Word Processing and Desktop Publishing

This week’s readings were focused on Word Processing and Desktop Publishing software and use in class.  I use MS Word on a daily basis for everything from quick notes to formal reports. When I was a teacher, I would use it to create formal letters to send home to parents for communication. Much of the letter writing use has now switched to email, but there are still occasions where the printed letter is needed.  Most businesses these days use some type of word processing software in the day-to-day work of the office.  It is critical that students understand how to use the software and to format things properly. I know many students come into class having played with word processing, but don’t understand how to really make the program work for them and how to format items properly.

Desktop publishing is great for creating visual impact elements like fliers and posters and brochures.  Again, there are basic concepts to creating items like this that include font size, type, white space, graphics etc. Many students have played with this, but don’t understand the basics of layout and such. Using classroom content assignments combined with these concepts is a great way to help them get prepared.

The most interesting thing I got out of this week’s assignments were some of the assistive technologies and resources.  Of particular interest were http://www.4teachers.org/tools and http://readthewords.com. 4 Teachers contains some EXCELLENT resources that are quick and easy to incorporate to the classroom. I used Rubistar when I was teaching and loved it for creating all my rubrics.  I really liked Read The Words for a text to speech program. It’s ability to submit entire word documents to be converted is great for those who have large libraries of information in .doc or .pdf format.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 7

Assistive Technologies

 Georgia Project for Assistive Technology

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This resource provides a lot of background making the case for assistive technologies and what the legal support is for them in the classroom. Once you get past the definitions and legal info, there is some really useful examples of securing and implementing assistive technologies. There are some really outstanding presentations as well as a great list of resources.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
This would be a great website to help an educator looking to effectively implement AT into their district and/or classroom. There is material on securing funding, assessing, implementing and tracking AT.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I think this is an outstanding resource that is rich with information. It takes a bit to wade through the legal background bits, but this may be necessary in some situations to make a case for AT. It is FREE, which is always a bonus.

 

Zoho

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
I’m a bit confused as to why this is in the AT section. Zoho has collaboration applications, business applications and productivity applications. It appears that some of the apps are free for basic use. Finding pricing is NOT easy.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
Using the collaboration tools with classes and on projects would help those who might not be able to make it to class all the time. The productivity tools might be a good alternative if the school system didn’t already have productivity tools.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I don’t know if I’d really recommend this site. Pricing is really hard to find so it is hard to know if it’s affordable on a larger scale or not. Because of the integration with Google Apps, this might be more appropriate for a school that already uses Google Apps to consider.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 8

Online Tools for Teachers

4Teachers – Rubistar

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
Rubistar is a great website for creating grading rubrics for many types of assignments. They have a number of examples and rubric templates. Rubics are critical for quality assessment of students.  It clearly defines what is to be graded and how it is to be graded.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I have used this resource before to create rubrics for class projects. One project in particular was a web search project where the students researched information on tsunami and then used that information into a Word document.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I highly recommend this resource. It makes rubric creation very easy. It is FREE! Teachers can also save their rubrics for future use.

 

4Teachers – PBL Checklist

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This site contains customizable checklists targeted at project based learning. Often, one of them most difficult things for students working on projects is getting organized and staying on track. The use of a checklist is a great visual tool for helping students in this very thing. The checklists are divided by grade levels as well as subject areas.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this for class projects over the course of the year. I would start off with a high level of detail helping the students organize and stay on task, then start moving to lower levels of detail to allow the students greater freedom to use their own knowledge. (Scaffolding)
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
This is another great site. I wish I had known about this site when I was teaching. The site is free and has a great breakdown of lists for different grade levels as well as different content areas. They are also available in both English and Spanish. I highly recommend this site.

 

4Teachers – Equity Index

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
Equity Index provides a website that leads to resources focused on diversity, differentiation and inclusion. It is divided by type of inclusion and then by the resources available. They target RubiStar, TrackStar and Web links. These targets are specific to that area of inclusion. This includes Special Needs, Multicultural, Disabilities, Assistive Technology and others.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this for differentiation in the classroom assignments as well as for specific lessons on multicultural topics. For example, The links lead to a RubiStar rubric that involves creating a Database-supported lesson on famous Hispanics.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
This is another highly recommended site for me. The site is FREE! It is very intuitive to use and provides a wealth of resources quite quickly.

 

4Teachers – Dimio

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
Dimio is a group of utilities that include basic file handling up to a speech recognition/generation software. It can read written text with a customizable voice that can be manipulated to represent a dialog between multiple people.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I think this could be highly useful when studying a play script or in language classes. I could also see this as an assistive technology for those who need written and audio support for comprehension.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I think this sounds like a very interesting tool, but it is somewhat complex to use and takes a fair investment of time. It is something I would suggest getting used to over the summer for use in class rather than some of the other resources here that can be utilized within minutes. It is FREE!

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 9

FullMeasure

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
FullMeasure is an open source program project targeted at accessibility programs. There are three programs they offer currently. PowerTalk which reads PowerPoint presentations automatically. TouchCD which allows someone to use a single button to control CD playback. Finally, ClipTalk which converts text to speech as it is copied to the clipboard. The playback quality is ok, but pronunciation is rough. I found some sounds were dropped and words with different pronunciations (record) were only  pronounced one way.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I think this could be useful with students who have dyslexia or other disability where audio is needed for support. I could see typing up the class notes in PowerPoint and providing this to the student.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
It is FREE! That’s always good. I think it is OK, but the vocal quality is rough. It is pretty easy to use, so that makes a positive. I think it’s a decent starting place and would give a qualified recommendation. If you need this occasionally, then great. If text to speech is a regular need for you and your classes/students, then I would look into something more sophisticated.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 10

WebQuest/ReadtheWords

 

WebQuest

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
WebQuests are discovery learning activities where the students are given a question, premise or topic and then assigned a task to accomplish. The task requires researching internet resources and processing that information to provide some type of result (report, video, website, etc.) based on that information. There are MANY WebQuests out there that have been shared.  The site also provides a structure for creating new WebQuests.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this much like a rubric for providing the guidelines for a project and identifying what is being graded, but the structure is more supportive and detailed than a simple rubric. Could use this to assign each person of a group project on program development to a different position and then direct them to research what that position does and how it works together with the other members of the development team.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
It is FREE! I would recommend this source. It is fairly intuitive and it is easy to find a WebQuest related to your content area and grade level quickly.

 

Read the Words

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This is a text to speech online utility. It has the ability to choose multiple voices. You can type in text or convert entire documents and emails to speech. Not only can your convert the text, you can also save it as MP3 file. Along with that you can create a video or an avatar.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this for those who need audio support for understanding and learning. I think I would use it where I have long documents already created or wanted to create a multivoice dialogue as in a play or language lesson.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
There is a basic trial that is free, but to really get use of the utility requires a subscription that ranges from $40/year to $100/year. I would recommend this for converting large numbers of existing documents to text. But I think recording of the teachers actual voice is more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

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