Tag Archives: tips for teaching computer skills

Let Your Students Have a Do-Over

By Alec Fehl, author of Labyrinth Learning’s Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2016 Essentials and Your Digital Foundation

Learning to Walk

Do you remember learning to walk? Neither do I. Perhaps it went something like this:

Tried to stand up. Fell down. Tried to stand up. Fell down again. Did this for several days. Was finally able to stand. Tried to take a step. Fell down. Tried another step. Fell down. Bumped my head. Cried a little. Tried another step. Woo-hoo! Did it! Tried a second step. Fell down. Repeated process until I walked.

That may not be the exact sequence, but I bet it’s close. I learned by getting a lot of do-overs, and I know this didn’t happen:

Tried to stand up. Fell down and said, “Oh well…I’ll just try to move on to running.”

Why a Do-Over?

Do your students get one chance at an assignment, receive a grade, and then move on to the next assignment? Most of my students worked that way. Get a C and never look back. My students would fail to master concepts if their end goal was simply a grade.

How do educators address this?

With the current education system, we must find a way to balance facilitating learning with the administrative requirement of assessing, tracking, and rating progress.

I’ve had success in my classes by offering “virtually unlimited do-overs.”

How to Do a Do-Over

To begin, I give assignments with an initial due date. I assess these initial submissions and give detailed feedback, commenting on what’s good and what needs improvement or completion. Here’s the kicker: If I leave feedback, the initial grade is zero. Rather than give a letter grade or percentage, I label the assignment “complete” or “not complete.” My feedback indicates exactly what’s needed for me to consider the work complete.

And my feedback comes with a 48-hour deadline extension. They resubmit within the timeframe and the process repeats: They get more feedback, a “not complete” rating, and another 48 hours to work. This continues until the student either completes the assignment (100%) or misses a deadline and the incomplete rating (0%) sticks.

Benefits of Giving Do-Overs

  • I focus less on determining a grade and more on giving relevant feedback.
  • Students learn revision skills, how to accept critique, and other soft skills.
  • Students work, to some degree, at their own pace.
  • Students are motivated to improve from their mistakes, creating a mindset of lifelong learning.
  • Students benefit from formative assessment as they work through mistakes and are more likely to achieve concept/skill mastery.

While this may not be the perfect system for every discipline, I have used a more detailed version with great success in my classes for almost 30 years.

Teaching Microsoft Applications: Encourage Individuality, Encourage Experimentation

By Alex Scott, triOS College; Author of Labyrinth Learning’s Microsoft® Excel 2016 Comprehensive

Over years of using and teaching Microsoft Office programs, I’ve often wondered why there are so many ways to do the same thing. Many users are familiar with at least two methods of executing a common task like copy and paste using keyboard shortcuts or the context menu. But for new users, alternatives methods can be intimidating and difficult to remember.

Students with tablet

In my class I tell my students there are usually at least three ways to do the same thing! For example, say I want to copy the word “Microsoft” and use it in another location. I have four options:

  • Ribbon commands
  • Right-click to open the menu of commands
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Drag and drop

How do students know which method to choose?

Start Where You Are Comfortable

New Way and Old Way

New users can feel overwhelmed by these options, so focusing on one approach is a great way to start.  I tell them to focus on the method that makes most sense for them, whatever they are comfortable with. Everyone learns differently, and each student can decide what is right for them.

Experiment!

As their confidence increases, I encourage them to try different ways, to see how the task might be done easier or faster using a different method. More experienced users sometimes get into the habit of using the same method to do all tasks, so even students who are familiar with Office programs can benefit from trying new techniques.

Implement Methods That Increase Productivity

In the work world it isn’t just about getting the work done, it’s also about getting things done quickly and efficiently, using the best method possible.

I’ve noticed patterns when I use certain methods. When I was writing my Excel textbook, a big part of the work was using Word to format and edit the content I drafted. I found that when I made a simple change – using shortcuts for copying and formatting – my time was drastically decreased!

Even as an advanced user, I find myself going back to the Ribbon—even for tasks that would be accomplished more quickly using the mouse or keyboard. The key is to know as many different methods as possible, and to remind yourself to look for an alternative approach to complete a task instead of always doing things the same way.

The best way to do something isn’t necessarily the way you’ve done it in the past, and methods that work for some situations aren’t always the best for others.

Be willing to experiment and you will gain productivity!

