Christopher Ruel
Christopher Ruel
Community and Social Marketing, Wiley





What’s the best advice you’ve received from a colleague? What have you learned in the trenches that you would share with a new educator? We’ve compiled a list of 11 pointers for new and veteran teachers alike to keep you motivated and grounded.


Feel free to add your best teaching tips in the comments below.
    James Bowen
James Bowen
CEO, Experiential Simulations

In this latest podcast, Professor Janine Martins-Shannon, of Kean University in New Jersey, practices a student centric learning approach with the objective of students acquiring higher level cognitive reasoning skills. She has practiced this approach in both China and the US. Here she offers us  insights on different learning approaches, evaluation considerations and takeaways for both organizations looking for systems level thinkers and higher education institutions developing systems thinking in students.



James Bowen, your host, is an author, professor and CEO of Experiential Simulations, a producer of simulations for teaching entrepreneurship and ethics.


Image credit: pexels.com/skitterphoto


    Douglas Petrick
Douglas Petrick
Physics Teacher, Pittsburgh, PA

Recently, my high school hosted a Women In Science,Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) event. The day served as a jumping-off point for twenty-four of our female students to engage with six different female professionals in S.T.E.A.M.-related careers.


Throughout the day, five points, or, what I’ll call actions, were identified as commonalities between all six presenters.  If I re-purpose the S.T.E.A.M. acronym, each of the five actions fit nicely.rocket-launch-67643_640.jpg

  1. Search
  2. Try
  3. Engage
  4. Anticipate
  5. Meet


Let’s look how these actions can be brought into the classroom.


1. Search


Each speaker at our Women in S.T.E.A.M event described her career journey, painting a picture for those in attendance that success—however one defines it—is often not a linear process. Teachers can provide opportunities for students to seek out their passion in the classroom. Course content will most often be the medium through which students discover something that taps
into their own interests.  During high school, students are trying to find who they are, and where they belong; you are a guide, helping them along their path to self-discovery.  Students will identify a lifelong passion when the teacher implements a variety of activities and instructional strategies.  And, it’s quite alright if the content isn’t the main focus here.


2. Try.


Over and over, presenters stressed showing up and persistence as a key to empowerment, emphasizing growth as a result of working through a challenge. How can educators structure their
course curriculum to create opportunities for risk-taking and constructive failure?  A safe environment protects students from destructive criticism during discussions and sharing sessions.  Safe spaces permit students the freedom to act creatively and to take chances—they may flop in doing so—and to try again.  As educators, it’s equally important to model academic risk-taking for your students. Try a new activity, a new instructional strategy, or new topic in your class. Your students will follow your lead and become more daring in the classroom.


3. Engage.


I watched as the students became immersed in conversation with the presenters during the small group Q&A. The dialogue flowed from the sense of community developed within each grouping. As educators, our ability to incorporate small-group work is bound by the number of students in our classrooms.  Whether you teach in a lecture hall, online, or in a laboratory, I encourage you to create a community dynamic. Focus on the creation of purposeful small group opportunities throughout the year, and you’ll see student involvement multiply through a shared sense of
ownership. See my blog post, “E Pluribus Unum: What Social Studies Taught Me About Teaching,” for more tips on creating a sense of community in the classroom.


4. Anticipate.


Each presenter spoke of adjusting to constant career changes.  Goals, supervisors, job titles—all these things and more will be fluid and should be welcomed as part of the process. If you equip your students to anticipate challenging terrain on the road ahead, then states of flux develop into positive learning experiences.  Teachers who model a positive tone when the unexpected materializes help students develop a growth mindset.  For example: how do you react when the A/V equipment isn’t working properly, the class is interrupted by office announcements, or a student asks a question for which you don’t have an immediate answer? Do you model flexibility and positivity?



5. Meet.


During our S.T.E.A.M. event, as conversations between students and presenters rolled into the lunch portion of the programming, participants engaged in valuable face time with the various
professionals, and suddenly, for many, the future didn’t seem that far away.


You can foster a similar dialogue by inviting a guest speaker to your class to discuss a relevant topic. Try a Google Hangout or Skype with an expert if your location or transportation presents a
challenge.  Also, you can share a link to a brief video to prompt your students to think about their next five, ten, or fifteen years.  Inspiration occurs when students connect the dots from the classroom to career.


So, what experiences have you had in helping students realize their strengths and think about their future?  Post a comment in the space below, and I will be sure to connect with you.


Doug Petrick holds an Architectural Engineering degree from Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from California University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a high school Physics teacher at Upper St. Clair High School in Pittsburgh. Doug regularly contributes to a series for educators on the Wiley Network offering practical advice and instructional strategies.


