Friday, July 10, 2009

Ideas for Brushing Up On Your Tech Skills This Summer

I am often asked what I recommend for educators who want to learn the basics of using technology. You know, how to get started with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. Of course, one of the best ways to learn to use an application is just using it in an environment with other experienced users that you can ask questions as you need them. Having students around to assist is a terrific option.

There are also many great resources to get going solo. One of my favorites for those interested in getting started is MicroSoft Office Training where you will find FREE self-paced training courses for Office programs. The classes are quite good. Here is a sampling of applications: Access; Excel ; Outlook; PowerPoint; Project ; Publisher; Word. The tutorials provide audio, text, and animations, and are rated by those who have taken the class. This is a terrific and free resource for those interested in learning to use Microsoft applications.

For educators who want the personal touch there are training centers like New Horizons. NYC DOE educators can contact their New York City office by emailing for special rates as low as $100 per class for educators.

For teachers who are using applications with their students, a terrific resource is Atomic Learning. The resource is created to appeal to students at their interest and ability level and enables them to become self-directed, independent learners who can engage in their work on-demand. This resource frees the teacher from feeling like s/he must be an expert in every application.

Another option for schools is to have a staff member designated to provide professional development and support to his/her colleagues. They can use MicroSoft Office Training, Atomic Learning resources, or use these professional development resources created specifically for educators, or create their own training.

Here's Marc Prensky's advice from my Facebook page.
Marc Prensky
Here's how I answer that question: Educators going off on their own to learn technology is time that could be far better be spent partnering with students with even better results. If an educator who wants to learn finds the smartest kid he or she knows and works with them, they all will be much better off, because learning to work with students around technology is far more important for educators than learning any skills by themselves!

1 comment:

  1. Another great resource for teaching yourself various tech skills is (there are other sites like it as well). costs about $25 a month and includes video tutorials on a wide assortment of topics from Adobe Creative Suite to Blogger and Twitter to programming PHP and Javascript. is a great alternative to more traditional courses—especially if you're going to be away for the summer.