Technology has advanced immensely since the time I first started teaching. According to Roblyer (2016), the “basic suite” of software tools includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a presentation application. In the content area of Economics all these tools are used quite frequently by both teachers and students.
The word processing tools initially were used mainly for creating documents such as worksheets, records, etc. The relative advantage of using Word processing software is that documents can be easily modified to meet learners’ needs, they can be saved for later use, can also be distributed via Internet to students. The style of the document can be changed when needed, many elements such as footers and headers can be added to give the document a formal feel, tables and boxes, graphics and images also can be inserted.
Students also use word processing for creating documents such as writing essays, completing worksheets and submitting them to the teacher. They can choose their own font and format, can insert pictures and diagrams for Economics work, can use the spelling check to ensure there are no spelling errors. A lot can be done with word processing documents.
Google docs added an additional dimension to word processing by making collaboration between peers and students and teachers very easy. The Google doc apps have a great advantage that they are free and everybody can use them. Word processing apps allow for manipulating a document very easily in so many ways.
Spreadsheets are designed to help in organizing numerical data in columns and rows. Despite this purpose they are often used for other type of information such as keeping students’ records and being able to view those in one look. In my content area spreadsheets are also used to input data and derive supple and demand diagrams.
Spreadsheets allow for conducting basic calculations, presenting data in graphical form such as charts or graphs. Students often make use of spreadsheets when they write their Extended Essay and have to process the collected primary data and present it in an attractive way.
Google Forms app also make use of spreadsheets for conducting simple surveys or for checking students’ knowledge with simple quiz.
Power Point presentations have been used mainly for lecturing in the classroom. Using presentations has the advantage that the teacher can face the class at all times, the speed can be controlled, also the presentation can be taken backward or forward to a specific slide if needed. In my classroom (online) it is a tool that is often used for presenting students’ own research on a topic.
Presentation software allows for inserting, deleting or hiding slides. It also allows for presentations to be saved for later use, to be modified according to the learners’ needs. The formatting feature of presentations allows for choosing the background color, the template structure, the font type and size. It also has many options for inserting graphics and other interactive features. Presentations can also be printed as a document and saved in other formats.
The above relative advantages of using the basic suite in education are just a few of the many such advantages that the basic suite has. All these software products have drastically changed our teaching and has made it much more efficient.
Roblyer, M. Instructional Software for 21st Century Teaching. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed).
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