Category Archives: resource

Spreadsheets101

Being able to work with Spreadsheets is an important skill for today.

Today you would be crazy to do any sort of accounting and financial management or data analysis without spreadsheets!

Knowing how to get the spreadsheet to complete multiple calculations powerfully, being able to change input and have the roll on effect etc etc!

“Spreadsheets!” not just “excel”: spreadsheets take many different forms today. The activity in this post is actually a Google Spreadsheet which works the same as Excel but in the browser. They can also be collaborative and also saved as excel when you want!

A spreadsheet activity for all:

This activity for making a start on spreadsheets but also building a good skill set to really getting going with spreadsheets. The same spreadsheet can be used for the very first steps right through to those that are strong at spreadsheeting. The activity has built and refined over many years and has built in extension tasks for those that move faster.

What is covered?

In the activity you will be investigating and hopefully demonstrating an understanding of:

  • how to get spreadsheets to do the medial collecting, counting and calculating work
  • the components of a spreadsheet
  • patterns in spreadsheets
  • creating functions in Spreadsheets
  • filling patterns and functions into other cells
  • “absolute” and “relative” referencing of cells (Yep! Google it!)
  • Statistical functions for Quantitative data (remember which one quantitative was!)
  • frequency distribution tables in a more powerful way
  • further functions like standard deviation (extension)
  • categorical data and the limited statistics available

Future tasks will This task will be required knowledge for the next stage which is creating effective surveys/questionnaires, collecting data via online forms then graphing and reflecting on your results.

The Activity:

As a Google Spreadsheet:
Click on the link http://bit.ly/spreadsheets101 make sure you are logged into your Google account. Go to the “File” Menu and “make a copy”

For those without Google Accounts:
Click on the link http://bit.ly/spreadsheets101 Go to “File” Menu and  select “download as” and choose “Microsoft excel”

NOTE: spreadsheets and iPads are still not a good combination. Hopefully this will change soon! Stay Tuned!

khanacademy

A good Tool?!!:

There has been a lot of debate about resources like Khan Academy and similar sites and whether or not they are good for learning. An explore of the updated khanacademy.org site would no doubt make anyone think though with a range of options for learning or practising maths (and other subjects!!!!)

The refreshed site has interaction and tailoring for learners with feedback, hints and help as exercise are done. As a teacher/mentor the “coach” area also allows tasks to be set for those who have signed up for your classes AND you can see the interactions of those in your classes including exactly what was done, how long was taken on each area, what other resources were used, when the question was completed etc etc. More on the coach section soon!

Khanacademy has moved past being a series of lecture style videos to now be an interactive, engaging tool that is enjoyable to use with powerful feedback.

The real-life questions is impressive (always challenging as a Mathematics teacher!) BUT it is the opportunity for a tailored experience help that make it powerful, especially for the student that will not ask for help! There is no judgement as students can watch video help as many times as they like.

A good measure is always how learners engage and so far the uptake has been superb and the tailored feedback and recommendations seem to be valuable.

Alright, the question has probably been answered! YES this tool is worthwhile (and certainly worth the money as it is free!)

OK so let’s get into it:

It is free and can be used without an account BUT having an account allows you to track your progress and earn rewards. You can easily create an account with an email OR you can sign in with Facebook or Google. The latter allows us to create accounts without having to remember another username and password. If your school has a google apps for education account then this is very cool as it means you can use the same username and password as for other school log ins, #whoohoo

Setting up an account:

You can set up an account with an email address or Facebook or Google. Setting up with Google is ideal for schools with Google Apps for Education accounts, the instructions are as follows:
– Make sure you are logged in to your correct account. (Ie. your school account!)
– Go to khanacademy.org and hit the “sign in with google account” button.
– It is best if students go into their setting as and make their viewable name to be their actual name for feedback and follow up!

The pretest!

An initial pretest gives the user a starting point and recommend tasks to be done next. It is worth doing the pretest well without any help and also tick the box to say if the work has not been done before.

Coach and/or be coached!:

Now the cool bit! CLASSES! you can set up a class and track all the activity and progress of your students!
Become a coach:
* Go to “coach” in the top menu
* then “manage students” > “create class”
* it gives a code that students can use to sign up to a class!
Join a class!
Students can be added in manually by their coach OR they go to main menu>coaches>add a coach and drop a code in! VOILA!!!!

Other Notes:

– it works splendidly on iPads too including the “scratchpad” where you can write on the screen!
– students can keep their account through to uni as it covers content from year 6 to University!!!

We will also follow up with a post on the “coach area” and tools and also a post on the coding options that run in parallel in the computer science area. Hopefully you have great experiences with KhanAcademy as we have. Please comment below to share your experiences.