Content Tech: Identifying Similarities and Differences

Content Tech
Ideas for Technology Use in the Classroom

In an ongoing look at the book, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, the next strategy is identifying similaritities and differences. Graphic organizers, including venn diagrams, are once again are great tools to use for this strategy. However, I’m going to focus on how spreadsheet software can also be a very useful tool to support identifying similarities and differences.

Spreadsheets (such as Excel) allow very easy input of data into columns and rows. With a few clicks, charts can be created that show the trends in the data in a much more readable fashion.

An example is the 6th grade weather skinny book done each year. As part of the book, students have to track weather patterns between two cities for 10 days, and analyze the trends. Using Excel, students enter the dates, high, and low temperatures for both cities. The data in text form is difficult to visualize, but by using the Chart Wizard in Excel, the students quickly create graphs that allow for easier comparison of weather trends between the chosen cities.

The charting features of Excel can be useful in many areas to help students identify similiarties and differences.