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Technology and the New Teacher: Word Processing

About this Daily Classroom Special
Technology and the New Teacher is designed to introduce you to the topics, successes, and pitfalls of technology in the classroom. It was written by Buzz Eyler, a Teachers Network web mentor who has been leading in-service training in technology use for the past 12 years.  

(Note: This page was written in 1999. Some information may be dated.)

Word Processing

Most of us can not imagine a world without a word processor for letters, stories, and other documents. To merely hit the delete key to fix mistakes or change whole words with the flick of a mouse makes literary life sweet.

As a college student, you have probably submitted many projects using electronic type generation. Now, as a teacher, the challenge is to use it in a manner that will help your teaching. Read on for some ideas.

With a little thought, organizing your documents on your computer is far easier than in a file cabinet. Depending upon your grade level, create folders or directories for broad categories of subjects: letters to parents, newsletters, curriculum, etc. Save documents into these areas for easy retrieval and revision.

Create and save template documents, especially of newsletters and forms. You can then merely revise the text, print it and still have the template for another day.

A note about saving documents. Under all file menus are two items: save and save as... Why is there a difference?

The first time you save a document, they are exactly the same. Both allow you to name the file and tell the computer where to store it. However, if you make changes and do a save, it overwrites the original document. If you do a save as, then you can change the name and have two copies, the original and the updated file. This would allow you to keep a template for use again.

Most word processors have a spell check feature. Use it and teach your children to use it. Remember it does not catch grammar errors or things like "not" when you mean "no." You still have to proofread. Also, teach the students to use the thesaurus for substituting a better word.

Try to get your hands on programs which combine word processing and easy placement of graphics. These are referred to as desktop publishing programs. They not only let you design your page, you can use different text styles and manipulate a graphic's size and position merely by dragging it. A couple of examples (and I have no interest in any of these products) are PrintShop Deluxe CD Ensemble, Presswriter, Student Writing Center and PageMaker for high-end layout.

Get out there and start producing materials for your room, parent communication and student projects which reflect a high quality look and content. 

Advanced Topics
Curriculum Development
Mac vs IBM
Printers & Copiers
Word Processing


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