Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lesson Three: Word Processing and Desktop Publishing in Education

On Today’s Blog:

Applying Word Processing and Desktop Publishing in Education

                                 Word Processor                              
         DTP or Desktop Publishing  Program
            Bloom’s Revised Technology Taxonomy  and Wiki
Technologically Explorations
                                               Assistive Technologies and Zoho                                      
                 Webquest and ReadtheWords              
 Online Tools for Teachers:  QuizStar, Academic Skill Builders, Assign-A-Day and Dimio



Word Processor

The term word processor can either refer to a computerized machine, whose primary focus is to do word processing or a general purpose computer that can use processing software. It is important to note here that many forget that there was originally a machine, must like a typewriter, which was referred to as a word processor. The common characteristics of a word processor or word processing programs include the following: inserting text into previously stored documents, formatting text in specific ways, text input, storage, retrieval, formatting, text editing, and printing.

Common features of most word processing programs:

  • Insert and delete text
  • Select text
  • Change font size, color, and format
  • Copy, cut, paste, drag, and undo functions
  • Center, left, or right align text
  • Search and replace specific words
  • Format and modify text style
  • Use Word wraparound
  • Format paragraphs
  • Print in portrait or landscape mode

Most Word Processing Programs Include:

  • Create headers and footers
  • Automatically indent new paragraphs
  • Create footnotes
  • Overstrike text
  • Engage form letter merging
  • Automatically hyphenate words in the computer’s dictionary
  • Overstrike text
  • Automatically reference sources 

The word processor was introduced with the process of writing depended heavily on penmanship. Creating documents was a slow, tedious process and students were required to develop good penmanship. They were taught to hold their pens the correct way and those whose penmanship needing improving were usually given many more pages to practice on. With the introduction of word processors, teachers moved away from penmanship and began putting emphasis on student’s typing skills instead.  Now instead of having to erase their mistakes or start over, the word processor allowed students to correct their mistakes with a click of the mouse. Teachers shifted their emphasis from teaching to learning because students were able to self-correct, reflect, and revise their work using the word processor. Students are more focused on their creativity and less worried about their penmanship or making errors. Spelling and grammar became easier as well as the ability to edit and start again. Word processing promotes creative thinking skills. Students can express themselves in numerous ways and teachers can develop lessons that reach different student’s learning styles.

The following are some examples of word processing activities:

  • Writing news articles
  • Writing poems
  • Writing plays
  • Writing their autobiographies
  • Writing biographies of other people
  • Creating lists of factual newsletters by asking students to add sentences or paragraphs about important classroom events for the week or month
  • Creating class books, with one page of personal information for each child
  • Creating content-area class books, such as “Animals Where I live” or “People in My Community”
  • Writing thank you notes, letters, and invitations
  • Writing collaborative stories


Desktop Publishing Program

DTP or Desktop Publishing Program is centered on the appearance of words, letters, texts, symbols, etc. Though, it is similar to the word processor, its capabilities are more detail orientated. It’s been referred to as an attractive arrangement or elaborate control of the form and appearance of individual pages. Nonetheless, DTP produces pages or documents at professional quality level, making precise alternations to the page layout. DTP promotes creative thinking skills and encourages students to be creative and think critically. Students can write texts and then edit them, they can produce drawings or photographs, and they can also arrange text and graphics on a page. As an individual not yet teaching, DTP is one of my favorite programs to play with because the possibilities of creating are endless.


          I started this assignment by watching Frontline’s Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier and I was immediately engulfed in “the virtual world.” I would say on average, I may spend 10 hours a week on my computer; however, my cell phone is glued to my hip.  I just couldn’t understand how children and adults could spend 15-20 hours a day glued to their computer until I got deeper into the film and explored the other sources given to us as guides to this lesson. Therefore, for this assignment I would like to discuss the wiki I have chosen and how it correlates with the virtual world.

            I decided on the wiki entitled, In the World of Books, a book review wiki and podcast for teens and young adults. It was created by Carol VanHook, a retired teacher from the Southeast Polk Community School District and this will make the ten year anniversary for her wiki. Carol lives in Iowa and she attended the Tennessee Technological University. She’s very in tuned with technology. She has a blog, a Twitter account, and Tumblur account to name just a few. The purpose of her wiki is to address reading and books for teens and young adults. She also encourages users to sharpen their communication skills, while practicing using wiki and other internet tools. She also encourages her fellow wiki users to be communitarian and listen to others, giving feedback and being respectable. Her intended audience is teens and young adults; however, members can be teens, young adults, or even parents, teachers, librarians, or authors. She encourages anyone who is interested in promoting teen reading to join. She emphasizes the importance of keeping material and language appropriate for all viewers.

The Purpose of the Revised Blooms’ Taxonomy-

In 2008, Google identified the traits or abilities they were seeking in 21st Century Employees:


“... communication skills. Marshalling and understanding the available evidence isn't useful unless you can effectively communicate your conclusions.”
“... team players. Virtually every project at Google is run by a small team. People need to work well together and perform up to the team's expectations. ”

Original Terms
New Terms

If we examine the ISTE Standards for students we see the first two standards involve creating and collaborating.

1.      Creating and Innovation-this suggests that students should apply their existing knowledge to create or generate new ideas.  

2.      Communication and Collaboration- this suggests that students should communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats. This is shown in the multiple sources references in Bloom’s Revised Technology Taxonomy.

