The “Basic Suite” in the Classroom

The “Basic Suite” applications includes a word processor, spreadsheet software, and presentation software.  These widely used programs support professionals in the workplace and in education.  According to Roblyer, the relative advantage of this software suite could be summarized in four areas: improved productivity, improved appearance, improved accuracy, and  more interaction and collaboration (2016).  The Geometry classroom, particularly one based on problem and project-based learning, can demonstrate this rationale for both students and educators to use the basic suite in the classroom.

The basic suite allows students to get organized and complete tasks in a timely manner.  With improved productivity comes improved appearance.  The time saved in producing materials allows students and teachers to create products that emulate the work of a professional, and to be creative in demonstrating their learning.  For example, Geometry students may produce maps, diagrams, charts, tables, reports, or tutorials using the basic suite.  Students can produce excellent looking products in a fraction of the time and resources needed to produce a similar product by hand.  Ultimately, the time and money saved can be refocused on the growth of the students.

The advantages do not stop with increased productivity and an improved appearance in materials or products.   Record keeping, data collection, modeling, and access to spreadsheet math functions also boosts accuracy in student work.  The collaborative features of many software packages also supports accurate work by allowing students to receive real time feedback from teachers or fellow classmates.  Student work is not simply placed in a basket for one person to read.  Rather, it is shared with a community of learners to encourage better products and deeper learning.  Teachers may also use the basic suite to create interactive games, presentations, or discovery lessons.  For example,  Geometry students can predict and experiment with number manipulation to discover the outcome of changing a side length or angle measure within a shape.  I created a discovery activity for students related to the sum of interior angles of a polygon using Google Sheets.

However, it is also important to note the connection between the student in the classroom and the employee in the workplace.  Functions from the basic suite allow students to see and use real life applications of math.  The use of these programs in the classroom also allow students to learn and practice several 21st century skills needed once they graduate from college and/or join the workforce.

References:

Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Seventh ed., pp. 103-104). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

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