Teaching and Learning with Microsoft Office and FrontPage: Basic Building Blocks for Computer Integration

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9780130292872: Teaching and Learning with Microsoft Office and FrontPage: Basic Building Blocks for Computer Integration

Concise and to-the-point, this book provides everything the reader needs to know in order to quickly and easily get “up and running” with Microsoft(190) Windows XP, Office XP, and FrontPage XP. It guides readers step-by-step through the use of the software's basic, commonly accessed features. Numerous examples help “lock-in” concepts. Its three-level approach—novice, intermediate, and advanced—accommodates those with varying skill levels by showing readers the functions of each software application; while its concentration on an integrated group of software applications that use many of the same toolbars, menus, commands, etc., makes learning easy and fun, helping build confidence and fostering early competence. The accompanying CD-ROM helps develop efficient and effective skills in an exciting interactive forum. Topics covered include: System Software: MS Windows: The basics of navigating the system; Word Processing: MS Word: The basics of a writing assistant; Spreadsheets: MS Excel: The basics of a “number cruncher” ; Data Management: more MS Excel: The basics of collecting, organizing, and retrieving loads of information; Presentation Software: MS PowerPoint: the basics of creating presentations, handouts, and more; and Web Editor: MS FrontPage: The basics of Web page development. A useful tool for anyone needing to learn the building blocks of the most popular software on the market today, this book is of special importance for educators of primary computer classes, as well as computer-department trainers and those entering the computer workforce.

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Vision of the text

Teaching and Learning with Microsoft Office and Frontpage has been designed to give busy (and often overwhelmed) teachers and students a quick way to understand the basics of key software applications. Our vision is threefold:

  • to give a foundation of the basics of common application software;
  • to provide a vision and a path of how to integrate and utilize the software within classroom settings (Note: Our goal is for you to frequently say,"Yes, I can use this!");
  • to create a learning environment that is engaging, interesting, and effective.

Why so basic?

Three points we want you to remember:

  1. Teachers and students have more demands put on them than ever before.
  2. Application software (e.g., word processors) are more powerful (i.e., have more features) and can offer more help to the teacher and students than in the past.
  3. More than 90 percent of the time that teachers and students use computers they are working on the basic features of the most common software programs.

An understanding of the basic features will help you use the computer in the classroom. Once you have that foundation, you will know what information to request and how to find it as additional, more advanced features are needed. Without the basic foundation, you won't know when, why, or how to use those advanced features. That would only lead to frustration—and we don't want you to experience more of that than necessary.

Who is this?

The subtitle for this text is "Basic Building Blocks for Computer Integration." This is our "Basic Block" who will guide you through the text.

Why was this text written?

As for most projects of this nature, this text came about because of specific needs. In teaching our pre-service and in-service teacher courses, we needed a text that would

  • a. quickly get students and teachers up and running with the basic Office software suite of programs;
  • b. provide examples and projects relevant to individuals who were or wanted to be teachers;
  • c. help preservice and inservice teachers develop the skill, as well as the desire, to integrate these powerful tools into their own classrooms in a manner that would significantly enhance the learning experiences of their present and future students.

How does this text address those needs?

There were several basic philosophies used throughout the development of this text.

  • Don't overkill. Select and use basic key features of the software, but don't try to teach everything. Have learners understand the potential of the software, but let them be aware that they don't have to know it all in order to use the software effectively. As experience and confidence grow, more features can be added to their repertoires.
  • Help individuals quickly gain independence. Although some step-by-step "hand-holding" procedures may be needed in the beginning, quickly show learners how to find features and resolve problems on their own. Help them recognize when and how to obtain answers to questions they will have as they use the software.
  • Support their efforts, but have students grow their own ideas and applications. Students should quickly come to feel this information is relevant now and in their futures. Provide them with examples they can relate to, and support their use of the software to address their own projects and needs. Using the software on their own projects quickly ensures the investment of effort that sustains the long-term use of these tools.
  • Envision the impact of integration. The impact of such tools on personal productivity should be immediately apparent; however, an extended goal is to demonstrate how software can be integrated in the classroom to enhance the educational experiences they develop and experience with their own students in the future.

