My Blogging Experience

Productivity Tools

In this class, I have learned about four productivity tools: Word processing, Drawing/Painting, Databases, and Spreadsheets. The productivity tools are tools that we can use to create documents that are professional and much easier to create than simply using a paper and pen. For my examples, I used Microsoft Office, but there are other software programs available on different computers to perform the same activities.

1. Word Processing

Word Processing is probably the productivity tool that most people are familiar with. It can be used to process documents on the computer. There are a large number of different things you can do using a Word Processor. You can format the font (size, color effects, outlines, style), create page or paragraph borders, change the size and margins of the page, create a header and footer, cut and paste, create hyperlinks, format paragraphs (spacing, justification), do spell checks, word counts, insert graphs, pictures, clipart, and drawings along with many other applications. Generally, we use word processing for text documents (essays, reports, posters, title pages, etc). For an example, I have created a cinquain poem using Word.

Refer to the Evergreen Curriculum, Arts Education 9 Music section. Objective five is that students will “develop an understanding of the work of various musicians and composers, considering the context in which the work was created.” To achieve this objective, I would have my students discuss their favorite song. In point form, students will need to create a word document that includes the following:

  • song title
  • composer
  • year composed/recorded
  • artist
  • genre
  • era composed in
  • major events of that era
  • how did the events of the era influence the composer?
  • why was the song composed?

This would be a great way to get students researching something they are interested in while giving them experience in creating a word processing document.

2. Drawing/Painting

Drawing/Painting is usually done using a word processor. If you view the “drawing” toolbar under the “toolbars” option, you will see a variety of options for drawing/painting tools. Autoshapes include a variety of shapes that you can insert into your document. You can place text in these shapes and change their color. There is a line tool that can be used to create various lines on the document (such as borders) or can be used to create your own shapes. You can change the thickness and type of the lines as well. You can also insert a text box (the box will appear around your text when you print the document – like a border). You can insert Wordart – there are pre-made designs or you can design your own. Word art is a great tool for posters. Another great tool is Clipart. You can insert any picture from clipart into your document or draw your own artwork using paint. From there, you can change the settings on your pictures to appear in front or behind text, for example. I have created a poster using painting and drawing tools in Word to provide an example.

For a curriculum example, I have used History 20. One of the objectives is: students will “know that both totalitarian and authoritarian regimes place restrictions on the rights of individual citizens and the involvement of individual citizens in national decision making.” During a class, I would have students work in a computer lab where they will need to create a poster using painting and drawing tools. The poster will show the difference between a totalitarian government and a democratic government. Students can use an example, create a chart, provide a compare and contrast analysis, etc. It is their creative option! This assignment would give students the opportunity to learn about painting and drawing tools while participating in a fun, creative activity.

3. Databases

A database is a tool for organizing and connecting related information. As an example, think of the way a library search engine is set up. You can search by author, title, keyword, etc. and all of the books are recorded in the database and classified so that you can find what you are looking for in your search. A database program will allow you to organize information in that way. For an example, I created a database of birthdays and was able to organize them chronologically.

Module 12 of IP20 is “Introduction to Database Software.” During this unit, I would introduce students to the basics of Databases and then have them chose a topic of their choice (example: ice cream). They will then need to create a database based on that topic that includes at least 10 websites that are related to that topic. They will need to classify them by website address, website title, and subtopic. This gives students a chance to learn about databases while exploring a topic that they are interested in.

4. Spreadsheets

The Spreadsheet program I used was Excel. Spreadsheets use rows and columns and mathematical formulas to help make doing certain projects much easier. Spreadsheets are especially common in the business world where they are used for graph and chart calculations, data collection, and budgeting. The neat thing about spreadsheets is that you can create mathematical formulas and carry them over cells so that you do not have to keep re-entering the formula. I have created a spreadsheet to provide an example of what you can do with spreadsheets! This spreadsheet took me lesson than five minutes to create while creating it on paper using a calculator would take at least 20 minutes.

I think that Spreadsheets are great to use for teaching students in accounting. In the Accounting 20 curriculum, students “Prepare Financial Statements: To prepare a Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Statement of Owners’ Equity for a merchandising firm.” I would have my students prepare their statements using spreadsheets. It is very rare that businesses and accountants prepare their statements on paper. They are more likely to use spreadsheets and business software programs. Having students use Excel to complete their financial statements will give them experience with spreadsheets and help them be more efficient in their work.

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