Are there any "pros" or "cons" I have overlooked regarding using Excel as a means to introduce a range of fundamental programming concepts.
This question relates to teaching a programming module at secondary school final year level (one level below first year of university). I use Python.
Learners often have no programming or web design background. Some lack essential computer literacy skills- creating and saving files, installing applications and so on (I get a diverse group and have no say in selection) Learners are all adults, ranging typically from 21 to 61. Many have been out of education for a number of years.
Many beginners find using the terminal and IDEs to be quite alien. Add to that the need to understand key concepts and apply them, it may present a "barrier to entry". Using an application that they may have encountered before and likely have on their own computers (when they have one) may allow learners to grasp key concepts in a more "familiar" environment.
These vary widely, so rather than include "fluff" on the particular one I have to work with, I'll expand on the relevant elements below, which are likely relevant to any introductory programming course.
Relevant topics to explore in the Introduction
I'll try to be succinct but can expand on any topics in the comments
- Variables: cell ref ~ address in memory- not user friendly. Name a cell- can be used in expression, like a variable.
- Operators and BEMDAS
- Boolean AND OR NOT
- conditional statements
- built-in functions
- create a User Defined Function (possibly- not sure on this one).
Pros and Cons
I've mentioned some of the pros, as I see them. I cannot think of any cons at the moment:
Are there more pros I've missed, are there possible downsides, and has anyone tried using this before?