[K12OSN] Curriculum for using OpenOffice.org to teach basic computer skills

Petre Scheie petre at maltzen.net
Thu Feb 10 16:48:09 UTC 2005

Short version: For those who are using OpenOffice.org to teach basic 
computer skills, word processing, etc., to high school students, what 
are you using for curriculum?

Long version: The technical advisory committee for my kids' school, of 
which I am a member, recently passed a resolution that calls for 
ninth-grade students to take a mandatory basic computer skills class.  
The idea is to make sure that all students know how to use a word 
processor, spreadsheet, search the internet, etc.  (Many of the kids 
think they know it all, but most don't know as much as they think they 
do--just like in most other areas, I guess. ;-) )  We have people from 
the local colleges on the committee and they all say the expectation is 
that students will already know these things by the time they enter 
college, and the colleges themselves do not provide any such 
instruction.  In the original draft of the resolution, it called for 
teaching the kids Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, among other things.  I 
succeeded in getting the wording changed to word processing, 
spreadsheets, and presentations, fortunately.  The next point I want to 
push is to have the teacher(s) use OOo for the class.  I have two 
reasons, that everyone on the list will be familiar with: free software, 
so it can be given out to the students, and freedom to do whatever you 
want with it.  But I've learned that the key thing in getting the 
teacher to use a tool for a class is to have a curriculum available; 
they don't have the time or resources to write their own lesson plans 
from scratch.  Plus, they already have some sort of materials for 
teaching MS's office, I'm sure, so to get them to use another tool, the 
transition must be as easy as possible.

While free, no cost plans would be better, I'm not opposed to something 
that would have to be purchased; I'm sure the MS plans didn't come free.


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