Applications of Spreadsheets in Education The Amazing Power of a Simple Tool


by

Mark A. Lau , Stephen J. Sugden

DOI: 10.2174/97816080527691110101
eISBN: 978-1-60805-276-9, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60805-592-0



Recommend this eBook to your Library

Indexed in: Scopus

This e-book is devoted to the use of spreadsheets in the service of education in a broad spectrum of disciplines: science, mathematics...[view complete introduction]

Table of Contents

Foreword

- Pp. i

Deane Arganbright

Download Free

Preface

- Pp. ii-iv (3)

Mark Lau and Stephen Sugden

Download Free

Contributors

- Pp. v-vi (2)

Mark Lau and Stephen Sugden

Download Free

Fault Analysis in Power Systems

- Pp. 3-17 (15)

Mark A. Lau and Sastry P. Kuruganty

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Use of Spreadsheets for Analyses in Structural Engineering

- Pp. 18-40 (23)

Nelson Lam

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Optimal Control of Dynamical Systems

- Pp. 41-63 (23)

Mark A. Lau and William E. Singhose

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Spreadsheet Conditional Formatting Illuminates Investigations into Modular Arithmetic

- Pp. 64-83 (20)

David Miller and Stephen Sugden

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Computational Problem Solving in Context: From Arithmetic Sequences to Polygonal-like Numbers

- Pp. 84-106 (23)

Sergei Abramovich

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Enzyme Kinetics for Novice Learners: Numerical Simulation in Excel

- Pp. 107-115 (9)

Scott A. Sinex and Barbara A. Gage

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Project Management Spreadsheet Gaming Application

- Pp. 116-139 (24)

Wee Leong Lee

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Teaching Portfolio Theory in an Equilibrium Setting with the Aid of Spreadsheet Tools

- Pp. 140-158 (19)

Clarence C.Y. Kwan

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Forecasting with Innovation Diffusion Models: An Updated Example from the Telecommunications Industry 1994-2009

- Pp. 159-172 (14)

John F. Kros and S. Scott Nadler

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

School Mathematics with Excel

- Pp. 173-240 (68)

Jan Benacka

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Graduates’ Use of Technical Software in Financial Services

- Pp. 241-260 (20)

Timothy Kyng, Leonie Tickle and Leigh Wood

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Professional Development in Electricity Markets with Spreadsheet Models

- Pp. 261-273 (13)

Elliot Tonkes

View Abstract Purchase Chapter

Subject Index

- Pp. 274-279 (6)

Mark A. Lau and Stephen Sugden

Download Free

Foreword

A little over 30 years have passed since the first spreadsheet, VisiCalc, made its appearance as an exciting and effective computer tool for accounting and business modeling. In the ensuing years, educators have increasingly recognized that the spreadsheet has extraordinary potential for other applications as well. Today, not only are spreadsheets, as exemplified by Microsoft Excel, among the most widely-used modeling and mathematical tools of the workplace, but they also find abundant use in diverse areas of education. In addition to business-related areas, usage flourishes in mathematics, the natural and social sciences, engineering, and many other areas. The spreadsheet's natural, approachable tabular format and its operations that are acquired readily make it accessible to students. With their formidable graphics features, user tools, and programming capabilities, spreadsheets are effective tools for teachers, students, and researchers.

Yet, even today the value of spreadsheets in education is not always fully recognized. To address that situation, this book supplies readers with a substantial variety of educational applications for spreadsheets, from fields such as engineering, mathematics, science, and business. The diverse applications show two principal ways of using a spreadsheet. First, it is a natural tool for designing applications directly from first principles and then experimenting with the resulting model. Second, it provides an accessible way to implement models and algorithms that are first derived analytically by traditional methods. In either way, a major advantage of the spreadsheet approach is to make more topics accessible to students that may otherwise be too advanced for them.

Using the book's applications, instructors and students can investigate and interrogate the various models in the traditional "What if . . .?" spreadsheet manner by varying its parameters values. They also can visualize the results in both the attractive graphs and the well-designed spreadsheet displays that are presented.

The examples provided include a number that are of a sophisticated nature, showing how spreadsheet usage can be extended to more complex problems. Several examples examine models that use a difference equation approach that is natural for the spreadsheet medium to implement numerical analysis algorithms for topics coming from calculus, linear algebra, and ordinary and partial differential equations.

