Excel is one of the oldest and most popular applications in computing. Initially designed for use in business, Excel also helps K-14 teachers improve their classrooms. This includes quickly organizing and creating graphic representations of data for easier analysis.
Excel gives educators a tool to help students learn to analyze large data sets. It allows for easy conversion of any chart or data into a web page, making it more convenient to share data among teachers and students in online educational settings.
Teachers can also use Excel for tasks like grade tracking and lesson planning. It is one of many classroom technologies offered through Microsoft.
What Is Excel
Microsoft developed Excel in the 1980s as a means for organizing data, creating charts and assisting with performing calculations. Businesses primarily use Excel in accounting, engineering and finance.
Typical uses for Excel include creating and tracking budgets and managing data for large projects (especially in automating repetitive computations and tasks). But while business-focused, Excel also offers ways for educators to improve their classrooms.
Benefits of Excel for Teachers in the Classroom
According to Teachnology, the primary use of Excel in the classroom is to provide a “visual representation of data that makes it easier to analyze.” Excel makes it easier for students to plot data and interpret that data.
Converting a chart or data set into a web page allows teachers to share information via the internet or for students to exchange information. Educators can also use Excel to quickly generate charts and graphs helping students to see the relationships between numbers.
Benefits of Excel for Teachers in Organizing Classrooms
The benefits of Excel for teachers go beyond supporting student learning. The application also can make work more efficient for teachers.
Grade tracking. Teachers can create an Excel spreadsheet as a grade book, tracking student grades and calculating averages. Excel streamlines sorting and organizing student data.
Lesson planning. Teachers can use Excel to plan lessons, create classroom schedules and develop timelines for the completion of student projects and assignments. Teachers can also use Excel for various lesson-related tasks, like plotting the results of a science experiment.
Budgets. Excel is an excellent application for creating a budget and managing classroom expenses.
Educational materials. Teachers can quickly create templates for various classroom activities, including tests and quizzes.
Where Can Teachers Learn How to Use Excel?
Fresno Pacific University offers a course titled “Excel: The Ultimate Information Tool.” The course focuses on using helping teachers increase their understanding of how to use Excel to achieve their goals and perform administrative activities. Educators participate in Excel-related, hands-on exercises in formulas and calculations, charting, hyperlinks, database functions, macros and publishing on the web.
The course features a wealth of practical knowledge on using Excel. Learned skills include:
- Configuring and navigating an Excel screen
- Entering, editing and deleting data in Excel
- Entering and formatting text and values in cells
- Formatting cells, including alignment, size and adding/deleting
- Performing calculations using cell reference
- Entering basic formulas using the correct syntax
- Creating, naming and rearranging worksheets
- Using built-in functions to create complex calculations
Fresno Pacific University offers several courses that introduce beginners to other Microsoft Office applications. Students who complete the “Excel: The Ultimate Information Tool” course earn three professional development credits that they can apply toward earning a Technology Skills For Educators certificate. Other courses in the certificate program focus on applications like Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop and more.