How to Effectively Teach Your Course Content

ways to teach your course content
Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The quality of the course content in the college classroom is obviously important to a student’s success. However, in order to ensure that students get the most out of a class, it’s also essential that the course content is taught well. Here’s a look at a few easy ways to teach your course content more effectively:

  • Make sure the course content is organized in a clear-cut, progressive manner. Ideas should be introduced in an order that demonstrates how they build upon each other. Always start with basic concepts, and build up to more advanced concepts, even if that means back-tracking to a subject that you discussed earlier on.
  • Find ways to have your students think critically about the material you are teaching. This will encourage them to engage and process the material, rather than just memorizing it. Critically thinking about material will help make it a part of their permanent thought processes.
  • Always integrate discussion into your courses. If you only include lectures and quizzes, students will simply learn the material to pass the quiz. If they are required to discuss and talk about the material, however, they will have to learn it on a deeper level. You’ll notice that, as your students adapt to discussions throughout the semester, they’ll become more skilled at learning in this way.

Labyrinth Learning provides the software and course materials you need to enhance your course content in the college classroom. Contact us today to learn more about our range of products.

Helpful Strategies for Using Whole Class Feedback

whole class feedback
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Most will agree that giving feedback to your students is best done in a one-on-one setting. This allows the student to receive helpful feedback directly and gives him or her a chance to ask you questions. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for using whole class feedback.

Whole class feedback is when you address the class as a whole and give them feedback as a whole. For example, after handing back graded tests, you can discuss the performance of the class in its entirety. This type of feedback can be quite effective, and it’s a method that is used more than you probably realize. Speaking to each student one-on-one might be more effective, but using whole class feedback has its own benefits. It’s much more efficient to speak to an entire class for ten minutes regarding their performance than it is to speak to each student individually.

When providing whole class feedback, the last thing you should do is lecture your students on the problem they are having. You don’t want to come across as a parent scolding them. Instead, center your feedback around future-focused discussions. Tell your class what they should do next time based on their previous performance. You can even provide goals for the class to reach as a whole.

Don’t shy away from using whole class feedback. For additional advice and information on teaching a classroom of students, be sure to contact us at Labyrinth Learning today.

How Often Should Professors Lecture in the Classroom?

how often should teachers lecture in class
Source: Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to teaching a classroom of students, making sure that you have their attention is incredibly important. This means that you should vary your lesson plan a little bit instead of having lectures every single class. However, lectures are still very important, so how often should teachers lecture in class?

Deciding whether you should give your students a lecture is largely dependent on the content you are trying to get across. You don’t want to rely solely on lectures, and you certainly don’t want to repeat what your students are reading and learning on their own – this is simply regurgitating the material and making them more dependent on you instead of their own study habits.

There are a lot of things to consider. For example, maybe you know that the students will have trouble with particular content from past experience, which means a lecture can help make the content more clear to them. Maybe the lecture helps set the foundation and context of the content, thereby giving the students a chance to deal with the content from a place that is expediting their understanding.

When you do decide to give a lecture, make sure that you connect with your students. Ask questions that are intriguing and get your students thinking. Add anecdotes to make the content more entertaining. Don’t just paraphrase from the textbook.

How often should teachers lecture? That depends on the content and your experience. Contact us at Labyrinth Learning for additional teaching tips.

Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: Essentials is Perfect for Students

Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: EssentialsAre you looking for a Microsoft PowerPoint teaching tool that will engage your students, utilize real-to-life simulations and extend the learning curve far beyond the basic textbook pages? It sounds like Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: Essentials will be right up your alley.

Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: Essentials

One of the most exciting things about Microsoft PowerPoint is that students can begin applying what they learn immediately. It’s the go-to resource for class projects and presentations so the skills they learn now will benefit them in their other classes as well as when they enter the work world. The new Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: Essentials textbook, paired with the principles of our Labyrinth Instructional Design, increases retention of course materials and allows students to move at their own pace.

The textbook is available in traditional print format as well as an enhanced eBook. The eBook includes all of the information contained in the textbook as well as additional features, like direct links to interactive content and embedded videos. Additional features in the new Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: Essentials textbook include:

  • Lessons that are set up to accommodate both instructor-led or self-paced learning.
  • A real-world focus so students can see the relevancy of the lessons and begin applying them immediately in their own school and/or work environments.
  • Critical thinking exercises that expand on Microsoft PowerPoint applications to provide usable skills like collaboration, public speaking and effective writing techniques.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to learn more about the Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: Essentials materials and our course management software.

Effective Ways to Motivate Your Students

how to motivate your students
Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learning can either be fun or boring, and where it swings depends on your approach as a teacher. As a general rule, the more motivated students are, the easier they find learning — even if the subject matter you’re teaching isn’t necessarily easy.

