Relative Advantage of Spreadsheets and Databases

When thinking about the term spreadsheet, our first thoughts are often of complicated formulas, pie charts and graphs, along with tables that go on for pages. While spreadsheets certainly hold their purpose in performing calculations, they also provide a powerful tool for organizing and visualizing information. Once entered, the data can be turned into a chart, graph or even flashcards using Google Docs and Gadgets! Here are some of the advantages of using spreadsheets and databases in the classroom:

Bring Math to Life

According to an article on Education.com, studies show that many math teachers report student improvement in areas such as algebra, calculus, meteorology and statistics when incorporating spreadsheets into their curriculum (Education.com, 2010). Spreadsheets help students to understand key concepts through formulas, easy substitution and the ability to visualize numbers into graphs.

Organize Information

Sometimes the most important information are just the facts. Spreadsheets provide an easy vehicle for students to input information such as U.S. Presidents, State information, Biographical information, popular movies and more. Most spreadsheet applications provide tools for sorting information. For example, students can easily see which president had the longest term or what state has the third highest population with the click of a button.

Track and Practice Key Concepts

Through the use of Google Docs and Gadgets, students can easily input vocabulary words and then receive a set of flashcards. They can also highlight words that they have mastered and those that need practice, making studying more focused.

Stay Engaged

Students can use spreadsheet to track and ask “what-if” questions over their class grades, keep a list of group partners and their contact information, create a self-reflection survey and plan out assignment due dates.

Resources:

The impact of spreadsheets in education. (n.d.). Education.com. Retrieved October 8, 2012, from http://www.education.com/reference/article/impact-spreadsheets-education/

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