Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How I would use Spreadsheets in Education
Include: -How I would use online tutorials in the classroom
-A link

I have used spreadsheets before but only in a social statistics course. At first I thought it would be way too difficult to implement them into elementary school subjects because most of the things I learned how to do on spreadsheets were very complex and took me a long time to figure out. After reading through the links I have realized that spreadsheets have many other uses and that, yes, elementary students can make use of them just as good as university students but of course, in different ways.

For my own use, as a teacher, I would use spreadsheets for keeping track of marks, missed assignments, creating checklists and other class management ideas. I am always suspicious of technology though because sometimes things get erased (like at the university study centre when the system shuts down and people have to start all over again at 2 a.m.) so I think I would also have paper copies of really important information.

For the students, I would first use spreadsheets in Math. I do not know exactly how I would use them but after teaching some basic math concepts the pencil/paper way, I would then let the students use spreadsheets in a to add a little differentiated learning to math – more than often less people are good and math and even less people enjoy it so incorporating this tool would be beneficial to some students.

Other ways I would use spreadsheets would be for timelines, weather graphing, interview information, and having students manage finances if there was some type of fake store in the classroom or fundraiser going on. Those are all I can think of as of now. I wonder if my TA uses them in any way-because maybe I will have some other ideas when I do my practicum.

If I had to teach my students about spreadsheets I would send them to an online tutorial to help in explaining the basics. I would have it up on a screen and we would navigate it together. I have two favorites. The first is “School Spreadsheet Safari” at http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110054/ and the other one is called “The A to Z of Spreadsheets” found at http://www.mathsnet.net/a2zofssheets.html . The first is one to use in elementary because it is simple and has great graphics. The second link would be for older kids-maybe junior high.

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