Using the Basic Suite in Education

 

 

word pic
Courtesy of Google Images

The EDTECH 541 textbook describes the principles behind Word, Spreadsheet or Worksheet, and Presentation software in the classroom and how best to incorporate into teaching and learning.

According to Robyler (2016) “A teacher can use it to support any directed instruction or constructivist activity” (p.114). With the use of ‘Word’ I find that it is easier to type notes, a report or summary than to use old-fashioned pen and paper. Additionally, I can use ‘spell check’ to help me ensure that my documents are error free. The best part is that students can actually read what they were writing down and edit their writing, quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I have scribbled down something on paper and when I went back to read it, I couldn’t. Not only that, but with Google Docs, you can access it anywhere, share and publish your documents for collaboration with your peers, teachers and parents.

I also create spreadsheets quite a bit at home and in the military for quick calculations and ease of producing graphs and other visual statements that support adjacent text. However, I did find that spreadsheets can be difficult to work with and use all of its functions properly, unless you have attended training or “experiment” as I usually do with new software. As Robyler states (2016) “Students new to spreadsheets must have time to develop skills in using the software before teachers can begin to grade their work” (p.125).  Therefore, it’s important to teach students how to use it, in small chucks, rather then expecting students to “just go with the flow”.

Presentations are an excellent way for students to digitally display their work to their peers, and a great way for teachers to assess their understanding of the topic being presented, along with their use of technology. Students can integrate ‘Word’ and ‘Spreadsheet’ software into their presentations and collaborate with their peers, teachers or even parents via Google Docs. However, the main concern with presentations is overloading slides. Slides should contain short bullet comments and graphics that support them, rather than an entire speech typed out on each slide, causing the audience to lose interest. As Robyler states (2016) “When a presentation product is well designed, it supports and supplements what the speaker says, using graphics and multimedia to give illustrations and drive home points with images and sound” (p.127).

References

Robyler, M.D. (2016). Chapter 4: Technology Tools for 21st Century Teaching. In Robyler, M.D., Integrating Educational Technology Into Teaching (pp. 106-137) Nova Southeastern University: Pearson.

 

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8 thoughts on “Using the Basic Suite in Education

  1. Gail,
    I completely agree that Spreadsheets is too much to just throw at students, and they need quite a bit of training before using it themselves. Do you have any ideas on how one could teach it to students in a short amount of time, as I know we all never have enough time!?

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    1. Hmmm, I think that maybe to start one could provide each student with a blank sheet and go over what can be done on the smart board at the front of the room or better yet, if there is a computer lab, have them follow along with you on their computer. I think it would be a slow, meticulous process to start, but little ones sure learn quickly!

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  2. Hi Gail, just to say I enjoyed your post. I think you covered a lot of the advantages and have supported your arguments with reference to the text which strengthens your position. I agree that using spreadsheets can be a difficult task and there is a lot of ‘upscaling’ required. I think this is because most of them are designed to be full on business software and are really powerful – capable of much more than most teachers would ever need. I had access to a simpler package for elementary students and it worked really well as there was much less they could get wrong. I think it would have suited me just fine! Have you come across any ‘simpified’ spreadsheet software?

    Thanks for your post,
    Andrew

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    1. Thank you. I have not dealt with simpler versions, yet, as I haven’t spent much time in a school since Dec 2002. I did not see teachers using them with their students in my area, and I know my boys are not using them in school, yet? I hope they will start to do so, as it is good to learn as much as you can about everything. 🙂

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  3. I really enjoyed reading your post. You did a great job of incorporating the classroom text on the subject. I agree with your statement about student presentations using Slides/PowerPoint. They are often cluttered with words and have few visuals. Do you teach them the rules of presentations before having them create it? If so, do you use an online resource or do you have your own?

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    1. Thank you! Well, I am not a teacher currently. I retired from the Army after 18 years in April 2015. Unfortunately, from my experience in the Army, the highest ranking individual decides the layout they prefer and we have to follow it, even if it is cluttered, unreadable and basically the worst slide you’ve ever seen. We would use SharePoint on the DoD Intranet to revise slides and create presentations among many units.

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  4. Hi, Gail! You mention using Google Docs for collaboration with parents. I use a Google Doc class folder to scan and upload class activities, notes, and assignments for parent and student use. How do you use Google Docs for your parent communication? Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Unfortunately, I am not teaching now, so that was just a good idea I thought up while working on MET assignments. As a parent, I bet it is appreciated that you are communicating with them via digital means. I hate to think about how many trees are cut down to provide us with papers advertising local dentists and such. I plan on using your idea when I do get into the classroom. 🙂

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