The Conference Theme...
“Looking back, looking forward”
We are at a critical time in statistics education where the world of data is changing rapidly. We need to be looking ahead to how as a field we will evolve and engage with the future. At the same time, we are celebrating our tenth ICOTS and this marks a time for us to look back on the past 40 years when in 1978, ISI’s Education Committee Task Force was established to plan for the first ICOTS.
This is indeed an exciting time. It’s clear that statistics education has matured as a field. Data have become part of everyday life, vital for professions and part of our very fabric as a society. Data are used everywhere to document, evaluate, plan and persuade. The very nature of what we call “data” is not what it was 10 years ago – or even last year. Data science is emerging as a new field. And yet it is not clear if we are moving together or apart. Evidence exists that it is both. Both areas focus on variability, uncertainty and context but may approach the analysis and collection of data quite differently. In terms of education, what can we learn from each other? Where do we see ourselves going?
Looking through the first proceedings of ICOTS tells a story of a very futures-oriented conference. The geographic diversity was as alive then as it is today. The first ICOTS was held in 1982 at the University of Sheffield, UK. It consisted of 16 Topics and 70 papers and attracted over 400 delegates from 60 countries. It was led by Prof Lennart Råde, IPC Chair and Prof Vic Barnett, Chair of the Local Organising Committee. The 836 page proceedings was led by Dr David Grey and typed by Jenny Cameron (retyped from their originals to ensure that papers were all formatted the same!).
Hence ICOTS10 has the potential to bring together effort, examples, reflections, ideas, research and reviews from across the world in a collective experience that will contribute to the meaningful upholding and nourishing of statistics education and its impact in every endeavour where Statistics plays a role.