To get the class interested to learning, here are some helpful tips on how to motivate your students:

  • Work with the strengths and weaknesses of your students. Give them rewards for their strong points while finding ways to strengthen their weak points.
  • Make the lesson interactive by encouraging questions and asking for feedback. It’s a good way for your students to be more involved.
  • Free up your schedule for consultation before and after the class, and also during breaks. Let your students know they can approach you for any question they have about the lesson.
  • Divide the topic in cycles 15-20 minutes long to sustain attention. Any longer than that, and your students will have a more difficult time focusing.
  • Use different teaching techniques aside from standard practices. Interactive student discussions, group activities, hands-on demonstrations, and film showings are a few things you can try in the classroom.
  • Show your students the practical application of what you’re teaching. It’s a great way to stir up student curiosity.

Here’s another important tip on how to motivate your students: Use multimedia tools to encourage interaction and streamline the whole teaching process.

We at Labyrinth Learning offer various titles for different courses, so contact us to know more about them.

Enjoy the Benefits of Word 2013 CourseCARD

Word 2013 CourseCARDWhether you’re completely new to Microsoft Word or just to Microsoft Word 2013 (the latest version), the Microsoft Word 2013 CourseCARD is a great resource to have by your side. As a quick start guide for beginners, this particular CourseCARD offers well-explained information on the Word interface, along with essential functions and features you need to know for creating and formatting your documents.

The guide is composed of three sections: Quick Reference, Basic Topics, and Advanced Topics. Quick Reference goes over the Mini Toolbar and the different Ribbon tabs, while Basic Topics and Advanced Topics cover matters of increasing complexity — anything from inserting symbols to creating building blocks.

Aside from these, you also get access to Top Productivity Tips and Solutions, a page full of tips on how to make templates, apply effects on text, and customize Word, among other topics.

Priced at only $6.50 if purchased online, the Microsoft Word 2013 CourseCARD is an affordable and practical way to help you learn how to use Word 2013 efficiently and effectively. Please take note that a digital copy of this resource is not available at the moment. However, it comes in textbook form which can be delivered straight to your doorstep after you have placed an order.

We offer other CourseCards for various software applications that Microsoft offers. To learn more about our products, please contact us at Labyrinth Learning with your inquiries.

Excellent Benefits of Using Microsoft Publisher

Because of the simplicity of Microsoft Publisher, along with the ease of integration with additional Microsoft programs, this is a course that will appeal to many people for both home and business use. Plus Publisher is a fantastic “starter” program for students interested in dipping their toes into the field of graphic design.

Source: Office.microsoft.com
Source: Office.microsoft.com

Home printers have become so sophisticated many people now enjoy creating their own greeting cards, family newsletters and postcards. While for small businesses who don’t necessarily need to hire a full-time PR firm, one of the major benefits of using Microsoft Publisher includes its wide variety of customizable templates.

With the MS Office Publisher Task feature, suggestions and tips are readily given to assist with the entire process. Customer lists can be developed, marketing campaigns accessed with a simple mouse click and technical tasks are easily explained.

Another one of the important benefits of using Microsoft Publisher can be measured in time saved. No longer do students get frustrated searching for photos and information. Frequently used content is stored in a searchable library for easy access. File sharing is quicker and faster since work can be transferred to PDF’s and XML’s without the need for an outside application. For the writers in your classes, Microsoft Publisher also offers options for readable PDF’s, making it a valuable tool for those interested in publishing e-books.

For additional information on how effective teaching Microsoft Publisher can be, please contact Labyrinth Learning for additional information.

 

Review Our Course Materials Online Before Purchase

online learning tools
Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When you are talking about teaching students, only the very best will do. In this modern era, any type of concrete learning is going to intimately be involved with computers and digital software.  For many students, having the ability to decipher many of these complex learning tools is a seemingly insurmountable hurdle. This is why many teachers have turned to the Labyrinth Learning online review. 

Not only is Labyrinth Learning online review a great tool for teachers to be sure they are finding the best possible materials to suit their course; these online review tools are also a great means to getting everyone more comfortable with the program itself.

Developed by an instructor from Berkeley, California, Labyrinth Learning streamlines the learning curve and helps understand and appreciate the material right away.

Labyrinth Learning isn’t just theoretical learning in a lab or classroom somewhere. The tools used by Labyrinth can be directly and immediately applied to real-life, real-world situations.  This approach has been called innovative, easily applied to real life, and practical by it’s users; qualities instructors and students of any age can appreciate.

Before taking on the Labyrinth Learning proposition, it’s important to be comfortable with the materials. The Labyrinth Learning online review allows prospective individuals to be committed to the material as soon as it heads their way.

For more information about our teaching resources to help you instruct students in the most effective way possible , contact us at Labyrinth Learning today.