TECHNOLOGY IN BI-DIMENSIONAL STATISTICS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE HIGH SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS

A constant recommendation in the current curricula is the use of technology in the teaching and learning of statistics, since technology makes the work with statistical projects and investigations using real data possible, and facilitates the calculations, graphical representations, and simulation. A topic where the use of technology is especially important is correlation and regression, which extends functional dependence to random situations and can be applied in a variety of other school subjects.

The aim of this paper is to analyze the references and suggestions on the use of technology within this topic in the textbooks directed to high school students in the modality of Mathematics Applied to Social Sciences in Spain. We base on the Onto-semiotic approach to teaching and learning mathematics as a theoretical framework. In this approach, the following kinds of objects are considered in teaching: problems, language, procedures, concepts and associated properties, and arguments each of which takes specific meaning when technology is used.

The sample is composed of eight textbooks for the first year of high school in the Mathematics Applied to Social Sciences modality; these books were chosen because they are being the most used in public education in Andalucía, and are published in editorials with a great tradition and prestige. We analyzed three different uses of technology:
1) in the problem proposed and related procedures;
2) the references to Internet resources included in the textbooks; and
3) a CD that is included in many books to supplement the textbooks and includes description of technology, proposal of technological tasks or description of resources such as the spreadsheet.

While some books are very complete, we found a great variability in the use of technology. In general, references to technology are scarce; most references are related to use of calculators or to the Excel spreadsheet only; in this last case mention to graphical representation is reduced to scatter plots. Most Internet links point to didactic units or self-assessment exercises and not to data sets or simulators. Similarly, some CDs reproduce the content of the textbook in electronic form or include material which is not strictly related to technology. Since the curricular guidelines suggest promoting skills on “Mathematical competence and basic competence in science and technology” and “Digital competence”, these results indicate that the teacher is in need of supplement resources to properly use technology to teach this topic.