Relative Advantage of Using the Basic Suite for Learning

Being a business/marketing teacher I use the basic suite applications almost daily. According to Roblyer, the basic suite applications are word processing software, spreadsheet software, and presentation software. “These three software products are often referred to as the ‘basic productivity tools,’ because they were among the first such tools to be designed to save time on clerical types of tasks and because they are now the ones that software companies such as Microsoft most often include in their software suites” (pg. 110).  There are many advantages to using these applications in a classroom. Roblyer points out some of these benefits as improved productivity, improved appearance, improved accuracy, and more support for interaction and collaboration (pg.109). I feel that my students need to know these applications and the skills they build from using them because it will make them more appealing to potential employers. These applications are used in majority of professions/careers today therefore, I can make it relevant to them on how the applications would be used by them after school.

Word Processing Software

In the text, Roblyer says, “Word processing programs allow people to produce typed documents on a computer screen” (pg. 112).  Incorporating a word processing program into a curriculum has many benefits. One benefit is that is saves time. In a marketing class, as a teacher, I use it to create my lesson plans, create my correspondences to parents, administrators, and community partners. I feel it looks more professional and leaves my reader with a better understanding of my intent without having to decipher my handwriting. It allows me to save time because I can save my documents and update them yearly without having to recreate them. As for my students, I can grade their assignments more quickly typed than written. I usually have them create bigger writing assignments by using Microsoft (MS) Word. They have the ability the save these documents and go back and revise as needed without having to rewrite or retype. Google Docs is a great word processing program because it allows the students to save their work and be able to go back to it from any device or location. Once the student is complete they can “share” it to me, which saves on printing and paper costs.

Another way I use word processing in my marketing class is using it for creating flyers or small posters. I also teach my students how to use the templates In MS Word when we discuss resume writing, letterheads, and/or fax cover sheets. Word processing is a saving tool that can be used in any profession and any classroom.

Spreadsheet Software

According to Roblyer, “Spreadsheet are programs designed to organize and manipulate numerical data” (pg.121). I love teaching MS Excel because I feel like this tool is underutilized in many classrooms. Once a spreadsheet is created it is easy to keep up with data of all kinds, numerical and non-numerical. As an educator we are sometimes asked to be on committees or sponsor an organization. I was prom sponsor for a few years and used MS Excel to keep up with purchases of venues, decorations, and fundraisers. I was able to create a workbook that had worksheets that showed our budget, what and when things were paid, and a list of students and what they owed and paid.  I did the same as cheer sponsor; kept up with each cheerleader’s cost and how much they had paid and when. Excel has the ability to alphabetize names, so I could create my sheets and then go back and edit it so I could find items much easier. As for incorporating into my classes, it’s a great tool when teaching how to budget. Students create formulas that will do any function and then they can input data to manipulate the formulas. Using this data, they can then create professional-looking charts. The students have the ability to create charts from scratch or use templates. I like the Microsoft (MS) suite better than Google because the user has more options. Google Sheets is nice to use when the user wants to work basic functions. But I have found, and maybe it’s because I was trained on MS, that MS is more user friendly and gives more creativeness to the user. Whether someone uses MS Excel, Google Sheets or another type of spreadsheet program, I highly recommend trying to get more training so it can be used more in every classroom.

On a personal note, my husband and I have our checkbook set up in MS Excel. It’s color-coded with many sheets showing expenses, withdraws, and deposits. We also have it setup where we can project future purchases.

Presentation Software

“Presentation software is designed to display information, including text, images, audio, and video, in a slideshow format” (pg. 125). Presentation software like MS PowerPoint (PP) is a great way for students to show off what they know with some creativeness. In my teaching I used PP during my lectures that required note taking to reach my visual learners. This helped teach them note taking skills as well as kept me focused and on-point. It also gave the students the right stuff they needed to study for on tests. Many of the drawbacks mentioned in our text happen to be major pet-peeves of mine: overuse of bullets, too much text on a slide, visual design takes away from the message; that is why when I teach about PP or have my students use it in any fashion I try to teach them the correct way. The main fact being that PP is used to ENHANCE a project or presentation, not to be read from or be distracting. I usually assign a PP presentation as part of another assignment that can be shown to the class or an audience of some sort. PP is also a great way to create tutorials or how-to lessons for the students to use when introducing something new. The students can also create how-to presentations. Many of them look better than what I can showcase. Google slides is a good alternative to MS PowerPoint, however, there are some options that I have come to expect through MS PowerPoint that Google Slides does not include; I feel hindered when I used it. Google slides is a good setup to those that are beginning to use a presentation software. I defiantly recommend learning on Google Slides before moving on to MS PowerPoint.

Another way PP can be used in the classroom that I have utilized many times, is creating a PP that can be used for review. A teacher can create a PowerPoint, which looks like Jeopardy or another type of game, to help on review for an upcoming test. Here is a link to an online template for Jeopardy setup in PP.

No matter the curriculum, any teacher could and should incorporate the basic suite applications. There are many more uses than what I outlined here. The suite is a great way to incorporate 21st Century Skills into a curriculum. As teachers we need to strive to make sure our students stay up-to-date as possible, because the end goal is to help make them productive citizens, right?

 

 

Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Relative Advantage of Using the Basic Suite for Learning

  1. My wife is looking to move jobs right now, and it’s interesting to note that every position she applies for (she’s in HR) requires proficiency in the basic suite. We use it in school, we use it in our personal lives (like you and your husband), and we’ll need to use it in our jobs.

    Unlike you, I prefer Google’s suite to Microsoft’s. While I agree that Microsoft is more powerful, I find the simplicity and ease of Google’s to be more than sufficient for my personal and professional needs.

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  2. Jaci,
    Great post! You did such a great job of summarizing each and giving great examples of each. I especially like the Spreadsheets, because just as you said it is underutilized and I am one that underutilizes it!! I would love to someday use it with my students more, and I think just as you said, using it to create a budget, would be perfect! Even with upper elementary kiddos, I think this would be such a powerful learning experience for them. Thanks again for a great post!

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  3. Jaci, I have to agree with Meagan that you did a nice job of summarizing but also linking in to personal experience. As someone who uses these tools daily, I think you clearly see the benefit of ensuring that our students know how to use the tools which they will need post K-12 education. I am so in agreement with your final sentence. Our goal is to help our students get ready for the real world and to prepare them to be productive citizens. A big part of that in the modern world of work is the ability to use the ‘basic suite.’ Nice post, thanks.

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  4. Jaci,

    Great job of explaining it all! I like how detailed your explanation was on spreadsheets. While I use spreadsheets a little bit in my English class, I like to hear about all of the people who use them for more. There are so many cool things that the spreadsheets can do, and I do not feel that always lends itself to an English classroom. I agree with your last line. I feel the most beneficial thing I can do for students is to help prepare them for life outside of the K-12 education system.

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