The mathematics we require for 21st century jobs and life is focused on asking What if… and not on What is ___. It uses spreadsheets as What if… (function) machines not paper and pencils to find What is___. We no longer need to train our students to be rapid and accurate computers, solving algorithms by hand or equations for unknowns. The mathematics that has revolutionized business over the past quarter century requires us to think functionally, with inputs, rules, and outputs, to solve new kinds of problems rich in data, and to work creatively and cooperatively to imagine productively.
Spreadsheets enable us to think about math education in entirely new ways. They enable us to learn math as a creative experience, to practice problem solving with real problems, to think about math curriculum as an elevator to give us choices not as a staircase we must climb step-by-step, and to join art and science as we learn to be patternmakers. We call our lessons “Labs” because we view spreadsheets as laboratories for experimentation. We have over 60 Labs to provide a wide range of experiences across the grade levels from 1st grade to college algebra covering a wide range of contexts and topics. We will be adding new Labs every month. So try it out with your students who are bored, frustrated, or looking for a challenge. They will find spreadsheet math a very different kind of math and a very different way to learn.
This is the most exciting work i have ever done, the fulfilment of a lifelong goal. Tell me what you think.