July 2006, Volume 6, Issue 5

Excel: A Spreadsheet Application?

Microsoft Office (also available for the Mac) has a number of tools in each of its applications to help students learn concepts in different ways. To get just a little peek at the top of the iceberg, check out http://internet4classrooms.com/on-line.htm. Click on any application, and feast your eyes on the possibilities. Each application window has specific uses for each program along with templates that you can download for immediate use! (To get more, just Google something like, "Excel templates for teachers.")

Burst out of that box that says that Power Point is for presentations, Access for data, and Excel for accounting. Teachers have taken these applications to another level. For example, you can have ESL or very basic ABE students drag and drop words and punctuation to form sentences in Excel. Try it. Click on this Sentence Power link, also listed below as "Fostering Literacy Using Excel," and test your skills. To drag and drop in Excel, place your cursor over the cell until it turns into four arrows in four direction. Once that happens, drag from the border and drop the cell into the box of your choice.

You must have EXCEL on your machine to open templates. NOTE: Be sure to check the tabs at the bottom of the "spreadsheet" to navigate. (Of course, Excel is, indeed, an excellent spreadsheet program with easy formulas that you and students can apply to their needs. Create a budget, and have the total show up automatically. Make a loan, and find out immediately what interest you'll be charged over the years. On and on.)

The internet4classrooms site is just one resource with several templates at different levels that you can download for immediate use. Following are some in Excel.

Sample Workbooks to Download

OK, OK. So some of the tools require that you have some knowledge of Excel. Why not? Here's the deal. Join me for an intro to Excel on Friday, August 4th, at NOON. All you pay for is the long distance call through your own service. If you have minutes on your cell phone, you won't pay a dime! You may also use a card, of course, which makes it super cheap. (I have a calling card that charges three cents a minute. So for 1.5 hours, which is probably ideal, I pay $2.70. Not bad for a tutorial!).

You will need to contact me and reserve your ticket for the August 4th session. I'll take up to 10 people on that one. The training and computer connection are free. You will need to have Excel on your computer along with Internet connectivity separate from your phone.  Office 2003/Windows XP will have us dancing to the same tune. Once I hear from you, I will send you the connection information. We'll join by phone, by chat, and by computer.

Time not good? Let me know. We aim to please. Want to schedule something later in the fall? We can do that. Want to learn other applications and ways to integrate them into teaching? We can do that, and more, and we can do it all online with phone and computer connectivity. It's like having your private tutor right there at your convenience.

In addition, Microsoft has excellent training, much of which has audio and lots of visuals, practice, and quizzes to help you learn their applications. I love their tutorials. Go to http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/training/default.aspx, and scroll to the middle of the page to find a list of applications. Click on one, and you start learning.

The Microsoft site also has dozens of ready-made templates in all of their applications, which you may download free and use immediately.

My suggestion? Start slowly. Take one application at a time. Learn how to do some simple things using its tools, download some templates, try them with your students, and then go to the next step. Nothing short of Wonderland for you and your learners. Enjoy!

Confused? Need help? Need ideas? Call me (970-562-4418) or email me (leecy@swadulted.com).

Want a Second Life?

Will Jones, with Ann Miller's Montezuma/Dolores program in Cortez, has challenged us to apply game technology to help students acquire academic and workplace skills! The May issue of Business Week explains it in more detail. Buy one immediately and think of the possibilities there for learning and earning. The challenge is there, and the tools available. You can't beat the cost, either!

Second Life and other sites like it simulate the "real world" with a virtual environment. Anyone can join for free and explore the fascinating world developing there. Transactions are completed in Linden Dollars, which can then be exchanged for real dollars if you are an entrepreneur. You can buy and sell virtual products (homes, gadgets, land, and more) that you or others create. You can take workshops and classes on just about any topic you can imagine. As a matter of fact, businesses and universities are now beginning to use the virtual Second Life environment as their classroom.

Think of how pilots are often trained through simulation before they are allowed to fly their aircrafts. Second Life allows that kind of life experience without risk. If you (your avatar representation) die or get into trouble, go home and get a life again. Now, when people say, "Get a life," you know where to go!

Anyone can access Second Life, but if you want to download the needed application to work as a visitor or citizen, you will need a good video card and a fast connection. Go to http://secondlife.com/ and enjoy!

Enough with the questions. Now it's your turn to ask.

CONTACT ME: leecy@swadulted.com