—Spreadsheets made their first appearance for
personal computers in 1979 in the form of VisiCalc, an
application designed to help with accounting tasks. Over the
years the application area for spreadsheets has multiplied. One
application that is becoming more pronounced is in the teaching
and learning of pupils and students. A Spreadsheet can be used
as a powerful learning tool for both primary and secondary
school pupils. Spreadsheets offer concrete ways to explore
abstract concepts in mathematics and other subjects.
Mathematical ideas are conveyed in several different ways
using pictures, colored squares, and number lines. A
spreadsheet can be a helpful tool for visual learning. Using
spreadsheets also promotes higher order thinking skills.
Spreadsheets contain a variety of formulas, which can be used
in teaching mathematics. These formulas can be generalized, so
that students can see how the outcome is changed when one of
the variables in the formula is altered. The spreadsheet tool also
promotes the development of problem solving skills and
supports "What if..." type questions. Apart from using
ready-made formulas pupils can make up their own formulas to
manipulate numbers. This paper proposes the use of Ms Excel in
the teaching and learning of Algebra in secondary schools. The
paper gives a specific example on how a topic such as matrices
can be delivered using Ms excel.
—Algebra, education, matrices, Microsoft Excel
(Ms Excel), spreadsheets.
The authors are with the Copperbelt University, Zambia (e-mail:
Cite: Nchimunya Chaamwe and Langstone Shumba, "Spreadsheets: A Tool for e-Learning — A Case of Matrices in Microsoft Excel," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 6, no. 7, pp. 570-575, 2016.