Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chapter 11, Elementary Databases & Spreadsheets

Chapter 11 discussed the importance of at the very least introducing how to use both databases and spreadsheets to elementary students. It's key that elementary students understand that these two resources are tools for retrieving information. I remember that I only used web search engines and library records as a fourth and fifth grade student solely for assigned research projects. The chapter brought up a good point about not all schools have librarians or computer teachers that are qualified and can teach elementary students how, why, and when to use databases or spreadsheets. I believe that it then becomes teachers' responsibility to ensure that their students learn the skills of selecting, evaluating, and citing sources. Personally, I could not teach a class how to create their own spreadsheet using Excel or another program because I don't know enough about how to correctly make a spreadsheet. I'm hoping that after this course I will have this knowledge because I definitely don't want to be a teacher that avoids incorporating vital resources that students should be aware of in the classroom.

This chapter included an actual fifth grade lesson plan that enables students to research data and then record their information using a spreadsheet application. This lesson plan teaches the students how to collect and analyze their data using both reliable web search engines and spreadsheet application. I think that lessons incorporating the students active participation will help the students retain how to correctly use these resources and will better prepare them in the future. I never thought about introducing databases and spreadsheets at the elementary level, but after reading this chapter I feel that it's important for students to learn how to apply and use these resources that are commonly seen in society today.

Chapter 11, Math

When reading this chapter, I thought about my 8th grade probability class. We did not use any technology to learn the concepts. I learned how to find mean, median, and mode very well, but I did not understand how changing one point would affect the mean, median, and mode. I remember doing practice problems where one data point was changed, but instead of focusing on the change that happened, I focused on the busy work. We did all the problems by hand, so what stuck in my mind was how to find an answer, not what the answer actually meant.
With technology, I could have understood the importance of actually computing the average and what an average means instead of following the steps to get a number. I think it's important to learn the steps and then expand on those steps by putting them into data spreadsheets.
It seemed like Mrs. Remille introduced mean, median, and mode before spreadsheets, because her students were able to use their knowledge of mean, median, and mode to guide them through the spreadsheet process and interact with the teacher. They even used their previous knowledge of mean, median, and mode, to help learn a completely new topic--standard deviation. I LOVED how Mrs. Remille guided her students to the answers instead of telling them throughout this chapter. She expanded her class's knowledge of topics they already knew and allowed them to find a definition of a new, more advanced topic.
This is definitaly how I would want to use technology.