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last modified: November 29th, 2011;
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Visual exercises for learning statistics

Statistics is difficult to teach because, among other reasons, the object of this discipline, random events, are difficult to visualize. Samples are always characterized by spread, degree of symmetry, presence of extreme data, modality, etc. Yet, these characteristics are often not immediately visible to students who are invited to approach statistics from an "equation" perspective, with progressively more complex equations introducing standard deviation, skew, kurtosis. <\p>

We developed visual exercises which are meant to place the notion of sample's distribution at the center of learning. The learner is invited to build samples by clicking on empty graphs to place individual observations. All the relevant calculations are provided automatically. <\p>

In some exercises, the learner must achieve objectives; in others, the learner can manipulate characteristics of a population and see their impact on samples. <\p>

Such exercises in which the sample takes the central position may be fruitful and should be explored more systematically.<\p>

The visual exercises are implemented in this computable portable format (cdf) document
(1.5 Mb!).

The exercises requires a reader to function. This is the Mathematica CDF reader, available at:
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Its sounds similar to Adobe's PDF reader, and it is a bit similar, except that it reads documents having interactive functions, contrary to PDF, which are mostly static documents.
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Once you have downloaded and install the reader, download the visual exercises then double-click it to start.