In my own schooling experience, and even in previous studies I have always had the perception of spreadsheets as large amounts of numerals accompanied by complex formulas, yuk!
However, after participating in a spreadsheet workshop based on applying the software to primary mathematics, and HSIE in it has certainly changed my opinion! This workshop topic was also refreshing as it was a chance to look at ICT topics that cover teaching and learning topics other than literacy based topics.
As presented by our workshop leaders, spreadsheets are not just created for the purpose of calculating formulas, but can be used for creating lists and tables, establishing relationships between data, and creating graphic or chart representations of data. Most importantly this can include alphabetic as well as numeric data.
A major curriculum link is mathematics, where spreadsheets can be used to cover outcomes right across the data and statistics strand. Students can display data invarious forms of graphs such as bar, line and pie graphs. Students can also demonstrate their competence in using scales and correct labeling. A engaging teaching and learning experience away from the common graph paper lessons that constantly occur.
More importantly students are working mathematically and also working towards the achievement of the particular outcomes. In collecting, displaying, and interpreting their data, student’s are problem solving, applying strategies, and reflecting. The following chart was created in excel and represents the relevant strands and sub strands associated with skills in using spreadsheets in the K-6 Classroom.
As demonstrated in our workshop teaching and learning topics from a variety of key learning areas can be incorporated into tasks. Our focus was on HSIE, and using the software to represent data on the olympic games. Other examples of data from teaching and learning topics could include health statistics in PDHPE, and data collected from investigations in Science and Technology.
The following chart presents an overview of the related skills, and teaching and learning topics in the curriculum
Another aspect of hands on data that is the use of databases. Database software are also used for the purpose of organising and establishing relationships between data. The orgnisation of data is based on the use of tables, and allows data to be stored in categories for storage and retrieval. The scope of data that can be used in databases is unlimited, and allows endless possibilities for syllabus links across the curriculum.
Activities based on databases and spreadsheets are educationally beneficial for K-6 students as it facilitates investigation and problem solving. In sorting, categorising, and analysing, students are using higher order thinking skills whilst learning about teaching and learning topics, and developing new skills.
View the following PDF document displaying Bloom’s Taxonomy
Most of all the topic of hands on data was an insightful topic which demonstrated how mathematics and science and technology can be effectively transformed by ICT.