Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chapter 11 Elementary Education - Databases and Spreadsheets

As someone who is not an Elementary Education major, it was interesting to read this chapter in their book. (I do not have a correlating chapter in the English book) I found it interesting how the authors focused on the necessity of elementary students being introduced to databases and spreadsheets, even though they have long been thought of as too difficult. Most schools do not have the trained librarians that they once had to help teach the students how to use these resources, so the responsibility now relies with the teacher.

In addition to learning how to use databases and spreadsheets, it is also important for the students to be able to learn how to track, graph, and interpret their own information. The more that the new types of resources are practiced and used, the more comfortable the students will be with them once they reach a higher grade level. I never thought that there were so many ways for an elementary classroom to use these resources, but looking back to my own education I now remember using graphs on the computer and Microsoft Excel to help our classes with different information for science, especially. Having learned those skills at an early age certainly benefitted my understanding of the information we were learning about. The authors emphasize the importance of learning a wide range of information using databases and spreadsheets at the elementary level, and I couldn't agree more with them. I just wonder how I would be able to incorporate these resources into my classroom as a future high school English teacher.


Carlie said...

I agree that the more students practice using these resources, the better they will understand and be able to relate them to things outside of the classroom in the future. I also think that the book is correct in saying that databases and spreadsheets should be introduced at the elementary level so at least the students can become familiar with the purpose of using the resources. However, I don't remember using web search engines as an elementary student and even in my later education careers, I never had a class where I learned how to use Microsoft Excel. I feel that I am technologically behind compared to other students because I wouldn't know where to begin using Excel. Again, I'm sure I'll be learning how to do so in this course and I think that with constant technological advancements it's important that students become more aware of how to use their available resources at a young age.

Ben D. said...

Whether or not you use spreadsheets as a learning tool, I feel you could take polls (or something along those lines) to make things more interesting. For instance, when reading a few different short stories, you could take a poll on their favorite short story they have read and then have them right a paper on their favorite one. This could help you see which stories the students enjoyed the most and how much they learned from them. If you choose not to do stories, you could do characters within a story. Then you could have them write and essay/paper about that character or even divide up the class into those groups and have them discuss their likes/dislikes of the characters. By using a spreadsheet to make a graph of these polls, I believe that the students would be more apt to discussing how they feel on that specific topic.

awilkey said...

My favorite English teacher in high school loved using technology in the classroom. She actually was lucky enough to get three computers in the back of her classroom! We used the computers mostly to play with Microsoft Word, but we also used a Publisher software that let us make flyers, posters, or even our own websites! For one project, I made my own website for Jane Austen.

In your classroom, you could use Word, Publisher, etc. to have your students make creative visual aids. On page 148 in the textbook they made an acrostic poem, you could do something like that. I also like Ben's idea of using spreadsheets to take polls and encourage students to discuss books, etc. that you read in class.