The aim of the event was to arm mathematics teachers with material and ideas to make the teaching of data analytics more interesting and exciting in class.
The Department of Statistics and Population Studies at UWC, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and SAS, hosted the Teachers 4 Data Analytics event.
There was also a demonstration of a free software package called SAS DataFly. SAS Datafly is an interactive tool that collects and visualises responses obtained from computers or mobile phones in real time.
The event was attended by 51 participants, which comprised 22 teachers from various schools, 10 UWC students training to be teachers, UWC lecturers who train our next generation teachers, funders, guests and the organising team.
Prof Admire Dube, Acting Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, welcomed the teachers as UWC guests of honour.
“Data is everywhere and teachers should be the messengers to encourage learners to consider studying in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, but particularly in the analytics field. There is a huge need for data scientists and analysts in South Africa and worldwide,” said Prof Dube.
Prof Renette Blignaut, Manager of the UWC Data Science Programmes, welcomed the guest speaker Prof Christine Franklin from the University of Georgia who attended the event via a virtual platform. She enthusiastically shared how statistics training can be made exciting in class. Prof Franklin emphasised the message that learners should be trained to think statistically so that they are better equipped to understand and interpret data that is all around them.
Dr Julia Keddie of the UWC Data Science team said that the teachers were the change agents who could encourage learners to select mathematics at school level. She said the teachers should show learners how to appreciate the value of statistics in the real world and to encourage learners to study statistics when they complete their schooling.