Thursday, April 26, 2012

Word Class

We teach Computer basics and Microsoft Office basic programs at the library in order to help the people who visit us use these programs more effectively.

Although a basic class outline is provided by a staff member from somewhere in the system we can always make up our own PowerPoints and exercises as long as we hit all the markers for what the class should cover.  I am always re-inventing myself anywho so when I do a class I tweak my presentation like a fiend.

Microsoft Word, especially the 2010 version is a really versatile program.  I spend time talking about the Ribbon and the Tabs and the Groups pointing out the main features.  But!  I don't like lecturing and I want to keep my class engaged and actually working with the program.  Also, if they are busy typing they are not gooning me and making me nervous.

For my last class, quite at the last minute, I thought up a small series of exercises that I felt used the unique features of Word.  It went really well and next time I teach Word I will have something more elaborate written out.  Here's what I did:

We're having a big party.  We'll start with a party committee.  We create a Word Table with columns for Food/Decorations/Entertainment/Setup/Takedown and four rows for our helpers.  Highlight the column headings.   Highlight the names of the people who have confirmed they will help.  Click to see example!

I am in my my snuggly home writing so I don't have Word 2010, alas.  Use your imagination to think that we have this nice vast array of templates in Word instead of 2003's download everything, install Active X blah blah blah...

Instead of the bozo invite illustrated here we have a nice invitation that allows us to show how the templates do all your formatting for you and you just replace text.  We will have been GOOD DOGS and will have shown them the Resume templates and wizards before we have our fun "tell a story" exercise :)

Also in Word 2010 there is a big category of templates for Lists. List makers unite!  There is a subcategory for lists for the home, which I used, and several options for grocery lists.  Since we are in 2003 la la land here at DOA Central, we have this downloadable example:

The point of all this is, I really want people to see that Word is more than just a blank page on your screen.  It's basic function is that it is a mock up of a piece of paper.  You can do so much with this paper though, things that are actually useful to you in everyday life.  Next time I teach Word I will have a really cool scenario.  

Or...what about one where the person is applying for a we help them with a small cover letter using Word's helpful, oh my G, it looks like you're writing a letter helper.  We do a brief resume template.  We use the list feature to give them a workspace for their job history components so they can write adaptable to the situation resumes and their job history is all nicely laid out.  Also they can use that list feature to track where they have already applied and when...yup.  You can see, I hope, how useful it is to show the basic elements of the program, but you need to also get them to use it in class so it makes more sense.

Just thinking out loud...D.O.A.

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