Tag Archives: microsoft office

Microsoft Office Proficiency and Career Readiness

In a recent post about STEM education and career preparation, I searched online to find jobs related to science, technology, engineering, and math. In the search box of popular job site listings such as Indeed or Monster.com, previously I had put job titles. Instead, this time I entered the keywords Microsoft Office. I was shocked to see the number of jobs in which Microsoft Office proficiency was listed in the Skills/Knowledge or Key Competencies requirements.

Microsoft Office

Skills in Microsoft Office programs is a common requirement in job postings

What does this mean for the students of today? As teachers, one of our main areas of focus is career preparation. It’s apparent that employers value technology skills in addition to the qualifications related to the specific job. Regardless of the career, whether it is as an environmental scientist, software developer, civil engineer, financial analyst, or any of the countless possibilities for the future, a foundation in the basic Microsoft Office programs is a benefit. A well-rounded proficiency in general word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and desktop publishing skills is often expected. Once students acquire a balanced foundation, they are well prepared to branch out and learn more complex, job-specific software.

microsoft office proficiency

A wide variety of STEM jobs require a basic knowledge of Microsoft programs

Microsoft Office, STEM, and an Integrated Curriculum

STEM education advocates a blending of disciplines. Also, students should be given meaningful, real-world tasks. A typical challenge may require resources from a variety of curricular areas. Technology tools should be used as they are needed. To pick an application to complete a task, students need a well-balanced background in a suite of programs. Once they have a sound understanding of Microsoft Office, students can tackle an inquiry project and make an informed decision about which apps they need to use. If they need to write a report, they should already know how to use the main tools of Word. If they want to create a graph, a fundamental understanding of Excel is needed. If project results should be displayed as a visual presentation, previous experience with PowerPoint is indispensable. The skills to use the right tools empower students to solve problems effectively.

Microsoft Office and Interpersonal Skills

As students build Microsoft Office proficiency, the confidence they gain inspires them to confront new challenges and further inquiry. Their critical thinking skills, flexibility, and troubleshooting expertise help them to adapt to other computer applications that they may encounter in upcoming years at school or in the workplace.

Microsoft Office Proficiency and TechnoKids Technology Projects

As teachers, one of our essential goals is to equip students with technology and professional skills while offering an interdisciplinary curriculum in order to prepare students for the workplace of the future. This task can seem formidable for sure! Project based learning can achieve all of these goals.

TechnoKids technology projects are integrated activities that pose real-world problems. Students complete assignments such as publishing a newsletter, launching a new business venture, preparing a budget, collaborating to debate a controversial issue, or promoting a weekend getaway. As students solve these challenges, they learn the key computer skills that they need. TechnoKids Microsoft Extra Package is a collection of ICT and STEM technology projects for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.

microsoft office proficiency

TechnoKids Microsoft Extra Package builds critical career readiness

Using a project-based framework, students build fundamental skills in word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, desktop publishing, and databases. In addition, the technology skills are blended with professional skills such as time management, communication, and teamwork. These are all critical elements for career readiness. Presented in a real-world, meaningful setting, each TechnoKids project engages students, fosters computer literacy, and inspires innovative thinking. By developing a sound basis in Microsoft Office today, students can be better prepared for STEM job opportunities in the workplace of the future.

Blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into Curriculum

It can be a challenge to blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into one program. Are you teaching in a school that requires your students to learn how to use both Microsoft Office and Google Docs? Or are you in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) setting where students have a variety of devices and software applications? There is a solution. TechnoKids computer curriculum is a collection of technology projects that use a project-based approach to learning. Lessons are available for Microsoft Office, Office Online, and Google Docs.

There are advantages to students knowing how to use both Microsoft Office and Google Docs applications. By becoming proficient in both, they will be better equipped to select the best technology tool to complete the task. Use the suggestions below to effectively blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into curriculum using TechnoKids instructional materials.

Blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs

How to Blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into One Program

Provide students with the project version that suits their device

Almost every TechnoKids technology project has a version available for Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office 2013, Office Online, and Google Docs (there are a few exceptions). This allows schools with a BYOD policy to accommodate all students. The entire class can complete the same technology project. However, each person will use the project version that matches the software on their device. Since TechnoKids instructions are illustrated and step-by-step, students can work independently to complete assignments.

Select projects based on device availability

Many schools have a blend of devices that are available to students. For example, some may have a computer lab with Microsoft Office installed on the desktops, with classrooms that have access to mobile carts with Chromebooks. In this case, to provide a balanced program, you can divide the TechnoKids technology projects between use in the computer lab and classroom. A computer teacher could select a technology project that targets technology skills using Microsoft Office. At the same time, a classroom teacher could select a different technology project to integrate Google Docs into a curriculum unit during language arts or social studies class.

