Educators Recommended Not To Require Word

Wednesday, 2007-February-21 at 09:23

Critical Thinking About Word and .doc | Kairosnews

Writing teachers have an obligation to explore the assumptions regarding the one tool we can’t do without in the teaching of writing,the word processor. The following will explore some of the common reasons I believe people continue to use and promote MS Office and its file formats, and I will challenge some of the assumptions behind those reasons and the consequences.

He then goes through some commonly-used reasons why teachers (professors) require students to use Microsoft’s office suite, showing why he feels those reasons may not be compelling.

At some point, I think we need to re-evaluate the use of WYSIWYG word processors and spreadsheets. Are we using resources (including time) effectively & efficiently? Are we teaching students to put presentation before content? It may take a while before we are able to answer those questions, but we can begin by promoting “software diversity”.

I think another reason, which he has not really listed, is redundancy.  Chances are, students’ computers came with a word processor and a spreadsheet program.  It is an unneeded extra cost to require them to purchase another (and the  most expensive one at that) office applications suite.

He wraps up by recommending the use of OpenOffice.org in student labs and telling those students who use other suites to download and install OOo.  This is an encouraging trend, with colleges and high schools starting to move students off of proprietary software.  Maybe our American schools will see what is happening in Russia and move wholesale to Linux too. 🙂

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