Word Processing Skills

Students need word processing skills. These days, professors at any rate expect essays to be typed. However a lot of ESL programs don’t include typing lessons, let alone word processing skills. And from what I have seen, international students don’t always get it at home. I have seen essays typed up in emails because students didn’t know anything about word processing. And I have seen students literally retype a final draft from scratch because they didn’t know how to save! I was lucky enough to work for a school that had a technology class and a couple of times I ran a typing/word processing lesson. Here are some of the resources I used:

  • Mystery Message teaches students to select, move, delete, cut, copy and paste text.
  • My Thanksgiving Day Word Processing Worksheet is similar but it adds some review questions and it’s adapted for Thanksgiving because I plan to use it in the next couple of weeks.
  • Not a worksheet but just an idea. Do something similar to the Mystery Message but with bolding and italicizing and underlining. Tell students to write a message on the computer and then direct them to bold a certain word, underline another word, change the font of another word, change the font size. Cover centering and right aligning and maybe margins and double spacing so they can learn to format essays.
  • If you don’t have big expensive Word on your computers, you can use this Web Editor with commands to practice and teach. But don’t let your students type essays in that box either!
  • Also, in reference to the expense of Microsoft Office:
    • Remember you can download Open Office for free.
    • Or check if you and your students are eligible for any student discounts. I got Office Student Edition for $40 through my host university!
  • A real basic tutorial on Word Processing functions. I run my students through these functions on the computer so this is a nice take-home reminder!
  • My essay formatting activity. I give students a Model Essay with Rules that I make myself. You can do one for your class. I do warn them that every teacher has their own expectations and I usually add at the bottom my rules about late essays and how they will be graded and so on. I go over the formatting with them and show them how to do it–may with a Mystery Message Activity? Then I give them the  Unformatted Essay and make them transform it to look like the Model Essay.

How do you guys teach word processing?

UPDATE: I totally forgot about my earlier post about the Microsoft Office teaching game, Ribbon Hero 2.

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