Spreadsheet intuition

Because he no longer fits up chimneys I am having to retrain my eldest (he’s 8) in the delicate art of the spreadsheet.

He’s not a total nooB as they do plenty of computing at school, but I don’t think they have looked at spreadsheets.

Anyway he built a rota for looking after the rabbits in double quick time. In particular I was struck by how after I showed him a couple of simple things most of the rest seemed to come intuitively. He certainly knows about spell checking! nuw beding -> new bedding.

I am convinced that the grid approach is trivially easy for almost anyone to understand. The idea of copying across and/or copying down seems totally natural. The idea that relative position is important also seemed obvious.

Has anyone seen any highbrow research into Human Computer Interaction with a grid versus other approaches?

Of course everybody is ignoring the rota.

Bear in mind if you are looking for some junior level consulting from Codematic, it will be seriously junior!



3 Responses to “Spreadsheet intuition”

  1. Rob Bruce Says:

    Did he manage to work out how to paste without a stupidly big toolbar button staring him in the face?

  2. Patrick O'Beirne Says:

    “Has anyone seen any highbrow research into Human Computer Interaction with a grid versus other approaches?”
    Yup, google for just those words.
    A lot of attention from teachers and educational psychologists in primary / secondary education.
    If you like I can dig into my Eusprig archives for some links.

  3. Al Gill Says:

    Yep – Excel is a really great product that is very intuitive and easy to learn. [And no – I’m not paid by MS and I do remember (nostalgically) certain other products.]

    Of course this also means that he’ll pretty soon be using more advanced features and possibly progressing to things like writing macros in an attempt to illicitly change the rota so that his siblings clean the rabbits. Naturally, this puts a lot of computing power in the hands of somebody quite inexperienced so you may shortly find that (owing to some unforeseen macro-facilitated cut and paste) the rota has the rabbits cleaning your son’s room…..

    Al G

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