CSE610 - Week 3 - Excel - A Powerful Tool

Spreadsheet Skills
A Powerful Tool

   One of the major advances of personal computers in the early 1980's was the spreadsheet which appeared under the name Visicalc. Visicalc appears as a large accounting balance sheet where you could add across the rows and down the columns almost magically. And if you changed a number on the sheet all the totals would automatically change. This feature was so desirable that people would buy computer just to have and use the Visicalc program.

   In the last quarter of a century many changes have been made to the spreadsheet concept to the point where many persons don't directly use spreadsheet but instead unknowingly use the concept in other applications, typically on the Internet. Still the spreadsheet remains a basic tool on personal computers along with word processing and presentation programs.

   Because spreadsheets can be very simple or very complex, it's computational feature is very useful in the educations setting, especially when gathering data and making calculations.

   Microsoft Excel is a very popular spreadsheet and comes with many tools similar to those in Microsoft Word, and in both the PC and Mac platforms. In this class three exercises will be used to refine our skills.

Activity One - Exploring the Internet for Potential Uses in the Classroom

     Historically this course and similar courses have identified some specific projects the students to experience and practice a vaiety of features in Excel. Now there are so many specific tools to perform those traditional projects that it is time to look to the future, or at least, what is the most recent applications of Excel and spreadsheets in education.
     So the first activity is to research current uses of spreadsheets in classrooms. We will do that through journal activities, personal experiences and Internet searches. Below are some websites to consider at the start of the research. After your exploration write a brief (one or two pages) review of your findings, particularly with regard to discoveries that you can and may use in your teaching, that were new and perhaps even surprising to you and that were most useful in managing your classroom such as attendance, or grades, or personal information. Submit this in public_html by April 24.

Evergreen Washington
Bond University
Tool Kits
ERIC Digest
Spreadsheet Ideas

Activity Two - Explore Little-used Excel Features

     The second activity will be to practice using functions and special features of Excel. We will do this by creating a gradebook even though there are many other ways of finding and using gradebooks. We're using the gradebook mostly to just use some of the functions and learn to understand how some function work in general, and because as a teacher you may find yourself in a position where creating your own personalized gradebook is helpful.
     This will be done in class.

Activity Three - A Student's Project

     The third activity is the assignment under this topic: create and demonstrate an activity using spreadsheet. It may be an activity that the teacher uses for managment such as a calendar, gradebook, or roster. It may be something created by the teacher to use as a teaching tool or as a tool for the students to use. It may be an activity in which the students create the spreadsheet and use it as a part of their studies.
     The project will include a usedful activity regarding the selected audience. It will include formating to for easy visual presentation. It will include samples of little used features in the Excel program. If appropriate graphs should be included.
     This is due April 24.

Optional Pre-Assessment/Post Assessment Exercise

Detailed instructions for this exercise are on a separate webpage - www.wou.edu/~saxowsd/tech2/cse610/ss1.php.