What's the target content?

The text focuses on teaching Microsoft (MS) Windows XP, Office XP, and FrontPage XP. However, MS Office for Macintosh (Mac) users is also highlighted throughout.

Why use Microsoft Office and FrontPage?

Basically, two reasons drove this decision. First, this software is prevalent in the majority of homes and schools. Second, because they are from the same "family" of software, they work in an integrated manner with many common toolbars, menus, and so on. For the novice, a feeling of familiarity when going from one program to the next is important in building confidence as well as in increasing speed and skill.

Why use a three-level approach?

A three-level approach is utilized within this text to help those who enter the course at various levels of expertise.

  • Level 1 is for the true beginner or novice. It is designed to give step-by-step "hand holding" help on accomplishing basic tasks with the software. It also offers a good review of main features for the more experienced user.
  • Level 2 requires the use of additional and often more advanced features of the software—without the step-by-step instruction. In this level, the software's Help feature is used to find solutions to questions and problems encountered. Key words and questions are given as support to assist with the use of Help. The goal is for both students and teachers to gain independence and confidence by answering their own questions with the assistance of Help.
  • Level 3 addresses integration of the software. Examples are given and students and teachers practice designing and developing technology-integrated learning experiences. Moreover, the relationship of the use of the software with the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) is emphasized.

How are the chapters outlined?

All chapters are structured in a similar fashion. However, each is independent and thus the chapter sequence can be modified to fit the schedules and desires of the course instructor.

I. Introduction
This section explains the goals of the chapters, the purpose of the software, reasons for learning, and some basic ideas of how it can be used by teachers and students.

II. Orientation
This section allows one to view and work with the main workspace of the target software. Menus are examined, and key words, organizational concepts, and tools are highlighted and explained.

III. Level 1
A short scenario or case is given that incorporates some type of project previously completed using the targeted software. Major steps in the process of constructing the project are highlighted, and users are guided through a step-by-step procedure to create a similar project.

IV. Level 2
The scenario from Level 1 generally continues within this lesson and an additional, more complex project is outlined and completed. Users are then directed to alter the program and construct their own version. In this case, users are encouraged to use the program's Help to determine how to complete specific processes. Key words and phrases relevant to completing the task are listed for the individual to use with Help if it is needed. The focus is on using Help to acquire the desired results.

V. Level 3
Integration is the focus of this level. Beginning with a presented lesson plan, users are shown how integration of the software can occur. Moreover, they are given opportunities to attempt to develop technology-enhanced lesson plans given specific situations. They are taught to use the Integration Assessment Questionnaire, and they explore and reflect on the relevant NETS Standards and how their work pertains to those standards.

VI. Resources and references
The final section of each chapter highlights Web sites that the student can visit to either learn how teachers are using the target software in the classroom or complete tutorials to develop additional skills with the software. In addition, Quick References are included to help students recall, identify, and find specific features of the software.

Why is there a CD?

Throughout the text this icon indicates that practice exercises can be found on the text's accompanying CD. These exercises help to develop effective and efficient skills of working with the software. In addition, the contents of the CD will provide needed examples and templates for use on practical teaching and learning tasks.

What are the text's key features?

Lists: The text attempts to present most information in a concise fashion utilizing frequent bulleted and numbered lists.

Workouts: Workouts are regular exercises and projects that the student is directed to work through. These are designed to get the student actively involved early and often with the software. Many of these exercises are augmented by materials found on the accompanying CD.

Modeling: Example products and exercises are used to help students understand what is desired and how it can be achieved.

Reflective/guiding questions: These are used to encourage students to go beyond the immediate application of the software to envision how it could be integrated and transferred to other situations and settings.

Examples: Hundreds of examples of the utilization of the software are given across all age groups and content areas.

Emphasis on Help to gain independence: The use of the softwares' Help programs are highlighted, practiced, and implemented within this training in order to encourage independence and confidence in solving problems encountered when using the software.

Writing style: Concise—get to the point—and move on.

Quick references: At the conclusion of most chapters, there are short synopses or tables identifying basic tasks, formatting, and additional features of the specific software. Thi...

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