Using spreadsheets in the classroom


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There are many educational uses of spreadsheets that encourage higher-order thinking and help visual learners. And, they are useful in a variety of subject areas in addition to mathematics.

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  • Spreadsheets help you to: Gather and enter data. Format data. Work with numbers, formulas, and functions. Use proofing tools. Emphasize your point with charts. According to Jonassen (2000), electronic spreadsheets were originally designed to automate paper-based ledger systems.
  • “ Spreadsheet” software programs are used to record data and also used as a tool for analyzing data. A worksheet is an Excel document containing rows and columns of information that can be formatted, sorted, analyzed, and charted. Building a worksheet involves entering information, adding formulas, and saving your data. You can even add hyperlinks to your worksheet to access supporting files on your hard disk or on the Internet.
  • Spreadsheets have three primary functions:
  • Refer to page 88 – Mills & Roblyer book.
  • Excel is a productivity tool for storing numbers and computations and a research tool for analyzing, processing, and reporting data. It is useful for problem-solving and decision-making learning activities.
  • “ Spreadsheets should be used in the classroom because they are a tool that integrates technology into the school environment, provides concrete ways to explore abstract concepts, enhances the class setting for visual learners and younger students, and promotes higher-order thinking skills.” (Lewis 2001, p. 1) Spreadsheets facilitate active, collaborative learning and critical thinking by providing tools that empower students to collect information, look at it in different ways, and share it with others. “ In our increasingly technological world, it is becoming more and more important to integrate technology into the classroom. In addition, it is essential to do this as early as possible. Today’s students have the skills necessary to begin working with technology at an early age. Spreadsheets are one of many ways to introduce younger students to the world of technology. At the same time, spreadsheets also offer challenging opportunities to integrate technology into the schoolwork of older students.” (Lewis 2001, p.2)
  • There are many formulas that help you calculate or analyze everything from finances to statistical sampling plans. When you combine several steps in a formula, they are performed in a specific order. Excel starts calculating from the left to the right according to the following order of operations: as listed. For examples and meanings of calculation operators in formulas, just click on the Office Assistant and then type Operators . P lease E xcuse M y D ear A unt S ally. Parenthesis – Exponents – Multiplication – Division – Addition - Subtraction
  • As you can see, spreadsheets are not just part of the math curriculum. They can be used in interdisciplinary units of instruction.
  • There are tons of resources available on the Internet.
  • Hold up book and reiterate how all lessons SHOULD correlate with Academic Content Standards and National Technology standards.
  • Using spreadsheets in the classroom

    1. 1. Using Spreadsheets in the Classroom Pat McCauley Revised: September 2010 NOTE: Certain materials are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the multimedia fair use guidelines and are restricted from further use.
    2. 2. What is a Spreadsheet? <ul><li>Definition: A table of values arranged in rows and columns. Each value can have a predefined relationship to the other values. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    3. 3. Three Primary Functions <ul><li>Storing data </li></ul><ul><li>Performing calculations </li></ul><ul><li>Presenting information </li></ul>
    4. 4. Instructional Uses of Excel <ul><li>Demonstrations </li></ul><ul><li>Student Products </li></ul><ul><li>Support for problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Storing and analyzing data </li></ul><ul><li>Projecting grades </li></ul>
    5. 5. Productivity Uses of Excel <ul><li>Recording and maintaining student grades </li></ul><ul><li>Administering classroom budgets </li></ul><ul><li>Maintaining attendance charts </li></ul><ul><li>Creating charts and graphs </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrating numerical, statistical, and logical concepts and computations </li></ul><ul><li>And much more </li></ul>
    6. 6. Why should spreadsheets be used in the classroom? <ul><li>Provides concrete ways to explore abstract concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Effective with visual learners and younger students </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes higher-order thinking skills </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes collaboration </li></ul>
    7. 7. Order of Operations in Excel <ul><li>() Parentheses </li></ul><ul><li>- Negative number if used with one operand </li></ul><ul><li>% Percentage </li></ul><ul><li>^ Exponentiation </li></ul><ul><li>* and / Multiplication and division </li></ul><ul><li>+ and - Addition and subtraction </li></ul><ul><li>& Connects two text values to produce one </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous text value </li></ul><ul><li>= Equal to, < Less than, <= Equal to or less than, > Greater than, >= Equal to or greater than, <> Not equal to </li></ul>
    8. 8. Single Use Spreadsheets <ul><li>Your students can create spreadsheets designed to accomplish a single task. </li></ul>
    9. 9. More Spreadsheet Examples
    10. 10. Graphing Themes <ul><li>Favorite Things – books, cereal, color, holiday, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>How many? – Trees of different kinds, Games won/lost, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Measurements – Inches of rain/snow, blocks/miles to school, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Dividing things up – How money is spent, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>How things change over time – Plant’s height over several weeks, length of shadows throughout the day, etc. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Internet Resources
    12. 12. Bibliography <ul><li>Lewis, P. (2006). Spreadsheet Magic, 2 nd ed . Includes CD-ROM with Lesson Templates and Samples . Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). </li></ul><ul><li>Mills, S.C. & Roblyer, M.D. (2006). Technology tools for teachers: A Microsoft® Office Tutorial , 2 nd ed . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall. </li></ul>