Monday, September 8, 2008

Databases and Spreadsheets

I really liked chapter 11 because it gave me many more ideas about how to use a spreadsheet. The only things I now know how to do with Excel are those that we learned in class, so it is very helpful to incorporate more ideas into my knowledge. I was impressed by all of the functions of Excel. I was sure they existed, but I certainly did not know how to use them. I think the quiz is an important assessment tool that I will use in the future. When I finished my quiz, I showed it to some of my family members, and they were surprised that I had done that in Excel, especially since some of them knew a lot about computers. It was fun to expose them to something new! I was more familiar with the functions of word processing, so I was excited to learn something new when we got to spreadsheets.

I agree with the book that students need to learn how to use databases because they become important tools throughout a student's grade levels. Personally I do not know the most efficient way to search a database because I never know which words to incorporate in the search. I think it is important for students to be able to find what they are looking for on the internet. I also think it is important that they learn how to use the internet safely and where to find reputable sources, and what better place to learn these things than at school where you will use them.

I like that they suggested using spreadsheets to teach older students about money management because that is something you can use throughout your life. That is an important life skill that students should learn, and it is nice to find a resource that can help you stay organized and on top of your finances. Last year, I did a project where we used Excel to make a budget sheet, and I added all the numbers up with a calculator. It would have been efficient to know that a formula could have been used instead. I also like the idea of an using Excel to make a timeline. That way the students have a hands on approach to history, and they can incorporate their own ideas and creativity to the assignment through pictures. I also like the idea of having all of the students graph about a subject, such as the weather example in the book, and track the trend later in the year. I think the chapter had a lot of useful ideas, and I can't wait to learn more.

Ch 11

I found this chapter to be extremely interesting and informative. Hamilton mentions in this chapter that teachers are hesitant to use spreadsheets and databases ,and most adults are actually unfamiliar with the tools themselves. I think this was the case with my teachers because I was never properly introduced to these programs. I only knew how to use the basic tools because I taught myself. This is really disappointing to me because there are so many benefits to using spreadsheets and databases in a classroom. I especially liked the timeline idea because a student could incorporate pictures into their timeline, along with hyperlinks that would provide them with more information about an event or person. Of course the use of timelines is not new, but I think being able to associate pictures with an event would be beneficial to a student who learns better with a visual aid.
I think most of the tools discussed in this chapter are a good way to "spice" up a lesson plan. In the two weeks of taking this class, my eyes have been opened to the possibility of using technological tools with a variety of subjects. I am just amazed at all I have learned already, especially with spreadsheets. When Professor Nillas informed us that we would be using spreadsheets all day in class, I was curious as to what she could teach us in this basic,boring program that is mostly designed for financial reasons. I was shocked to discover it was far from basic. I couldn't believe we could actually create interactive quizzes with combination tabs using a spreadsheet. I am so thankful I am taking this class because I do not want to be one of those teachers who do not think technological tools such as databases should not be taught in the elementary schools. I cannot wait to use what I am learning; I think it will make learning more fun for my students, and essentially make me a better teacher.