Monday, October 17, 2005

Module 6

Spreadsheets can play a great role in education. Science and math classes tailor themselves particularly well towards the use of spreadsheets and a vast array of ICT outcomes can be accomplished by implementing the use of spreadsheets in a math or science lesson.

I would like to specifically focus on the use of spreadsheets in mathematics since I am a math major. By looking at the program of studies and some of the specific learner objectives with implementing spreadsheets into the class in mind, it should be easy to see how to use and create lessons for such activities at almost every grade level.

For example, if we were to look at the grade 7 math curriculum. Specific learner objectives state that students will:
Interpolate and extrapolate number values from a given graph.
Graph relations, analyze the result and draw a conclusion from a pattern.
The ideas that come to mind when just looking at these objectives are astounding. A teacher could use any type of data and have the student’s graph the data using excel. From the data they could draw conclusions. For example, they could have climate data for the last 50 or 100 years. By plotting the data they could see a definite warming trend. From this trend the students could predict temperatures in the future.

Online tutorials are an excellent way to introduce students to certain function’s in excel without spending a great deal of time learning about the application. During a math class, a teacher does not have one or even two days to teach the students how to use an application such as excel. Therefore, by simply using one of the many tutorials online, the students can learn the specific skill to complete the work needed. By simply spending a while surfing the internet a teacher can find a specific tutorial that they could use for their lesson. As in the example above, the teacher might use the tutorial located at http://www.functionx.com/excel/Lesson15.htm to help the students learn to graph data using excel.

In conclusion, spreadsheets can be used in all subjects to accomplish SLO’s and ICT outcomes. They are a valuable learning tool and should be used appropriately by teachers. Also, online tutorials are an excellent way to introduce students too specific functions in programs such as excel. They save time and target a specific area to ensure learning occurs.
A website of interest that includes several tutorials is http://www.functionx.com/excel/

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