I'll chime in with Tim Erickson. There are other good teaching programs available. DataDesk is less expensive than Minitab
----- End of forwarded message from Paul Velleman -----
DataDesk is certainly a very highly regarded program. It was the favorite of the folks involved in the S.T.A.T.S. Project to retrain college math. teachers to teach statistics, and I see no reason why it would be less suitable for high school math. teachers. However, we ended up using Minitab because it ran on so many platforms, while DataDesk just ran on Macs at the time. (We wanted to be able to buy each participant a copy of the program we used at the workshop that they could take home and use there too regardless of what hardware they had.)
As to cost, I guess I would advise you to shop around and look at the bottom line. When we have done that Minitab has always been a real bargain compared to anything else available (except the free NCSS), largely because they have so many license options and give huge academic discounts. For PSC, it was $1200 a year for use by about 1200 people, or about $1 each, from a central Unix system. For S.T.A.T.S. I think we paid about $70 per person for the full PC or Mac version. The Student editions go for about $50 a copy in quantities of one at the college bookstore. Of course, none of the vendors have much experience with the high school market, so our experience may not translate. However, don't pay ANY attention to list prices of these packages -- call the company that produces the software and see what they will do for you.
I am curious as to where the idea originated that AP Stats. would favor Minitab over other software packages. Of course, the ANOVA tables and such like that Minitab prints out do not look anything like a TI-83 screen, but they are pretty generic and standard compared to other software packages. Perhaps we should try to ensure that every AP Stats. TEACHER know at least one such package well, and be at least familiar with a couple others so they have some idea of what is standard and what is a peculiarity of a particular package. If that were to happen, I think there might be far fewer people trying to teach statistics with a TI-83!-)
I do not have a financial interest in any of these products. I own full versions of Minitab and NCSS, as well as one each of the TI-80, 82, and 83, all paid for out of my own pocket. I think DataDesk is an excellent product, but I'm allergic to Macs.
_ | | Robert W. Hayden | | Department of Mathematics / | Plymouth State College | | Plymouth, New Hampshire 03264 USA | * | Rural Route 1, Box 10 / | Ashland, NH 03217-9702 | ) (603) 968-9914 (home) L_____/ firstname.lastname@example.org fax (603) 535-2943 (work)