Source: Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 89-104, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of using Ms Excel in teaching whole Basic Statistics Course to pre-service elementary science teachers and then to show the effects of this treatment on pre-service teachers' attitudes towards statistics.
The study uses both a case study approach and a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design.
The sample of study is 102 pre-service teachers studying at a state university in the west of Turkey. The pre-service teachers were naturally as two different classes. The groups were assigned as control and test groups randomly.
The attitudes of pre-service teachers towards statistics were measured using the Turkish version of the Survey of Attitudes.
The instrument was applied to both groups twice. Once as a pretest before the instruction and as a posttest after the instruction.
There are two types of results in this study:
Use of Excel
In this study, the term Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was taken as Education for Sustainability which was used in the meaning of Education for Generations. ICT integration to ESD was taken as finding and using ICT tools that can be accessed widely and used for generations. ICT integration to ESD was addressed in this study at teacher training level since it's considered as one of the most effective ways of sharing professional experiences and a medium of sustainable education in the society.
This study demonstrated that using Excel in Teacher Education in Statistics Course is feasible in most topics. Furthermore, the capabilities, accessibility and practicality of Excel program in teaching most basic statistics course topics to pre-service science teachers were demonstrated and its superiority to other softwares and traditional instruction were discussed. For example, teaching a subject using a software which could be bought and possessed by everyone meets the social aspect of sustainable development which contains ideas of equality and social justice. Most pre-service teachers have basic file-management skills in Excel which is a real time-saver in such an effort to instruct a whole course using a software.
Thus, when designing a course that will be fully instructed with a software, it should be considered that being widely available is an important criteria.
The more the students have positive attitudes towards statistics the higher statistics outcomes they had, for example higher statistics grades at the end of taking statistics course or a willingness to use statistics in the future. This study showed that using Excel applications and homework assignments and class presentations in Teacher Education in Statistics Course improved attitudes towards statistics in the experiment group more than the control group.
In this study it was shown that using Excel in Teacher Education in Statistics Course was effective and improved attitudes of pre-service elementary science teachers towards statistics. It is important to reveal pre-service teachers' willingness to take part in any effort to foster sustainable education and this might provide insight into how long the improvements in attitudes last.