the media, then the media is also an ideal vehicle to provide initial motivation for the study of statistics, applications of specific topics in the curriculum during instruction, and items for assessment in the final stages of learning.” (Watson, 1997, pg 107)

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Challenging Claims Since the modern student is accustomed to advertising claims made on television and on the Internet, advertisements can be incorporated in course material to promote a “questioning attitude” of statistical information through challenging claims made in advertisements.

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General Types Of Advertisements Claims made in ads Survey preference ads Comparative performance ads Tootsie Roll® pop Flintstone® vitamins Great Grains® cereal Allstate® insurance LiveActive® cottage cheese Prego® versus Ragu® spaghetti sauce Jif® peanut butter Bounty® paper towels Charmin® toilet paper Duracell® versus Energizer® batteries

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Statistical Literacy Challenge Categories Method Bias Reported statistic Definition How was the study conducted? Sampling method used? Type of study? Sample size? Who conducted the study? Agenda? Question wording? Coverage error? Is the value a parameter or statistic? How was the statistic obtained? Definition used? Could there be other definitions?

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Statistical Literacy Challenge Categories Variation Generalize Lurking variable Causality Variation? Variation concerning statistic? Statistic is an estimate Can this information be used to generalize about a population? To what population can results be generalized? Other factors that may affect results?Is correlation or causation implied? Does one factor cause another? Based on Utts (2002)

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Ways To Incorporate Ads To Promote Statistical Literacy Use advertisements throughout statistics course Include advertisements in a section devoted to use of statistics in advertising Group project – create web site or PPT –www.clemson.edu/~martinrwww.clemson.edu/~martinr Homework assignments Competition Exams

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Ways to Incorporate Ads Use an advertisement for a particular statistical topic Use an advertisement for many statistical topics Provide prompts about specific statistical topic(s) or statistical literacy challenge category Open-ended format (no prompts)

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Claims Made In Ads Tootsie Roll® Pop “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8PAJKlulKQ&feature=related Challenges: Method Reported statistic Definition Variation

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Claims Made In Ads “Flintstones kids - 10 million strong and growing” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTC crXf2buQ “Better nutrition” “No artificial sweeteners, no chemically modified fiber or no isolated fiber” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbtx 0LMc0Iw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbtx 0LMc0Iw Challenges: Method Bias Reported statistic Variation Generalize Challenges: Definition Lurking variable Causality

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Survey Preference Ads LiveActive® Cottage Cheese Challenges: Method Bias Reported statistic Definition Generalize Lurking variable Causality

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Survey Preference Ads Prego® Versus Ragu®“Choosy moms choose Jif®” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtLRSt8J 71s Challenges: Method Bias Definition Variation Generalize Lurking variable Challenges: Method Bias Definition Variation Generalize Lurking variable http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Tsq VKmjAw&feature=related

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Comparative Performance Ads Bounty® Paper Towels http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l42QAajzNVw Challenges: Method Bias Definition Variation Generalize

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Comparative Performance Ads Charmin® toilet paperDuracell® Versus Energizer® http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAzqG uZfo00 Challenges: Method Bias Reported statistic Definition Variation Generalize Lurking variable Causality Challenges: Method Bias Reported statistic Definition Variation Generalize Lurking variable

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Purpose of Research Using Advertisements Compare students' challenges to advertisement claims made before and after taking an introductory statistics course focused on statistical literacy Martinez-Dawson (2010)

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Course Overview Statistics in Everyday Life –Sophomore level course taught at Clemson University –Focused on promoting statistical literacy –“Everyday life module” format –Statistics in Advertising and Marketing one section –Additional course information www.clemson.edu/~martinr

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Research Two advertisements and an article were given to students on first day of class and again on the final exam –Asked to list questions (challenges) they had to statistical information in ads and article –Open-ended format to simulate real-life experience

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What questions might you have concerning Allstate’s claim that there are “6 million car accidents every year in America?”

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Significant Increase In Proportion Of Challenges Asked After Course How was the information obtained? Source of “6 million”? Definition of “car”? Definition or type of car accident? Effect of definition of “car accident” on 6 million Unreported accidents included? Lurking variables? Cause of accidents? Location of accidents?

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Now It’s Your Turn … “Four out of five dentists surveyed would recommend Trident sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum” What challenges do you have concerning the claim in the following advertisement? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf_Jk1zLisg

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Your Challenges

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Possible Challenges How were the dentists selected? –Discuss random versus non-random sampling and effects on resulting statistics Sample size? “4 out of 5” –Parameter versus statistic –Statistics have variation Question asked of dentists –Issues of bias Experience of dentists Only pertains to “gum chewing patients” –What about all patients?

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Sources Of Advertisements Television commercials Newspapers Magazines Products used at home –Product web sites –Youtube Sunday newspaper coupon section

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Advantages To Using Advertisements Promotes challenging claims in a familiar (possibly non-threatening) context Real life examples Relevant to their life Multi-media approach –May be useful for different learning styles Can be used for all grade levels –Focus on questions rather than correct answers

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Student Evaluation “I really enjoyed this approach to statistics. The class took the often asked question, "When am I ever going to use what I am learning in here?" and turned it on its head so that I was asking myself, "When will I not use what I am learning in here?””

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Conclusion Statistical literacy involves the ability to critically evaluate and challenge statistics encountered in everyday life. This ability becomes more important in today’s world in which information is so easily accessible, available and potentially unreliable. Promoting statistical literacy may produce a more savvy consumer of information

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References Anderson, K.J. (2001). Internet use among college students: An exploratory study. Journal of American College Health, 50, 21-26. Herr, N. Television & Health. The Sourcebook for Teaching Science. www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html Martinez-Dawson, R. (2010). The effects of a course on statistical literacy upon students’ challenges to statistical claims made in the media (Dissertation), Clemson University. Schield, M. “Statistical literacy: Thinking critically about statistics” http://www.augsburg.edu/ppages/schield http://www.augsburg.edu/ppages/schield Utts, J. (2002). What educated citizens should know about statistics and probability. Retrieved from http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/publications/1/1b3_utts.pdf http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/publications/1/1b3_utts.pdf Watson, J.M. (1997). Assessing statistical thinking using the media. In The Assessment Challenge in Statistics Education, IOS Press. www.frankwbaker.com/mediause.htm

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