Complex Stats, Simple Tech

Activity: Complex Stats, Simple Tech

Submitted by Theodore Svoronos, Advanced Quantitative Methods I 


  • The goal of the activity was to get the students comfortable with understanding the effects of changes on confidence intervals, a concept they had learned about in theory prior to the class.

Class: API 209 – Health Policy


This course was designed for MPA-ID students at the Kennedy School of Government to introduce students to probabilities and statistical inference with an orientation to policy analysis. This particular single-class activity centered on confidence intervals. To get acquainted with the statistical content before the class, the students watched animated videos produced by the instructor ( The instructor used an iPad and handouts to enhance learning in the class.


Before Class Preparation:

  • Instructor prepares the handouts with setup of the problem that will be filled in by students during class
  • This activity had a structure for the exercise. The prompt was for students to visualize the impact on a confidence interval of various changes in the underlying population and draw it on their handout.
  • There were 3 blank axes for 3 different changes, and the students had to draw the change for each example
  • Students watch animated videos to visualize in-class activity

In Class Activity:

  • Using an Apple TV, the instructor wirelessly streams an iPad to a projector –the GoodNotes mobile application helps with taking notes on the iPad
  • The problem is projected on the screen, at which point students work in groups to solve the problem on their own handouts
  • The instructor walks around the room and checks in on students’ progress
  • The instructor chooses a particularly well-drawn diagram, snaps a photo of it with the iPad, then projects it on the screen as an example for the class
  • The embedded student diagram can then be annotated to highlight salient points

De-brief & Follow-Up:

  • The digital handout is then shared and can be used in future
  • Students enjoy integration of technology and collaboration


  • Apple TV, iPad (use AirPlay), GoodNotes application