A Pragmatic Approach to Spreadsheet Training Based Upon the “Projection–Screen” Model
Spreadsheets are part of the educational syllabus of instruction for secondary schools in Austria. They are mainly taught using applications, disregarding the fact that building spreadsheets is programming. But the programming nature of spreadsheets is undeniable. Data in cells is interconnected with a rather sophisticated formula language. Since the spreadsheet paradigm differs from common procedural or object-oriented paradigms that students may already be aware of, teaching spreadsheets is a complex task. Moreover, the data flow paradigm is a concept foreign to students or trainees.
Lack of proper paradigms or computational models even complicates the situation. Is there a so called spreadsheet didactics – and if not, how should it look like? Should teachers train spreadsheet applications or insist on building models before implementing? How should they consider the spreadsheet programming viewpoint – without students scaring away and without loosing the spreadsheet’s charm since they are said to be easy to use? This paper presents the main problem fields, presents a didactical model, and finally presents some rather pragmatic advice on how to teach spreadsheets.
KeywordsData Dependency Pragmatic Approach Graph Reduction Spreadsheet Model Data Dependency Graph
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