The ISTE Standard for Creativity and Innovation include the following objectives:
- Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
- Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
- Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues (i.e. equitable access to technology).
- Identify trends and forecast possibilities.
(International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), 2016)
My triggering event question was: How can students use technology to build tools to improve their academic experience? My goal was to find examples to students using technology to create new products or processes to help manage their school experience, such as grade tracking for example. From what I have been able to find, or more accurately, not find, there does not appear to be widespread interest in this topic.
Because of this, I am changing my question to: How can students use spreadsheets to model trends?
Learning how to manipulate data and model trends continues to be an important skill for students to develop. In our age of “Big Data” and the never-ending stream of information coming being thrown at us, the ability to discern what is real and what is not continues to grow in importance.
Project SUCCEED provides a sample lesson on identifying trends of both linear and exponential growth rates (Shodor, 2017). This lesson provides a solid learning experience that includes instruction on inputting data and creating calculations. This is actually the more important part at this stage of development: learning how to structure the data and create calculated fields. It is very easy to input data, create a graph, and add a trend line. Once a basic lesson like this has been conducted, students are in a position to research topics that are more interesting to them. This further sets the stage for collaborative and multi-disciplinary learning. For example, ideas put forth in a History or Social Studies class can be researched to provide more critical analysis.
Interpreting the data is an entirely different lesson that falls outside the realm of technology. This leads me to my concern about how this technology is used. Technology has made available analysis tools that require a great deal of training to utilize properly. A click of a button creates a graph, but is it the correct graph? Is it structured to tell the story the data is telling? Is the data being presented honestly? The instruction on technology is only the beginning of the lesson.
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2016). ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from ISTE: http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-students
Shodor. (2017). Excel Curriculum. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from Project Succeed: http://www.shodor.org/succeed/curriculum/apprenticeship/Modeling/Excel/LessonPlan/