101 Ways of Using Office to Support Learners .
Discover the hidden secrets of Word, PowerPoint and Excel to support learners!
It's amazing the things you can do in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. For example, in MS Word it is possible to create colourful cloze tasks, plan essays and projects using mind mapping as well as incorporate audio and video to capture the imagintion of your learners.
The are many advantages of using Office over other software prorgrams, which can often be replicated in Word, PowerPoint or Excel. For example:
- there are thousands of free images, clip art and audio which can be downloded for free from the Microsoft website,
- colourful templates can also be downloaded for free,
- you can quickly build up a portfolio of resources which can be easily edited and customised to suit different needs,
- educational video clips are increasingly available to download for free - resources can easily be built around the curriculum, for example history, modern studies, English etc.
- Word and PowerPiont can easily be customised to be accessible to learners with addtional support needs.
Creating colourful banner headings in Word
Why not add some spice to your Word documents and bring some life to them?
Word, PowerPoint and Excel offer a range of tools which can add life and colour to your worksheets.
The first place to start is to see if you have Word's 'Drawing' toolbar available on your screen. It should look similar to the one below:
If you can't see it on your screen then follow these step to make it available:
- Open MS Word
- Select the View menu (or Alt+V)
- Select 'Toolbars' from the drop down menu
- Select the 'Drawing' option. The 'Drawing' toolbar should now be available.
The Drawing toolbar gives you access to a range of tools, for example, Word Art, diagrams, 3-D shapes etc.
Find out how you can make your own colourful banners in Word by selecting the link below which contains a step-by-step tutorial. This will open in a new browser window. The download time will be dependent on the speed of your Internet connection. You will also need the Flash player to run the tutorial.
With a bit of imagination you can use form fields in Word to create cloze activities. One great feature of fields is the ability to handle multiple-choice answers. You can make a long or short list of possible answers that will appear when the user clicks on the grey box.
Cloze activities can be colourful and engaging. They are also a great way to help learners with spelling, picutre/word matching ( for English as an Additional Language EAL), and for sums, similar to the examples below.
Cloze activity to support literacy
Cloze activity using sums
How do I create a cloze activity?
Creating a cloze activity is really quite simple. The link below contains a step-by-step tutorial. This will open in a new browser window. The download time will be dependent on the speed of your Internet connection. You will also need the Flash player to run the tutorial.
Incorporating audio and video into Word
Using MS Word can be an invaluble tool to engage learners who have limited attention span or have difficulties with reading. By incorporating audio and video into Word it can transform a 'boring' word processor into an innovative learning resource.
For example, it is possible to record a narrative in Word to supplement a text based document.
The Word template (free download - link below) can be used in a number of ways, for example, setting questions and asking learners to 'speak' or record their answer or simply recording your own voice to support the written information.
To use the template follow the instructions below:
- locate the 'Speak my answer' toolbar, similar to the illustration below:
- place the cursor at the point you would like your narration/answer to be, for example on the dotted line.
- click the 'Speak my answer toolbar - when the 'Sound Object' box appears select the red recording button.
- record the narration/answer.
- Click on the speaker icon to play back the narration/answer.
On-screen keyboards in multple languages
Who will benefit?
How much does it cost?
Penfriend XL sells for £120 for a single user, and £30 for additional users. Scottish educational establishments can get special pricing from Learning and Teaching Scotland.
Penfriend XP: Version 3
Penfriend XP can help dyslexic and physically disabled people to write faster by predicting the next word they want to type.
Highlights in Version 3 include:
- Still better prediction
- New 30,000 word lexicon
- Handles empty lexicons
- Drag and drop lexicons
- Learning of new words improved
- Extended on-screen keyboard
- Easy to type numbers and URLs
- Better interactions with other programs
- Links to free voices
- Improved preferences.