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Pros: Helps students visualize what certain statistical tools can tell us about data.
Cons: Most of the actual calculations and data analysis is done for the students.
Bottom Line: Perform a t-test or chi-square analysis using your own data or provided data sets.
DataClassroom is best used in classes where students want to quickly and easily analyze data that they've collected themselves. After uploading the data, kids will be asked to estimate the mean, but then with a click of a button, the computer does the actual calculating for them. Many students can use an equation to calculate the standard deviation without actually understanding what it means. DataClassroom helps students visualize this concept by dragging the shaded bars to cover two-thirds of the data -- but, once again, the actual calculations are done by the computer.
With a click of a button, a box and whisker plot or a "means with error" plot can appear. Students are provided with the definition of these items but aren't asked to set these up themselves or internalize what these mean. The chi-square analysis functions similarly; students must determine the expected values and the degrees of freedom themselves with some text that coaches them along the way. But the rest of the chi-square calculations are done for them. Additionally, the p-value is determined for them, instead of allowing students to interpret the graph and do the analysis themselves.
DataClassroom helps teachers store, manipulate, and analyze data sets. Teachers can set up classes so that students can share data sets; this also allows teachers to track individual progress as their students upload and save data. DataClassroom can easily import class rosters right from Google Classroom.
Sample data sets are provided to help students practice using statistical tools. Kids can use an existing data set to explore research questions like "Is beak depth (mm) different between birds that died and those that lived through the drought of 1977?" This data set coordinates with free supplementary materials from HHMI BioInteractive.
DataClassroom's biggest strength is the way it models for students how to analyze and interpret data. Kids are walked step by step through a t-test, visualizing mean and standard deviation along the way. Students then use their t-score, sample size, and p-value to form a conclusion to their research question. After they're done using the statistical analysis to form a conclusion, all of their statistics and notes are combined into an editable Word document.
While DataClassroom helps students visualize what the t-test and chi-square analysis can tell us about data, it doesn't require students to do any of the actual calculations. Not only does it calculate the p-value for the students, but it also tells the students what a particular p-value means in the context of their data set -- for example, directly telling the students that the two groups of birds are statistically different. This takes some of the analysis away from kids. However, this modeling can be useful when students go on to analyze their own data sets. Students can also use the existing data sets to make a graph themselves. While the t-test and chi-square analysis tools provide excessive amounts of coaching, students will need more support than is provided when using DataClassroom to build graphs.