Illegal Software Installation: Tracking software piracy rates around the world

Maryann S. Allen
Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH
Created: 2006-07-27 12:23:05 Last Modified: February 13, 2008 11:05
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This material was originally developed by Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.


In this Spreadsheets across the Curriculum activity, students analyze software piracy data with Microsoft Excel using the Pivot Table tool. Students will compare the degree of piracy as measured by absolute dollars lost, and rates of piracy. In addition, students also gain experience with graphical data presentation by making a Pivot Chart.

Learning Goals

Students will:
  • Develop a spreadsheet to calculate rates.
  • Use the Pivot Table function.
  • Create a Pivot Chart of a Pivot Table.
In the process the students will:
  • Understand the difference between measures of absolute quantities and rates.
  • Understand the difference between data and information.
  • Analyze software piracy data from various regions around the world.

Context for Use

This module was designed for use in an introductory computer class for first-year college students. It could also be easily adapted for use in a secondary-education computer course.

Description and Teaching Materials

SSAC2006.QA76.MA1.1_student (PowerPoint 759kB May29 07)

The module is a PowerPoint presentation with embedded spreadsheets. If the embedded spreadsheets are not visible, save the PowerPoint file to disk and open it from there.

This PowerPoint file is the student version of the module. An instructor version is available by request. The instructor version includes the completed spreadsheet. Send your request to Len Vacher ( by filling out and submitting the Instructor Module Request Form.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity can be used as an independent homework assignment, or as an in-class activity where creation of the PivotTable and PivotChart is led by the instructor. The activity takes approximately 45 minutes to complete, with additional time needed to answer the End of Module Questions.


The student version of the module includes an end-of-module assignment that can be used for assessment. The instructor version also includes a pretest that can be coupled with the end-of-module assignment.

References and Resources

For more information on illegal software installation please visit