Ed Tech 541 Week 3 Post Relative Advantage of Using the Basic Suite for Learning

The Basic Suite~ Word Processing,Spreadsheets, and Presentations~

I cannot begin to imagine teaching without these tools; however I can imagine being a student without these tools as I graduated from high school in 1981 and college in 1985, well before these tools were commonplace! According to Roblyer (2014), the “suite” of tools have “improved productivity, improved appearance, improved accuracy, and support interaction and collaboration” (p. 109).

Using the suite (whether from Microsoft, Google, or some other source) empowers both teachers and students.

Teacher Perspective

Using word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software allows teachers to create lesson plans, worksheets, and lets the teacher revise them and share with peers and students. Spreadsheets can be used to analyze grades and visually display data. Presentation software allows teachers to easily create presentations to help students learn about topics. Unfortunately, for some teachers “the presentation becomes a crutch, and they begin to rely on the slides to tell their story, rather than to help them tell the story”. I know that this week’s assignments and readings have made me realize that I need to update my presentations to include more images, links, videos, and far fewer words! I find that I am guilty of using the slide to communicate information rather than as a tool to help me communicate the big idea to the class.

Student Perspective

For me, as a student at BSU, the software suite has revolutionized the way I work. Rather than hand writing everything (like I did in high school and college), I now take notes using word processing. When I write a paper, I begin by typing ideas in word processing, and creating links to my references. Typing notes and ideas is ideal for someone like me with messy handwriting. For me, it has made being a student much easier in terms of organization.

How I use in the classroom

As a teacher, I try to have my students utilize all three types of software.

Wordprocessing~I have them type up their big ideas,and summarize their learning using word processing. Students like being able to quickly get their ideas down, and change them. As a teacher, I appreciate being able to read their work (sometimes, the handwriting is hard to decipher)

Spreadsheets~I ask students to set up data tables in spreadsheets, and use the spreadsheets to calculate the equations, and create graphs. Most students need to learn how to use spreadsheets, but once they learn, they see the value in terms of saving time, and creating ‘professional’ graphs. I like to show them both Excel and Google Sheets, and let them choose the one they prefer.

Presentations~I ask students to share their learning with their classmates (and me) using presentation software. Sometimes the students work in groups and collaborate. Other times, students will peer evaluate each others’ work before passing in for grading. This year, I want to introduce students to other presentation mediums such as Prezi, Emaze, and Piktochart, and allow them to choose the medium that best suits the presentation.

All in all, using word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations greatly enhance the classroom for teacher and student alike.

Resources

Cranford_Teague, J. (2013). Eight tips to power up your classroom. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-tips-classroom-presentation-jason-cranford-teague  

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating technology into education. (7th ed.). New York, NY, Pearson.

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6 responses to “Ed Tech 541 Week 3 Post Relative Advantage of Using the Basic Suite for Learning

  1. Courtney LaRue

    I definitely agree that us as teachers can use those presentations as a crutch. This weeks assignments have inspired me to go back in and look at the presentations I use on a weekly basis. Great idea to do some editing! I like that you have your students use the basic suite often. With third graders I struggle with how to keep 20-26 little ones on task or even just helping them log in with the allotted time we have. Hopefully if I start early this year it will be easier. Thanks for a great reflection!

  2. It’s funny how things change – I had a Selectric correcting typewriter in college (mid 80’s) and I typed papers for people extra cash. A word processor hasn’t eliminated that particular job, but it has certainly made it easier!
    I agree that word processing has revolutionized how most of us generate papers. Like you, I do all of my brainstorming and organizing in the same document. I can be a bit random, which means sometimes I get an idea for a killer paragraph, but don’t know where it will go. Word processing allows me to write it, and then either insert it or deconstruct it later without feeling like extra work, or worrying about losing it. Composing in a word processor is a skill we are teaching in elementary school, as it’s a little different than composing with paper and pencil.

  3. I, too, face similar struggles when it comes to presentations. My slides are often overcrowded with words as well and I feel like I have to have all of the information on the lesson on the slides. With all of the tools and resources we were given this week, I feel able to present better presentations. I consider using presentations now as a guide on the side, not the teacher. I like how you talked about being able to take notes on word processing. I do that a lot. I love how I can list resources at the bottom as I go along, instead of having to save them on a separate sheet of handwritten paper and rewriting it every time I have a new resources. Now it’s so easy to move things around to the correct order. Being a math teacher, I would love to use spreadsheets to solve equations with data. I should use this more with input/output tables once we have practiced solving the equations a few times. It could easily become a project for that topic. Thank you for sharing your idea.

    • I feel like students really have to understand the math behind the equation in order to input the correct equation into spreadsheets. So often, they will hand calculate and put in the answer rather than inputting the equation, and letting he spreadsheet do the calculations! I am always trying to encourage them to let the spreadsheet do the work, so they have more time for thinking and learning!

  4. Caroline, It is funny reading about this from someone who is very close in age. When I was in college, wordprocessing with a computer was often more work than it was worth and we really relied on the auto-correcting typewriters to get things done. I do remember using graphing software and spreadsheets in my first life as an accounts receivable clear and collections officer. We used to have to give visual presentations quarterly to show collection progress. That was 1988.

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