The Joys and Struggles of Teaching Google Sheets
You thought learning Google Sheets was tough. Let me share wiht you the struggles of teaching Google Sheets.
Teaching Google Sheets is a challenging, yet rewarding journey. As a teacher, you may find yourself struggling to keep up with the ever-changing features and updates of this powerful spreadsheet tool.
But despite the frustrations, creating a course on Google Sheets can be a great experience.
With its vast array of functions and capabilities, Google Sheets can help students improve their analytical and organizational skills.
In this article, I explore the ups and downs of teaching this software, and offer tips and strategies to help you navigate the challenges and reap the rewards of teaching Google Sheets.
I teach adults. You might be teaching kids. It might be a similar experience. But from my tiny little viewpoint in the world, I'm talking about here teaching adults how to use Google Sheets.
Navigating Google Sheets
One of the biggest challenges of teaching Google Sheets is keeping up with its constant updates and changes.
As a teacher, it can be overwhelming to stay on top of the latest features and functionalities. However, with some preparation and planning, you can turn this challenge into an opportunity to teach your students how to adapt to new technologies and tools.
Encouraging them to explore and experiment with different functions can help them develop problem-solving skills and prepare them for future challenges in the workforce.
Another aspect of teaching Google Sheets that can be challenging is ensuring that students have a basic understanding of spreadsheet concepts.
Many students may not have any prior experience with spreadsheets, so it's important to start with the basics and build from there. This can be time-consuming and may require additional resources, but it's crucial to ensure that all students have a solid foundation before moving on to more advanced topics.
Additionally, it's important to offer support and guidance throughout the learning process, as some students may struggle with the abstract nature of spreadsheets.
By taking the time to teach these foundational concepts and providing support, you can help students develop a valuable skill set that will serve them well in their future endeavors.
Engaging Google Sheets
Another challenge of teaching Google Sheets is making it engaging and relevant to students. Any and all students have different lives. They have different contexts in which they judge and rate "engaging content". For some want to be excited, while others just want to look over your shoulder.
It can be difficult to capture their attention and motivate them to learn when it comes to a seemingly dry subject like spreadsheets.
One way to address this challenge is by creating real-world scenarios that students can relate to and apply their newfound skills. I don't do this all the time. I find it great to create unique fantasy situations that happen to teach an important lesson.
For example, you can create a project where students have to plan a budget for a hypothetical event or track their fitness goals using Google Sheets. But creating a dashboard to figure out the day you'll die is far more interseting.
Fantasy makes the learning experience more enjoyable but Real world applications help students see the practical applications of the software in their daily lives.
By making Google Sheets more relatable and applicable, or creative and completly useless but fun and funny, you can inspire students to take a deeper interest in the subject and encourage them to explore its full potential.
Balancing Structure and Flexibility
Teaching Google Sheets requires a balance of structure and flexibility. While it's important to have a lesson plan and clear objectives, it's equally important to remain open to student input and adapt the course to their needs and interests.
Even though I'm a professional, and I work in sheets all the time. The gaps in my knowledge or even knowing what gaps in knowledge exist are hard to come by. It's hard to know what you don't know and it's equally hard to know what you know and others don't know.
Sure, this can be helped by incorporating student feedback and allow them to suggest topics or projects that they would like to explore.
Give them some agency in the learning process, you can create a more collaborative and dynamic learning environment that fosters creativity and innovation. But this will need lots of synchronous teaching. A video course can be flexible if you set up a structure that is not sequential. A series of projects that are in and of themselves fully watchable. You don't need to watch them in any particular order.
Let your courses breathe a little. People skip around. It's human nature. Let them be real people instead of automatons downloading information.
Balancing Skills & Thinking
One important aspect of teaching Google Sheets is the need to balance technical skills with critical thinking.
While it's important to teach students how to navigate the software and use its various functions, it's equally important to help them develop their analytical and problem-solving skills. This could be said for kids and leave out Adults. But I find it much more engaging to teach adults how to think. Explain concepts with analogies and metaphors. But there is far more that can be done.
This can be achieved by incorporating exercises and projects that require students to think critically about the data and information they are working with.
For example, you can ask them to analyze a dataset and draw conclusions based on the information presented. This not only helps students develop their analytical skills but also teaches them how to use data to support their arguments and make informed decisions.
What I did in my Spreadsheet Automation 101 course is create an error riddle. A really hard Apps Script example to get your head around can be daunting. And many times when someone is writing the script they will make errors. I made the errors for them. The point was to show not just "completed" work and how it is done but also how you will end up typing it out and how to figure out from the error what the problem is and how to fix it.
Instead of just going through each error and explaining it, I made a riddle. Literally took the script and made specific errors.
It's a game for adults.
By emphasizing critical thinking, you can help students develop a valuable skill set that will serve them well in their academic and professional careers.
Balancing Tech & Thought
Teaching Google Sheets can be a challenging but rewarding journey. As a teacher, it's important to keep up with updates and ensure students have a basic understanding of spreadsheet concepts.
Making the subject engaging and relevant to students through real-world and fantasy world scenarios is also crucial.
Balancing structure and flexibility by incorporating student feedback is essential, as is emphasizing critical thinking skills.
By navigating these challenges, teachers can help students develop a valuable skill set that will serve them well in their future academic and professional endeavors.