There is an ongoing effort in statistics to shift instruction from a focus on procedural calculations to skills such as statistical thinking, problem solving, interpretation, and evaluation. Along with this shift, there is a growing understanding that students often gain only a superficial understanding of the foundational concepts in statistics (e.g., variability, sampling distributions, statistical inference) in traditional introductory statistics courses. An interactive simulation environment has the potential to allow students to focus on these higher-order skills and foundational concepts without getting unnecessarily bogged down with symbols and calculations. This breakout session with demonstrate the proof-of-concept version of the “game” developed with two years of funding from ATAC and discuss where we go from here.


Dr. Sheila Barron started the Statistics Outreach Center (SOC) in 2006 with support from the Iowa Measurement Research Foundation, Iowa Testing Programs, and the College of Education. The SOC provides statistical consulting services to faculty, staff, and graduate students conducting quantitative research for publication. As head of the SOC, Dr. Barron conducts consulting on a wide variety of projects, facilitates the acquisition of Iowa Testing data (K-12) for use in research aimed at advancing our understanding of student achievement, and oversees advanced graduate students in Educational Measurement and Statistics who serve in the SOC as statistical consultants-in-training.

Dr. Barron’s primary research interest is in statistic education in all its forms. She has served as an assistant professor or adjunct assistant professor for sixteen years teaching introductory and intermediate level applied statistics courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level as well as courses on the use of statistical software. She is active in the statistics education reform movement and has developed active learning sections of Introduction to Statistics and Elementary Statistics and Inference. She is currently developing an online Elementary Statistics Course which will use real data from University of Iowa entities (i.e., Hancher) to promote student interest in statistics as well as an appreciation of the relevance of data analytic skills in a broad spectrum of careers.