Throughout the book readers also will encounter the use of powerful tools provided on a spreadsheet such as Excel, including built-in and user-designed functions, matrix operations, a solver, sliders, and VBA programming. Finally, in addition to providing a wealth of useful examples, each chapter contains numerous references and a list of other related topics and problems to pursue, as well as ways in which spreadsheet usage can be incorporated into the classroom, assignments, and group projects. This book represents a very useful contribution to the literature on the educational uses of spreadsheets.

Deane Arganbright
Martin, Tennessee, USA
and Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea


Preface

This e-book is devoted to the use of spreadsheets in the service of education in a broad spectrum of disciplines: science, mathematics, engineering, business, and general education. The effort is aimed at collecting the works of prominent researchers and educators that make use of spreadsheets as a means to communicate concepts with high educational value.

Spreadsheets have been around since the late 70s. They were initially conceived as office productivity tools, most notably in accounting applications. Over time, spreadsheets evolved to incorporate a wealth of functions to appeal to the scientific community. Applications of spreadsheets in different branches of science and engineering are continually being reported in many scholarly journals.

In recent years, a shift in learning paradigms towards a more constructivist education has incited researchers and educators to find new approaches to education in science, mathematics, and engineering. This trend is not confined to the USA only, but it seems that it is more widespread around the globe. It is in this context, that applications of spreadsheets in education, from primary to university levels, are gaining marked prominence, as evidenced by the number of journal publications and presentations at technical conferences.

This e-book brings some of the most recent applications of spreadsheets in education and research to the fore. We assume that the reader is already familiar with the basics of electronic spreadsheets. To offer the reader a broad overview of the diversity of applications, carefully chosen examples from different areas have been included. Applications have been organized in four parts, each containing three chapters:

  • Part I: Engineering

    Chapter 1 presents fault analysis in power systems, a common topic in power system courses. Symmetrical and unsymmetrical short circuit currents are computed using a spreadsheet. The determination of these currents provides valuable information for selecting the appropriate protection equipment in a power system.

    Chapter 2 shows how to implement spreadsheets for structural analysis. The topic is relevant to many branches of engineering, namely, civil, mechanical, aerospace, and structural engineering. Spreadsheet models for analyzing beams, walls, frames, and multi-degree-offreedom systems are presented.

    Chapter 3 discusses optimal control of dynamical systems. The minimum principle of Pontryagin and the numerical solution of differential equations are illustrated with spreadsheets. In addition, an interesting example motivated by research (control of a flexible structure via command shaping) is presented in this chapter.
  • Part II: Mathematics and Sciences

    Chapter 4 illustrates modular arithmetic, a topic that is relevant to mathematicians and computer scientists. This chapter makes use of the conditional formatting of spreadsheets to reveal interesting patterns in modular arithmetic.

    Chapter 5 presents computational problem solving in context. In this chapter, some amusing problems involving difference equations, number sequences, and polygon-like numbers are solved with the help of spreadsheets.

    Chapter 6 introduces enzyme kinetics to chemistry, biology, and biochemistry students. This chapter includes the kinetics of enzyme reactions, linear and non-linear regression analyses, experimental error, and the effects of inhibitors.
  • Part III: Management Sciences

    Chapter 7 describes a project management gaming application. The project management game is designed as a teaching tool to allow players to experience project management in an interactive and fun atmosphere. The game exposes players to project planning, budgeting, resource allocation, decision making, and many other aspects of IT projects in a very realistic manner.

    Chapter 8 introduces mean-variance portfolio theory, which is part of the core curriculum of modern finance in business education. In particular, this chapter presents an asset pricing model in an equilibrium setting. Several spreadsheet features in matrix operations are used to illustrate the computational task involved.

    Chapter 9 presents a research study on the innovation diffusion model and the life cycle of a high technology product applied to the sales of modems from 1994–2009, including successive generations of modems: 14.4k, 28.8k, 56k, broadband less than 3.6Mbps, and broadband greater than 3.6Mbps. The model is used by managers to understand the development of new products and their life cycle.
  • Part IV: General Education

    Chapter 10 exploits the graphical capabilities of spreadsheets to enhance the teaching and learning of school mathematics. Topics presented in this chapter include introductory calculus, functions, linear algebra, conics, and stereometry.

