Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Wonderful World of Databases and Spreadsheets

Although I found the first chapter we read much more informative, I still thought that the chapter about spreadsheets and databases was interesting. As Hamilton said, "some would question whether these two tools are appropriate for elementary students" (145). I am guilty of this as well. I was skeptical when we began discussing spreadsheets being used in the elementary classrooms besides using them for math purposes.

Little did I know, databases and spreadsheets are used for many other things than mathematics. Still, I think my favorite part about Hamilton's book in general is the great ideas that are presented in each section. I love discovering new and interesting ways to use this technology! Because I am an elementary education major, I think the activity that struck me the most was acrostic poems. I loved these as a child and never realized that by using spreadsheets, much creativity and thought can be put into them. I was also interested in the way that classrooms used spreadsheets to track their reading by genre (English) while also using it to make a graph of their findings (Mathematics).

Overall, spreadsheets and databases are very functional and can be used in many different ways in the elementary classroom.

Using Databases and Spreadsheets

As I read Chapter 11, I realized how little I really know about databases and spreadsheets. Hamilton states, "databases and spreadsheets receive the least attention and use" (145). This statement was completely correct for my grade school and high school. I adequately learned how to use word processing and multimedia presentations, but we never specifically focused on spreadsheets for classroom projects. I had also never stopped to think about how simple it is for students to learn how to use databases. The word database sounds very complex and confusing, but it can be as easy as teaching students how to use Web search engines.

Another aspect that I love about this book is how many resources and ideas for lesson plans it gives you. I especially enjoy the Citation Tools because I had never heard of any of those websites. They will not only benefit my future students, but also myself as a student. As I read about the ideas it gave for Acrostics, I remember doing a similar project in grade school. The only difference for me was that we simply did it on paper. This book gave me the idea to turn Name Poems (the project we did in grade school) into a spreadsheet project. Then the students would not only be using English but also Technology to fulfill this project. Continuing this book, I plan on coming up with many more plans for future activities for my students.