One possibility is to teach statistics like a pirate: use R
While R has some attractive features, (open source, free, already available on our campus network), on the face of it, abandoning SPSS and possibly Excel in favour of R to improve statistics teaching seems a bit eccentric. For those who don't know, R is a front end for the mathematical programming language S. It operates from a unix-like command line structure, which will scare many students to death. No menus, no glitz. The plan would be to give students an R crib sheet and a statistics decision tree, then turn them loose on the data, assessing understanding by a mixture of numerical and theoretical questions. By stipping out the comfort factor of a familar looking GUI, would students be forced to engage with statistical principles, and ultimately, emerge with more understanding?
To get some perspective on the problem, we're getting together for a little chat this Friday (13th) at 1pm - and you're invited: #uolstats. We'll Twitter the meeting and report back here afterwards.
In the meantime, what software do you use for statistics teaching and why?