As teachers, we are often amazed by our tech-savvy students. But the ways in which they use their computers and devices are often quite selective – they may be adept at games, online web browsing, and social media, but they might lack key skills such as word processing. Educators must teach these basics explicitly. Students need these critical competencies for countless future school assignments. Also, teaching word processing to gives young people entering the workforce a real advantage for the future.
What is Word Processing?
Word processing is using a device to create, edit, format, and share documents. The most popular applications are Microsoft Word and Google Docs. These programs format text, stylize images, arrange objects, alter page layout, create tables, spell check, and more! Each offers a range of tools and options to produce professional-looking publications.
Here are 5 reasons to teach word processing and why these skills are crucial.
1. Word Processing is a Foundational Skill
Word processing is a life skill! It can be used at school, home, or in the workplace. Knowing how to organize information in a document allows a person to convey a message effectively. Word processing provides the foundation to complete a myriad of assignments such as booklets, reports, research summaries, newsletters, journals, and biographies. It also can be applied to personal and work-related tasks. Whether it is creating a resume or making a poster to promote a community event, most tasks that use technology, require word processing. It is an essential skill that every child needs to master, as it can be used today and well into the future.
2. Word Processing Skills Support an Efficient Workflow
Another reasons to teach word processing as part of your curriculum is that students will be able to complete tasks more efficiently. Understanding how to insert content from multiple sources, transfer information from one location to another, and apply editing tools are skills that make it easy to express ideas. For example, basic editing tools can allow a student to quickly revise content using cut, copy, paste, undo, or find/replace. In addition, the work can be completed with less errors using features such as spell and grammar check recommendations. This allows students to focus on content and less on the mechanics of writing, as the word processing application supports the workflow.
3. Word Processing Skills Improve Quality of Projects
A third reason to teach word processing is to empower students with the skills necessary to produce high-quality professional looking documents. Tools make it simple to divide content using conventions such as headings, table of contents, and page numbering. As well, text formatting improves readability using fonts, lists, and custom spacing. Moreover, images can be stylized to create unique publications. And, some word processing applications provide additional tools to insert tables and charts to organize content. With the ability to use a word processor, students gain confidence when they submit an eye-catching assignment.
4. Word Processing Skills are Transferrable
Yet another reason to explicitly teach word processing skills is its transferability. It does not matter the task – it can be graphing data in a spreadsheet, summarizing a report, blogging about a topic, promoting a school event, or even video editing – at some point word processing skills will come into play. This is because the tools to format text and images in applications such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs are similar in other programs. This means if students can complete a task such as set font, size, and style in one program they can do it in another – whether it is PowerPoint, Slides, Excel, or Sheets. The similarity between apps has an added bonus, as students can apply their word processing skills acquired from a digital literacy class to complete work in language arts, science, math, geography, history, social studies, and art. Moreover, they can transition their knowledge to tasks outside of the classroom. Now that makes it a technology skill worth teaching!
5. Word Processing Apps Support Collaboration
The final reason to teach word processing is to promote collaboration. Word processors application such as Microsoft’s Word for the Web or Google Docs have sharing tools. Students can invite collaborators to view and/or edit a document. This allows them to work in pairs or teams to complete an assignment. It is an excellent way to co-author a publication. When everyone in the class has mastery of word processing tools they can contribute to a group project confidently.
Need to Teach Word Processing?
TechnoEditor, a TechnoKids technology project, teaches word processing by having students edit stories, poems, and comics. The lessons are ideal for elementary and middle school students. Each assignment introduces a new skill such as text and image formatting, drawing techniques, page layout options, and mastery of editing tools.
Do you have 30 seconds? Here’s more about what your students will learn using TechnoEditor.
Another great resource is the blog article, Word Processing Skills in the Classroom. This previous posts lists basic and advanced word process skills that students should achieve. Check it out!