<Back to Articles Page
The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
Yes, Napoleon, you
have to have skills, November 25, 2D.
The 2004 film
Napoleon Dynamite swept the country and created a cult-like following. The movies main character, Napoleon
Dynamite, is a high school super-nerd who, in one scene, becomes distraught when he learns
that his friend Pedro has a date for the high school dance and he does not. In his despair, Napoleon tells Pedro that he has
little hope for finding a girl because he does not have any good skills. When Pedro asks him what he means by that, he
replies: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking
Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills. Possessing great skills, in Napoleons mind,
would make him attractive to others.
Skills are also
important for prospective and current employees to possess.
Communication, problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork skills can help
make employees attractive to organizations. Technology
and computer skills are becoming more and more important in todays workplacein
fact, word processing, e-mail, and Internet browsing skills are necessities in many
positions and occupations. One
extremely powerful, yet often overlooked and underutilized software program is the
spreadsheet program. Microsoft Excel is
probably the most widely used and available spreadsheet program around today. Although its abilities to integrate with other
Microsoft programs, like PowerPoint and Word, makes Excel useful to know, its true power
comes from its ability to automate intricate and sometimes complex quantitative
relationships among many variables. Spreadsheets
can be used to perform mathematical calculations like ordinary calculators; however, when
spreadsheets are constructed using equations instead of raw data, they can be much more
powerful and useful than a simple calculator. By
relating variables in a spreadsheet to each other through formulas, functions, and
equations, spreadsheet programs can be used to easily run what if and
probabilistic scenarioswhich are very useful for forecasting and decision making.
Using Excel, I can easily determine the grades that
my students need to earn on their final assignments for various final grades in the
course. By creating spreadsheet programs
that link all of the variables together through equations, I am able to analyze how a
change in a grade on any assignment during the semester affects the final grades. I can also easily tell students the exact grades
that they need on a final paper to earn any grade in the course. Once the formulas are written in a spreadsheet,
they can easily be copied to other cells in the spreadsheet. The additional work to calculate what
if grade scenarios for dozens or hundreds of students is not much more than for a
single student. Entering the raw grades for
the students is the most time consuming part of the process.
have become essential in many organizations. To
help your students, colleagues, or coworkers develop these critical skills, the HSU SIFE
team has developed a mobile computer lab that can come to your organization to teach
spreadsheet and other basic computer skills. If
you would like information on how to schedule on-site spreadsheet training, visit our
website at www.hsusife.com.
to Articles Page