Image credit: Pixabay/WikiImages

    James Bowen
James Bowen
CEO, Experiential Simulations

Terence Houlihan of City University of New York discusses the brain differences associated with various age groups, and offers implications for learning approaches in higher education institutions and professional settings. He discusses how the structuring of motivation, feedback and decision making for younger people can draw upon the brain's ability to focus on real time stimuli. Tune in to the podcast below.



James Bowen, your host, is an author, professor and CEO of Experiential Simulations, a producer of simulations for teaching entrepreneurship and ethics.



brain cells.jpg

    H. Kyle Anderson
H. Kyle Anderson
Lecturer, Clemson University

I started using Excel in my computer lab classroom in 1997 and soon banned students from using calculators and cell phones to calculate answers. I understand some schools and majors do not require students purchase a laptop, but most of those schools provide access to computers. No more excuses, it is time to add Excel to your assignments. The bottom line, calculators, are the worst enemy of our students. Here’s why:


Calculators allow students to:

  1. Calculate an answer without developing a coherent system of analyzing a problem.computer-device-electronics-884453v2.jpg
  2. Provide no meaningful support to review their work.
  3. Require duplication of work to:
    1. produce a report.
    2. answer a similar problem.
  4. Use outdated technology—My 1983 Texas Instrument BA 55™ basically has the same functions as their 2017 models. As educators, why are we still using technology similar to the Motorola Bag Phone?


Here are five ways to make the transition to Excel in your classroom a success.

  1. Completely copy the exercise into an Excel template.
  2. Keep it simple using simple commands.
  3. Spend brief periods of class time on how to use Excel.
  4. Let Excel take the math out of the exercise,
  5. Do not share your Excel solution with your class.


First, select an exercise or problem and completely copy it into an Excel worksheet. This avoids lost time with students inputting data, facilitates focusing on creating a solution, and provides a template for students to learn how to develop an effective approach to solve problems. I use Box cloud storage to save and share files with my students. Be sure to synchronize your Box folders to your computer, so any changes you make to the files are automatically updated in the link you provide your students. Google Docs work, but their version of Excel is cumbersome to use. Also, make sure that you only allow students to download your files to avoid issues with your files being changed or deleted.


Second, Excel is easy to use, but your students might be afraid of giving up their calculators, so spend extra time in class with quick tips and techniques for using Excel. Keep it simple, in my introduction classes my students only have to be able to add, subtract, divide, multiply, copy, paste, save, and use absolute references.  My class structure is flipped, so I form groups for students to solve in-class assignments. This allows students to help each other and frees me to walk around and work with groups and individual students. I increase motivation by assigning approximately one point for every in-class assignment. Students transfer their answers to the online homework for automatic grading and posting to my Canvas grade book. This accounts for a total of approximately 50 points in my 1,000 point class or about a half a letter grade.


Third, spend brief periods of class time on time on how to use Excel in the In-class assignments. There are short videos in the Excel help menu for anything you want to do, but I also created a KyleTV video on Essential Excel Skills to help students learn the basics of what they need for my class.

Click on the links below to download my video and the Excel file template to use in your class.

Essential Excel Skills Video

Excel File for video


Fourth, take the math out of the exercise. I set up my in-class exercises with the key data already input so students can focus on using Excel to work out the solution and we spend the majority of class time discussing what the solution means. Most often, a student is not required to enter any numbers in the in-class assignment, just manipulate data.

I start every semester with a simple math test requiring 30 calculations, and after 5 minutes, I stop the test. At most, 20% of the students have an answer, and the rest are still keying numbers into their phones and calculators. My students then download my Excel template and solve the problem in about 20 seconds using two formulas and copy and paste.



What is the total of the following?

Data Set


Divided by

Times by












































The ease of calculating many data points with a simple equation allows us to easily incorporate tools such as vertical and horizontal analysis and prior chapter tools in our discussion of what the solution means and the impact on our decision process.


Fifth, do not share your Excel solutions with your class nor require them to e-mail their solutions for grading. Students will take your solutions and pass on to the next class, so you have to come up with new in-class assignments every semester.


If you have them turn-in the Excel file, they will “save time - cheat” by copying other students’ files and “change the appearance.” I want my students to collaborate, so they all get the same in-class assignment but the end of chapter – EOC’s are algorithmic. This promotes students working homework together and understanding of the results since each student has different numbers.

In conclusion, it is time to toss out that Bag Phone, retire our old ways, and embrace business practices of today. It is a lot of fun, and your students will appreciate it when they get first internship or job!


Remember, you are not teaching students how to use Excel but how to think with Excel.


If you’d like to learn more, or request the templates I use for Intermediate and Managerial Accounting in-class assignments, put a note in the comments box below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

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