Why don't you use Excel? When I ask this question to teachers, principals, and administrators, there are some fairly common responses. Most often "I'm not a math person" or "nobody has ever taught me." Let's face it, on the surface, Excel can look somewhat intimidating. It doesn’t help that learning how to use Excel is made to seem impossible by "How-to" books that include the word "Dummies" in the title. We are not "dummies" (and what educator would want to admit if they were).
I have other thoughts on why educators, in general, avoid learning Excel like the plague. Excel is equated with number crunching, statistics, and formulas. Isn't that what accountants and scientists do? Many educators also believe that teaching students how to use Excel is best left up to the business applications teacher, or maybe the math or physics instructors.
So, why should all educators be proficient using Excel? While using spreadsheets is great for maintaining lists (rosters, supplies, checklists), this is only the tip of the iceberg. In schools, there is enormous emphasis on using data. Unfortunately, this phrase is widely misused in education.
You see, there is really no such thing as "using" data. Data are simply raw material, in other words, just the facts. Unless the data are processed in some way, there is no informational value because it has not been made into something meaningful. Processing data involves collecting, organizing and testing it so that it can then be analyzed and eventually become information. This information can then be communicated visually using charts, graphs, or tables and in writing.
Excel provides an ideal way to collect, organize and test data with the goal of turning it into information. Contrary to popular opinion, Excel is not restricted to those in business or research, it is a vital tool for educators and students to process data and make meaning. All of Bloom’s higher order levels of learning - understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating become possible when educators and students know how to use Excel from a practical standpoint.
As a public school educator who has had the privilege of training hundreds of teachers, principals, and administrators just like yourself, I can confidently say anyone can learn to use Excel with some practical guidance. Sure, you can go online and search for tutorials (if you can find the time), or purchase a technical book filled with jargon, but very little is developed with educators in mind.
This practical guide takes a different approach.
Understanding the time crunch facing every educator, each module focuses on learning key concepts in the shortest amount of time. Clear, step-by-step directions include easy to follow video demonstrations that make learning how to use Excel painless and even kind of fun.
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