Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Try This and You'll Be Calling It Sexcel, Not Excel

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Try This and You'll Be Calling It Sexcel, Not Excel

Article excerpt

There's an anti-inspiration poster I'm fond of, a kind of antidote to those cosy memes you see passed around the web that couple a sentimental aphorism with a picture of a dolphin at dawn, or something. "Meetings," it booms. "Because all of us is stupider than one of us."

Each time I hear "it's a Marmite thing" I have to suppress a quiet rage within. Apart from anything else, Marmite love-or-hate polarity is not even true. Many of us are completely indifferent about it. The population divide is surely much more razor-sharp between those who love repeatedly saying "it's a Marmite thing" and those who loathe repeatedly hearing this glib little phrase.

A better way of conveying such polarity - certainly in teaching - is to consider something to be a "Microsoft Excel thing". Some teachers tend to become utterly besotted with it, others have to be dragged to it kicking and screaming. Very few teachers fall somewhere in the middle.

Many declare that they "hate" Excel. It's a hostility perhaps born out of its strong (and increasing) associations with expansive spreadsheets on student progress, targets and results - and the programme's subsequent links to data-obsession, extra workload and accountability.

The consequence is that many teachers never get to know - or even want to know - Excel's more sensuous and alluring qualities within. They never discover the pearls of great learning hidden in the sea below that bleak and scaly looking surface. They see Excel as the rather plain and dull sister to the seemingly more glamorous and engaging PowerPoint.

This is both cruel and unfair. PowerPoint can give you a great time, but I, for one, would always ask Excel to the prom ahead of its sometimes rather showy and shallow sibling.

Applying just one formula can open the door to whole new ways of working with a class. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.