Supporting teachers' pedagogical and content knowledge of statistics through distance learning
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In a world where the ability to analyze, interpret and communicate information from data are skills needed for daily life and effective citizenship, developing a statistically literate society has become a key factor in achieving the objective of an educated citizenry. Recognizing teachers' ongoing professional development and learning as a linchpin of instructional innovation and success for their students, the paper presents an EU-funded project exploits the affordances offered by ODL technologies to help improve the quality of statistics instruction offered in European schools. The project consortium has developed an online professional development course targeting elementary and middle school mathematics teachers around Europe. The course aims at helping teachers improve their pedagogical and content knowledge of statistics through exposure to innovative learning methodologies and resources, and cross-cultural exchange of experiences and ideas. A pilot delivery of the professional development course has just been completed. Twelve in-service teachers participated in the course, originating from three of the partner countries-Cyprus, Spain and Greece. To evaluate the applicability and success of the course, there was also a follow-up classroom experiment upon completion of the course. Participating teachers developed and delivered teaching episodes integrating the use of the course tools and resources provided to them. We describe the pedagogical and didactical approach underlying EarlyStatistics, the course content and structure and some preliminary findings from the pilot delivery of the course.