The great part about both Excel and Google spreadsheets is that both students and teachers do not have to have previous knowledge of cell formulas in order to use them in a productive manner. The advantage to Google spreadsheets over Excel in this respect, however, is that Google allows the user to create, modify, and collaborate on one document all at the same time online.
Spreadsheets can be used in the classroom simply to organize, compare, and analyze data. This data does not even have to be numbers, but in order to use the graphing function of the program, there should be numbers. Some examples for use in the everyday classroom could be:
- collecting data on various Spanish-speaking vacation spots and organizing costs of flights, hotels, meals, excursions, etc... Various charts could also be created to compare the data
- collecting and organizing the countries and capitals of the world (in addition, could add population size, imports and exports, median income, etc...)
- collecting data on use of technology in various classrooms/schools and analyzing its use through charts
- collecting data on a variety of colleges including information on tuition, student body population, meals, athletics, and extracurricular activities...this would be a great way for juniors and seniors to narrow down their college choices!
- collect data on weather patterns on the East coast versus the West coast with daily highs and lows, precipitation, tides, etc... Students would add the data daily in the online document, and then, be able to compare the data visually in the chart or through the graphs in the program
- collect and organize data regarding family life in two different countries. Each student could put in data such as family size, dwelling type, parents' professions, types of food eaten, extracurricular activities, and even pets. Students could compare their daily life and family life to that of a student across the globe!
- collect and organize data of workout and health information in physical education classes in various countries. Students could compare types of workouts to the number of minutes/hours completed, weight loss, diet, etc...