Great tools to use in the classroom!
While completing my project on productivity tools, I was able to learn a great deal. I have had a decent amount of experience working with Microsoft Office programs, but creating the different parts of this project really expanded my knowledge of some of the programs. In Word, one of the most helpful things I learned was how to format a picture to move it around easier with the "tight" option, and that really helped me while creating my brochure, worksheet, and business cards. I also did not realize how easy it was to create a calendar with a template in the program.
Using Powerpoint to create a seating chart was VERY beneficial to me. I did not realize Powerpoint could be used for anything except slide presentations because that is all I had ever seen it used for. I really look forward to using it for many other things, like the certificates I was able to create with such ease! Excel is probably the office program that I am least familiar with, but the one that I really want to learn the most. Creating my attendance and grade sheets really helped me to remember how to use the formula buttons, which I think will be very beneficial to me in my math classroom. Also, creating the pictograph will be very benefical to me because I think that is a great way to start out incorporating technology into my math classroom by using the graphing feature. With all of these projects, they have really allowed me to expand my knowledge of these tools.
Not only have I expanded my knowledge of the tools, but I've learned how to use the templates to make my life as a teacher so much less hectic. With these features, I can focus my time on my lessons and other areas that need more attention than creating, for example, a certificate. Now, I can use a template to start and alter it to make it my own. All these parts of the project we had to create I know I will use in my classroo. I am really glad I was given the chance to realize the templates were out there for me to use! There is always going to be a need for me to make a seating chart that can be easily altered as well as certificates for recognizing my students. Learning how to make a brochure and a calandar are obvious needs in the classroom that I know I will have to have monthly so that I can keep my parents and students up to date. This project was very helpful to me by allowing me more indepth knowledge of the tools, but also providing me with great resources to use in my future classroom!
I think these tools are very important, and there are some great lessons that are very good examples of ways to incorporate these productivity tools into my classroom.
One lesson I found uses Excel to allow students to create tessellations. Tessellations show up in the middle grades standards, and allow students to use excel to create and investigate this mathematical concept is a very important and valuable lesson. Another valuable excel lesson that I found is a great real-world lesson that allows students to research and interpret their data to predict an outcome. This skill is so important, and the use of techology allows them to research the topic and create tables and charts that help them to interpret the outcomes. Without the technology, the students would not be able to complete the assignment because the technology helps them analize what they find. If I got the opportunity to teach a social studies class, which is my second area of specialization, this lesson, is a great way for students to focus on current events and use technology to help them access information. This is very important because during debates and other teching methods, students do not have access to enough information to back up their point, and without the technology in this lesson, it would not be anything but relaying facts back and forth, which is no help to the student's future knowlege of the topic.
Even though my three lessons used mostly spreadsheet programs, I found many other lessons that were helpful that used all the productivity tools. My top three choises just happened to use programs like Excel. As I was reading over other lessons in Education World, and Microsoft Lesson Plans I was able to brainstorm and begin thinking about how I could alter the given plans for my future classroom. By viewing the examples, I was able to attain many great ideas for how to use productivity tools in my classroom. Mathematics is an easy subject to use Excel in, but I have really learned how to use analysis to incorporate technology on a higher level by using all of these tools together.