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Topic: Topic 1 - Effective Software

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Subject:   Spreadsheets from the inside
Author: Ian
Date: Mar 31 2003
Hi Andy,

>I find, however, that the kids who havent'
>been exposed to spreadsheets before don't
>get it when their first exposure is in the
>book.  Getting them onto the machines and
>talking about cells and formulas seems
>*essential* for them to be able to do any
>book work with spreadsheets!

Forgive me if this is a hopelessly low-tech solution, but have you considered
getting the whole class to simulate a spreadsheet?  Line them up in rows and
columns, and have each student keep track of a value or formula, to give them a
sense what for the cells are 'doing', how changes are propagated, and so on.

If they can learn to 'think like cells', explanations in books might seem much
clearer than they do now.  This would also allow you to discuss central ideas
without getting caught up in the syntax and conventions of a particular
spreadsheet program.

It's not a replacement for hands-on experience with actual spreadsheets, but
it might be a way to get the ball rolling for the whole class at once.


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