Divide the projects by grade

Some schools have assigned which grades will use Microsoft Office and which will use Google Docs. Often this decision is based upon when students are permitted access to email and online storage services. TechnoKids computer curriculum is designed to gradually build proficiency in using technology tools. Teachers in the elementary grades can use the Microsoft Office technology projects to build a solid foundation and promote digital citizenship. Later, as students enter Junior and Senior High they can use the Google technology projects to transition easily to web-based applications. Alternatively, a school may prepare older students for Microsoft Office Specialist certification or the workplace. In this case, the school program could use the Google technology projects in the elementary grades and then transition in middle school to TechnoKids’ advanced Microsoft Office technology projects.

Choose a project according to instructional goal

Study your curriculum and know the skills you must teach. Often, the learning objectives will dictate whether Microsoft Office or Google Docs is required. For example, if you are expected to introduce database skills then you will be selecting a Microsoft Access technology project from the TechnoKids computer curriculum collection. Or if you are required to teach Mail Merge then you will be selecting a Microsoft Word technology project as this function is not available in Google Docs.

TechnoKids Computer Curriculum

Pick a project version based on program features that boost creativity

Sometimes you can complete the same technology project in either Microsoft Office or Google Docs, but the final product will not look the same. This is because the software applications offer different features which can restrict or enhance creative expression. Certain TechnoKids technology projects have more razzle dazzle if they are completed using Microsoft Office. For example, TechnoMap uses the Zoom feature in Microsoft PowerPoint which gives the interactive map more “wow” than one made using Google Slides. Another example is the visual story produced in TechnoToon. This is more fun to make in Microsoft PowerPoint because there is advanced control over animation and effects. If you must blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs into curriculum, determine which product features will engage students the most and use that as a guide when selecting the application to use.

Pick a project version based on program features that offer a richer learning experience

In most cases, Microsoft Office and Google Docs are similar. However, there are times when the tools available in one application are superior to another. For example, TechnoKids technology projects that include a poll, survey, or questionnaire are best done in Google Forms because it has more options and better reporting. Although TechnoKids provides choice, you should select the project version that provides students with the most meaningful learning opportunity.

Decide on a project version based on file output

Consider the final product version and how it will be shared with others. For example, will it be printed, shown as a video, displayed on a screen, or posted to a school website? The answer to these questions can determine whether to use the Microsoft Office or Google Docs version of a TechnoKids technology project. For example, you may want to use the Microsoft PowerPoint version if the goal is to convert a presentation to a video to play at an Open House. However, if the goal is to post a presentation to a class blog then it would be better to use the Google Slides version of the technology project, as it can easily be linked or embedded.

Sequence projects to compare applications

TechnoKids computer curriculum provides an assortment of activities that target the same technology skill area while making an entirely different product. For example, there are multiple word processing projects that have students create books, journals, fact cards, newsletters, biographies, resumes, cover letters, advertisements, and more! When offering a blended program, you may want to teach a word processing project with Google Docs and then a different word processing project with Microsoft Office. This will introduce your students to both applications without them becoming bored by completing the same task. It is also an excellent reflective opportunity to compare application features.

Select one project, but complete it using different versions

There are several ways to blend one project version with another. Choose the option that best suits your situation:

  • Start the project in one project version but complete it using another. TechnoKids computer curriculum includes the same technology project for multiple versions of software. If time is a restriction, you can select the beginning assignments from one version of the technology project to start to create a product in one application. You can then select the ending assignments from another version of the same technology project to complete the task in an equivalent application. For example, students could begin to design a fact card in Google Docs by adding content but complete the formatting of the publication in Microsoft Word. This option provides an excellent way to compare program features and maximize instructional time.
  • Create the project in one project version but extend learning using another. TechnoKids technology projects include extension activities. These additional lessons can be used to combine the use of Microsoft Office with Google applications. For example, students could create a publication or presentation using the assignments in the Microsoft Office version of a technology project. Upon completion, they could then use Google Docs to complete an extension activity related to the theme.
  • Create the project in one project version but collaborate using another. TechnoKids technology projects include activities that include an opportunity to work with others. To blend the versions together, students could use the Microsoft Office instructions to create a product. Upon completion, the file could then be uploaded to Google Drive and shared with peers. Using the Google version of assignments, students could co-author, engage in a question & answer session, or peer review using commenting.

We are here to help! If you are expected to blend Microsoft Office and Google Docs applications into curriculum, it is important to be familiar with program features to provide students with the best learning opportunity. Contact TechnoKids to discuss project selection or program design.

