The basic suite, according to Roblyer, includes three of the most widely used software support tools are word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs. Using software tools can provide many benefits including improved productivity, improved appearance, improved accuracy, and more support for interaction and collaboration. The recent developments in software tools include web-based collaboration tools, open-source software, mobile apps, web-enabled features, better file exchange compatibility, and software suites.
Word processing programs are text-based and allow both production and revision as well as the ability to add graphics. The use of word processing programs provide many relative advantages. It saves time, enhances document appearance, allows sharing of documents, allows collaboration on documents, and supports student writing and language learning. An example of a word processing program is Microsoft Word which I have used for years. Recently I have started using Google docs which allows for convenient document sharing. Since it is web-based, the ability to access it from anywhere is very useful. At this point, this advantage is just for myself as a teacher. My students have not been able to use any type of word processing due to no devices available. However, my students have access to six this year and I am hoping to provide them with the opportunity to type a writing piece as part of the publishing step in the writing process.
Spreadsheets are programs that are designed to store information in rows and columns. They are used to organize and manipulate numerical data (Roblyer 2016). There are several benefits that spreadsheets offer. They save time, organize displays of information, support asking “what if” questions, increase motivation to work with mathematics, and research on the impact of spreadsheet use. An example of spreadsheets is Microsoft Excel which our school uses for report cards. I also have my grade book in Microsoft Excel. My grade book is setup to calculate averages and the mean and median for the class. This is definitely a time-saver for me. It also adds accuracy. Just this past month, I have started using Google sheets which is similar to Google docs in the way that you can share your documents. Also, the web-based accessibility again is valuable.
Presentation software is used to display information in a slideshow format. Presentation software helps organize thinking about a topic, enhances the impact of spoken information, and allows for collaboration on presentations. Presentation software can be used in many ways in the classroom. It can be used for presentation of information summaries, demonstrations of materials for discussion, presentation of illustrative problems and solutions, automatically-forwarding practice screens, assessments screens, brief or full tutorials, book reports, game-based reviews, interactive storybooks and student presentations of project work. An example of a program for presentations is Microsoft PowerPoint. I have used Microsoft PowerPoint sporadically throughout my years as as student, but very few times as a teacher. Google Slides and Prezi are two more recent programs that I have been introduced to. Both are web-based and provide the ability for collaboration as well as convenient sharing capabilities. I prefer the ease of Google Slides, but Prezi offers a visually appealing presentation. This year I plan on using interactive presentations for review using Jeopardy Rocks. I would also like to create an interactive storybook as a class.
Using the basic suite in my classroom provides several advantages for myself and my students. Individually they are useful, but using all three provide a time-saving, organizational, and visual appealing component that is invaluable.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.