Assistive Technologies and Zoho

                Assistive technologies were legislated into law by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990; however, they did not see successful implementation until the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-446) Assisted Technology according to IDEA is, “Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.” However, this does not included a medical device that is surgically implanted. The term device can mean hardware, software, or a stand-alone assistive device.  The definition of an assistive technology is very board; therefore, it gives IEP teams the flexibility they need to make decisions that are appropriate for their children who need assistive technology devices. It is important to note that a child may need assistance from one or more devices. These should be addressed in the child’s IEP.
 The following are some examples of assistive technologies:

       Academic and learning aids

       Assistive Listening Devices and Environmental Aids

       Augmentative Communication

       Computer Access and Instruction

       Environmental Control
       Mobility Aids

      Pre- Vocational and Vocational Aids
 Seating and Position
       Visual Aids

             Zoho is focused around business; however, they do have programs that could be beneficial to education as well.Zoho Writer offers world documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with the ability to store, share, and sync. Files are shared securely over a cloud application program. These assistive technologies are essential for learning. If these devices were not available to children then they could not learn or they would struggle desperately. It is my role as an educator to meet the needs of my students; therefore, I must fight for their well being and ability to learn effectively. Collaboration with other teachers as well as the children and his or her parent is top priority with students who need these devices.

Zoho is more focused around the business aspect of things; therefore, I wouldn’t encourage this program in my classroom. It does have mail, a presentation creator, and a writer; however, standard computers come with all of these programs. Regardless, of the price, every child should have an equal opportunity at learning. As I mentioned above collaboration is key. Collaboration with other teachers as well as administrators should be active role daily so that these children see their needs meet.

2.    Online Tools for Teachers and Dimio

a.    Quiz Star: is an online quiz creator for teachers. It can manage classes and quizzes, attach multimedia files to questions, match quizzes in multiple languages, it is accessible from any internet connected computer, and it allows students to complete and revive their quizzes. Teachers create a class, create a quiz, administer the quiz, and finally view the results. Students can search for classes online, take their quizzes, and review their scores.

b.    Academic Skill Builders: is an educational gaming website. There is a free version that comes with your basic games; however, they do offer an Arcademics Plus version. This version allows teachers to customize the gaming content, has interactive view lessons, and progress reports and those are just some of the perks.

c.    Assign-A-Day: is an online calendar for both teachers and their students. The goal of this educational website is to enhance teacher student communication through an online teacher-managed calendar. Teachers can create assignments that span multiple dates as well as share calendars to work collaboratively with other educators.

d.    Dimio: is a text to speech program with the function of Automatic Speech Recognition. This web based program can read aloud the written text and choose the sentences to be promoted based upon the vocal answers of the user. It can also convert to various languages. It also has available other software programs such a D-Speech, D-Shutdown, Dsynchronize, DTASKMANAGER, HD-Hacker, D-Clear Systems. All of these programs are available for download from any Windows computer.

I found that Dimio appeared to be out of date. The website looked to be older and the programs were pretty basic and could be found on any computer. As for QuizStar, I found the website interest and beneficial. I think children would enjoy an alternative to the traditional scantron or written test. Also, it would grade the exam, so students would be able to view their grades quicker than if the teacher had to grade them by hand. As for Academic Skill Builders, I thoughts their target audience was elementary students. I found this to be a good website and I think my students would enjoy it because their brains are so in tune with technological devices already. Here, they would be able to play games at school and learn in the process. And finally, Assign-A-Day, was very standard. I viewed it as a website very similar to what is already offer on Microsoft Office and through school based website. Now, students are encouraged to keep check of their grades and assignments with whatever program the school has selected to use as whole. All of these programs on the basic level are free; however, I don’t think I would recommend these to my fellow educators because now standard computers come with programs that already have one more of these programming functions available.

3.    Full Measure

Full Measure or Powertalk is an educational website designed to create automatic speech for PowerPoint presentations. It is a free program that automatically speaks any presentation or slide. It speaks the text as it appears on the screen as well as hidden text attached to images. It is compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint and works on Windows 7, XP, and Vista. I could use this in a school setting with the availability of microphones. I do think my children would like it and it would be an alternative to traditional typing. One downfall of this program however, is that is only compatible with Windows programming. With a lot of schools using ipads in the classroom I would need a traditional computer lab for this program to be efficient. A lot of classrooms are going to mobile labs.

4.                Webquest and ReadtheWords

\             Webquest: an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all of student’s research comes from the web. It works with Google Scholar and ProQuest search engines. It uses the internet as a resource. The teacher designs a content area of focus for her students. The student then are given a task and a process of completing their task such as worksheets, guides, or instructions and they use the web to complete their assignment.

            ReadtheWords is a website that can convert anything to speech such as text, files, or web pages. The site creates an audio file, which has a variety of readers and languages.

I think this is a very beneficial program to teach students how to research effectively using the web. Google Scholar and ProQuest are two scholarly databases. Giving students independent topics or placing them in groups for projects could be beneficial using this source. Read the words appeared to be very out of date. However, I would encourage other educators to take part in web quest if they are teaching their students how to search effectively on the web or if they give students reports or group projects to encourage them to use this source so the teacher and student can collaborate together.

Next Week: 
Presentation Programs for Teaching and Learning 

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