The paper describes a number of practical uses of a spreadsheet that vary across the novice-expert continuum in terms of the development of skills required for career paths in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines. To this end, three types of skills are introduced: basic, professional and advanced. Using a spreadsheet as a background and Vygotskian perspective on learning and development as a conceptual framework, the paper demonstrates how purposeful applications of the skills transform one type into another, encourage concept learning, and broaden technology integration into problem solving. The relationship between a spreadsheet and other software tools is discussed.

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