    Chapter 11 reports a research study on the use of technical software, including spreadsheets, by graduates of actuarial studies programs in Australia. The chapter suggests some implications for universities wishing to design curriculum to prepare students for careers in the financial services industry.

    Chapter 12 presents a case study illustrating the physical dispatch algorithm used by Australia’s electricity market operator (AEMO) to determine which power plants to dispatch into the grid and the resultant electricity spot price. The spreadsheet model presented in this chapter is used in professional development workshops.


Some of these applications make use of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a versatile computer language that further expands the functionality of spreadsheets.

The chapters contained herein were contributed by prominent researchers and educators who made creative use of spreadsheets as a research, teaching, and/or learning tool. The reader can download the spreadsheet models presented in this e-book from the publisher's website. The breadth of applications will provide the reader with a fresh look at the amazing power and the simplicity of spreadsheets and the VBA programming environment. We hope that the material included in this e-book will inspire readers to devise their own applications and enhance their teaching and/or learning experience, and share our passion for spreadsheets.

Acknowledgments

First and foremost, we wish to acknowledge our great debt to our contributors for sharing their expertise. We are grateful to the following people for their valuable comments and diligence in reviewing this e-book: John Baker (Natural Maths, Australia), Oscar Chavez (Mathematics Education Program, University of Missouri, USA), Greg Cranitch (School of Information Technology, Bond University, Australia), Marjorie Darrah (Department of Mathematics, West Virginia University, USA), Neville de Mestre (Emeritus Professor, School of Information Technology, Bond University, Australia), Therese Donovan (Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Vermont, USA), Adrian Gepp (School of Business, Bond University, Australia), Kieran Lim (School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Deakin University, Australia), Thomas Overbye (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA), Malcolm Peck (Managing Director, The Carnot Group, Australia), Warren Richards (Head of Department of Mathematics, Moreton Bay College, Australia), Vladimir Romanenko (North Western Institute of Printing, St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design, Russia), Geoff Smith (Department of Mathematics, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia), Michael Steele (Faculty of Business, Division of Economics and Statistics, Bond University, Australia), and to the anonymous peer reviewers appointed by Bentham Science Publishers. We also want to thank Salma Sarfaraz and Hina Wahaj of Bentham for their assistance in making this project a success.

Mark Lau
Universidad del Turabo, Puerto Rico, USA
mlau@suagm.edu

Stephen Sugden
Bond University, Queensland, Australia
ssugden@bond.edu.au

List of Contributors

Editor(s):
Mark A. Lau
Universidad del Turabo
USA


Stephen J. Sugden
Bond University
Queensland
Australia




Contributor(s):
Sergei Abramovich
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
State University of New York at Potsdam
Potsdam
New York
USA


Jan Benacka
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Constantine the Philosopher University
Nitra
Slovakia


Barbara A. Gage
Department of Physical Sciences and Engineerin
Prince George's Community College
Largo
Maryland
USA


John F. Kros
Department of Marketing and Supply Management
East Carolina University
Greenville
North Carolina
USA


Sastry P. Kuruganty
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Universidad del Turabo
Gurabo
Puerto Rico
USA


Clarence C.Y. Kwan
DeGroote School of Business
McMaster University
Hamilton
Ontario
Canada


Timothy Kyng
Department of Actuarial Studies
Macquarie University
New South Wales
Australia


Nelson Lam
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Melbourne
Victoria
Australia


Mark A. Lau
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Universidad del Turabo
Gurabo
Puerto Rico
USA


Wee Leong Lee
School of Information Systems
Singapore Management University
Singapore


David Miller
Department of Mathematics
West Virginia University
Morgantown
West Virginia
USA


S. Scott Nadler
College of Business
University of Central Arkansas
Conway
Arkansas
USA


Scott A. Sinex
Department of Physical Sciences and Engineering
Prince George's Community College
Largo
Maryland
USA


William E. Singhose
The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta
Georgia
USA


Stephen J. Sugden
Faculty of Business
Bond University
Queensland
Australia


Leonie Tickle
Department of Actuarial Studies
Macquarie University
New South Wales
Australia


Elliot Tonkes
Director of Risk and Analytics
Energy Edge Pty Ltd
Brisbane
Australia


Leigh Wood
Faculty of Business and Economics
Macquarie University
New South Wales
Australia




Advertisement


Related Journals



Related Books



Webmaster Contact: urooj@benthamscience.org Copyright © 2016 Bentham Science