The basic suite is an essential part of almost every classroom. Teachers and students alike rely on what the suite has to offer to complete daily activities and assignments. Word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation tools allow students practice skills necessary to 21st century jobs. In addition the effectiveness and efficiency of using these tools in class is also advantageous. “Using a technology tool to do these tasks can free up valuable time that can be re channeled toward working with students or designing learning activities (Roblyer, 2016, pg 110).” More recently basic suites have evolved to be more collaborative and accessible. Google Drive allows users to share and collaborate on live documents, while leaving comments and suggestions. Edits are made instantly and documents can be made public for all to view. Even furthermore, these tools are more accessibly to all, including students with disabilities. A variety of adaptive technologies allow for students unable to type to speak to their document, students who struggle with spelling now have spell check. Below is a break down of the advantages of the 3 main tools of the basic suite:
Word Processing: This tool allows students a place to house their written work. Students can begin the writing process and come back to their document as they please. Because editing a word document is much easier than a written document, students can have more time to “revise and improve their writing Roblyer, 2016, pg 118).” An advantage to using Google Docs as your word processor, is the ability to receive instant feedback. Teachers or peers can be reading a student’s essay and provide comments that instantly appear on the student’s end. This feedback can improve the students writing and aid them in learning about the writing process.
Spreadsheets: This tool is great for math and science classes. It allows students to record data and to make calculations. It also allows the data to be sorted into appropriate groupings and has a feature that creates graphs. As a teacher, spreadsheets can be used to record and track student data. Formative and summative assessments can be recorded onto spreadsheets. Google Sheets has many add-ons that allow for messages to be sent to individuals using Google sheets, which is a great resource.
Presentations: This tool allows students to combine both written expression and creativity. A great advantage to Google Slides is that students can collaborate and interact with one another on their presentations. Teachers can also create presentations that engage their students and encourage further inquiry. It is important, however, to teach into appropriate presentation techniques!
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.