Microsoft add-ins

I found two add-ins for Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010: one very practical and one novel and kinda fun.  Check them both out and see how they can help:

1. Academic Lists Templates: It seems a bit bland at first but how long have you sat at the computer trying to create an assignment sheet, a simple, professional looking contact list for back to school night or figure out a way to help students get organized with a homework organizer.  With this list of templates, instead of struggling with Microsoft Office and wasting time creating these yourself, work more efficiently and search these templates...and now I sound like an infomercial.

There are 32 templates in all, some designed for Word and some for Excel. Take a look and see if any could help make you a more efficient teacher.    

2. Microsoft Mouse Mischief: If you are running Office 2007 or Office 2010 check out this cool add-in Microsoft has developed.  By downloading it for PowerPoint you can create a presentation that allows students to interact with the presentation as you run through it.  This is a great add-in if you are a teacher that usually uses PowerPoint presentations to supplement lectures.  There are a plethora of sample lessons to inspire or, just download and use and, the video tutorials are fantastic.

This little program would be a great way to create test prep lessons that aren't excruciatingly boring for the teacher and students. It could be used with pre-readers as a way to learn colors, numbers or letters. Almost any topic that forces students to recall facts can be practiced, in a whole class setting. As well, in a lecture setting, check-in questions could be throughout the presentation to make sure that the class is following along with the teacher.  If the majority of the students aren't correct, it may mean you need to take some more time with that section of the content.  

There is a but coming: The add-in is a free download but there are technology costs involved.  USB hubs are needed along with a class set of wireless mouses.  There are many, many grants out there that allow for this type of expenditure or, it may just be in your department's or school's budget.  Check out the add-in, see if it would be useful for your classroom and/or school and then figure out how to pay for the hardware.

Happy clicking!