Why Students Should Use Presenter View in PowerPoint 2

In my previous post, I explained how to use Presenter View in PowerPoint 2016. It’s a nifty feature that, if you have a projection system, allows a presenter to see the current slide, next slide, speaker notes, and presenter tools on a separate screen. The audience sees only the slide.

Benefits to Presenter View

Speaker Notes

Teaching students how to give a presentation that is informative while captivating the attention of the audience is a valuable skill. An essential part of a presentation is the preparation of speaker notes. These notes provide structure to a presentation and encourage the audience to listen as well as view the screen. Speaker notes can include reminders of what to say and additional information or facts that do not appear on the screen. If a second screen is not available, speaker notes can be printed as Notes Pages or as an Outline. But if you have a projection device and can see the computer screen while presenting, Presentation View allows you to see your notes and reminders on your computer screen during the presentation. The projector only shows the slide to the audience.

Practice Practice Practicepresenter view
Any presentation should include a number of rehearsals, either privately or with peer coaching, before it’s ready to unveil to an audience. Using Presenter View, the speaker can rehearse with the navigation tools, see the current and upcoming slides, practice using his notes, and become proficient using the pointer tools.

Control the Flow of Information
If the text on a slide is contained in bulleted points, set the animation so each one appears upon a mouse click. That way, you can limit the amount of words the audience can read and expand on the information as you speak. The audience will focus on both the slide as well as the speaker.
If there are pictures, you may want to control when they appear. Set the animation so images or diagrams show upon a mouse click. The viewers will focus on the picture only when you cause it to appear.
Presenter View allows you to preview what will happen when you press ‘next’ in advance of the audience seeing it.

Tools
The laser pointer, pen, highlighter, and eraser allow you to annotate, draw, or direct the eyes of the audience to particular words or images on the slide. Used sparingly, these tools help to attract and hold the attention of the audience. You can even black or white out the screen should you want to stop or pause the slide show.

presenter view

Use the laser pointer, pen, or highlighter to direct the viewers’ attention.

See All Slides
During the question period at the end of the presentation, or at any time during the presentation, you may want to go to a particular slide. If you click See All Slides, a thumbnail of all slides appears on the presenter’s screen only. Click on the desired slide and it will appear on the audience’s projected screen.

Timer
The stopwatch at the top corner of Presenter View is handy if there is a time limit for the presentation. It’s also useful when practicing – are you speeding up each time you present? Be careful not to talk too fast when you become familiar with the slide show. Remember that the audience is watching it for the first time.

Teach Presentation Skills

technopresenterTeach essential research skills, power up a presentation, and build public speaking techniques with TechnoPresenter. Integrate this technology project into a curriculum area using any topic of study. This project is suitable for student in junior and middle school grades. Learn more about TechnoPresenter here.

New Biography Technology Project

biography technology project
TechnoBiography is an all-new technology project just released by TechnoKids. Elementary and middle school students select a remarkable person and write a biography. The activities, written for Google Docs and Microsoft Office, have students:

  • Analyze life events and artifacts
  • Summarize personal history using heading styles to organize facts
  • Create a graphic organizer of important contributions
  • Connect artifacts to additional information using links and a table

Write a Biography about a Remarkable Person

In the TechnoBiography technology project, students become biographers writing about a person’s life story using Google Docs or Microsoft Office. To start, they research a notable figure who has made a difference in the world. A brainstorming activity, guiding questions, and research organizer are provided to support learning.

Once familiar with events and achievements, students summarize a personal history using heading styles to organize events logically. Sample files provide inspiration. In addition, phrases are provided to help students join ideas when writing.

Detailed instructions help students to highlight contributions using a graphic organizer and showcase artifacts in a table with links. Sources of information are cited using a bibliography. Tips are included to assist students. Upon completion, the biography is shared with readers.

Integrate TechnoBiography into any Curriculum Unit

The activities in TechnoBiography integrate into curriculum and can be included into language arts, history, social studies, science, art, or computer studies. Students can celebrate a historical figure, acknowledge a hero, investigate scientific discoveries, or appreciate the arts while developing word processing skills.

  • conduct research using a variety of sources
  • collect artifacts and interpret their meaning
  • organize notes in a logical order
  • analyze life events to draw conclusions
  • explain the importance of a person
  • cite sources in a bibliography
  • use styles to layout document structure
  • highlight contributions in a graphic organizer
  • connect artifacts with links using a table
  • share biography and reflect on the person’s life
  • apply word processing skills to write a biography
biography technology project

Select a remarkable person. Learn how to research and write a biography. Share the biography as an Ebook.