Teaching technology tips
Below we have provided a few suggestions for teaching and creating assessments when presenting Microsoft Office software and other technology topics in your classroom. For general teaching tips, see our Teaching Tips.
Creating Microsoft Office assignments:
- Make sure your assignment questions and instructions are clear and easy to understand. Remember that what seems obvious and clear to someone who already has a skill is not always so obvious to a beginner. Try to avoid jargon, or tech talk.
- Use familiar examples. Documents like flyers, cover letters, and advertisements are probably already familiar to your students, even if they haven’t created them in Office before. If your students understand the purpose of a document, it will be easier for them to understand the reasons behind the changes you ask them to make in the assignment instructions.
- Be aware that some steps in an assignment may impact other steps. Sometimes a particular step in an assignment will make it difficult to go back and correct prior mistakes. For example, you might ask students to perform a function in Excel that changes the content of a cell that’s referenced in a previous step. In these cases, you may want to warn students to double-check their work before taking that step.
- Make a few examples ahead of time to show students how the different stages of an assignment should look. Some students find this type of visual helpful. As you go through the assignments yourself, you can take screenshots or copy your file at different stages of completeness.
- Consider providing hints. In Excel and Access, where some actions should result in particular numbers, you may want to tell students what those numbers should be. This won’t tell them how to do the task, but it will enable them to check their work independently.
Teaching social media and online application topics:
- Safety first. Make sure students understand online privacy and safety before asking them to sign up for an account or enter any personal information. Our Internet Safety tutorial is a good resource for discussing this topic in class.
- Be flexible about what online tasks you ask students to do. Some assignments may need to be optional, depending on what students are comfortable sharing.
- Consider setting up fake social media and/or email account to use as examples in class. This can help you avoid sharing your own personal accounts. You can even invent characters to go with these fake accounts (although they should be realistic).
- Consider providing resources for learners to practice sharing and posting. For instance, for an assignment on uploading a photo album you may want to provide a folder of sample images.