This web site will support a book I am working on that is tentatively titled Teaching Macroeconomics with Excel. It will be a resource for professors, explaining how the Excel files on this web site can be used in a variety of ways to help students learn.
The Excel files are standalone and freely available. They use Visual Basic code to support buttons, scroll bars, and other controls to create sophisticated Excel implementations of core macro models such as the Solow and Keynesian models. They also rely heavily on real-world data and there is an emphasis on basic understanding of historical trends and the current economic environment.
The Excel workbooks contain text and links to short video clips that explain how to use the files. They also have tasks for students to practice and extend the material in the videos. The Screencasts page has a complete listiing of all of the videos.
For this project, I went with video to reach my students. Many of them do not like to read and they struggle to maintain focus on a text making a complicated argument. Video, however, is different. They can and will watch and pay close attention and this is how they will learn.
So, all the professor has to do is send students a link to an Excel workbook and tell them which screencasts to watch and tasks to do. Or, she can use the Excel files in a lecture or in a lab setting. Or, she can flip the classroom and assign several screencasts as homework and have students come to class and work on tasks and discuss the material.
And what about the book itself? It is for professors, not students. The book will enable the professor to get a quick, overall view of what is in each Excel workbook and offers suggestions for teaching the material. It will make little sense to students and non-economists, but should enable an instructor interested in moving beyond chalk-and-talk to experiment and improve his teaching.
More detail on the philosophy behind the book and how to use the Excel files is here: IntroductoryMatter.pdf.
For more on how I use Excel to teach Economics, please visit my Econ Excel page.
All comments welcome.