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.
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.
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.
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.