After hearing this weeks presenters speak on productivity suites, I realized a few things…
- There are cracks that need to be filled in.
- There are pros and cons to everything.
Now, let me explain and ramble on about what I mean exactly. Productivity suites, like Microsoft Office, Google Workspace and Apple iWork (just to name a few), have their benefits for our students and prepare them for their future in the workplace. With productivity suites, students are able to be creative! They can make and design their own presentations to share with their colleges in the workplace. Using productivity suites allows for students to collaborate with each other and foster team work. Technology is an ongoing thing. It is not going away anytime soon. The more we teach our students HOW to use technology and how to manage different productivity suites, the better prepared they will be for their futures. I wish that I had these opportunities when I was in school, because then I would feel more prepared and advanced when it came to working through spreadsheets, presentations, etc., as I think that many of us had to teach ourselves how to navigate these platforms.
So, yes. There are benefits to productivity suites and they play a role in digital literacy. They are valuable tools in both school and workplace settings. For example, I use Microsoft Office daily as I create and share my lesson plans. I use spreadsheets to help with me class lists, staying organized, assessment…the list goes on and on.
However, there are “cracks” or gaps to fill as well. Not everyone will find these benefits in productivity suites. I believe, especially after engaging with last weeks discussion, that privacy and affordability are the two biggest cracks/gaps.
Who is paying for these fees? What about the upgrades? What about the devices themselves? Not every school board has the funds to cough up money for these things. Are we, as teachers, properly trained to help guide students through using productivity suites in a safe and beneficial way? I for one, don’t think I would confidently say that I am.
I think as educators, we need to think about how to fill in these “cracks,” before we get too excited about going forward with using the new productivity suites on the market. We need to be mindful of all of our students and think about benefits vs. downfalls.