Monday, August 31, 2009

Elementary: Databases and Spreadsheets

I was not really introduced to databases and spreadsheets until my high school course, Computer Applications. Before then, we had only used computers in junior high for typing practice/exercises, Microsoft Word, and Powerpoint. After reading Chapter 11, I found that it would have been beneficial for me to have been at least introduced to them in elementary grades. As the chapter states, it is important for elementary students to "be proficient in the use of databases as tools for retrieving information" (p.145). As teachers, we do not need to teach how to create databases or how to be a master at spreadsheets, just how to be familiar with these tools.

It was interesting to learn that as teachers we could put children at risk if we do not teach them skills for accessing online databases and using search engines effectively, because as the internet continues to grow, so do the inaccurate or biased resources inside it. Spreadsheets should be a part of elementary curriculum as well because it introduces a tool that will probably be used more than once in their future. It is a great, simple, and fun way to introduce using a computer. I also believe that it helps students with organizational skills and helps "tie the lesson up". For example, the graphing activities on page 149 would be an excellent closure/ending statement to any lesson.

It is interesting to keep in mind that what our parents learned in second grade, we most likely learned in first grade. It may not have been as big of a deal if our parents did not attend/finish college, but today, the pressure to attend college is much higher. Our society is fast-paced and ever-growing. Introducing databases and spreadsheets at an elementary level correlates with this speed, which is needed!


Danielle said...

Your comment about the progression of education today in comparison to that of a few generations ago struck me interesting. They say that each generation should be smarter due to the reduction of lead and other harmful toxins, but the advancement of technology is probably another reason education is able to advance as it is.

Katelyn said...

I thought it was very interesting to read in the chapter about how it can even be harmful to children to not show them how to properly use databases. You mentioned that by using this technology, it can greatly enhance a child's organizational skills. I never thought of this. It is interesting that this sort of technology can enhance a child's abilities at such a young age.