Importance of simulation in Excel for elementary stats courses
I would say it is very important because it allows students to see data generation in real time.
They say: Simulating Randomness and Variability. To get a feel for randomness and variability, let’s simulate taking an exit poll of voters using the sample from a population applet on the text CD. (Agresti and Franklin, p.19)
I say: Why use a population applet from the text CD? It's certainly good for the authors, because without the text itself the students would't have the CD. It's not so good for the students because the book's price on the publisher's web site is $221.80. Most students and many teachers of elementary statistics don't know that all simulation can be done in Excel. See examples: Exercise 2.1, Exercise 2.2, Exercise 2.3, Exercise 2.4, Example 2.2, and this post about active learning. Even the law of large numbers and central limit theorem can be illustrated in Excel. Using Excel is better because 1) most people and businesses have it and 2) Microsoft Office is accompanied with a powerful programming software called Visual Basic for Applications. I used it on many occasions and it saved me hundreds of hours (examples will be provided later).