By Team iCEV on August 27, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Do you have a classroom full of Chromebooks? Due to the nature of Microsoft and Google, CTE teachers often wonder how to incorporate iCEV's Microsoft lessons in a classroom packed with Google Chromebooks.
Microsoft Options for Chromebooks
When it comes to working with Microsoft files on a Chromebook, there are a couple different options. The first option is to download the Microsoft apps from the Google Play store. From the store, Microsoft® Word, PowerPoint® and Excel® are free to teachers and students. However, it is important to note, this version of Microsoft is the mobile version. As a mobile version of the apps, the layout is different from the format on a PC, and its functionality is limited.
Another option for using Microsoft on a Chromebook is to use the online version. Microsoft 365 has an online version of Word, PowerPoint® and Excel® for users. In your courses, students can use the Microsoft online version to upload and work with the student files found within the iCEV lessons.
While these options can help educators teach computer applications skills on a Chromebook, there are limitations to using Chromebooks for teaching Microsoft Office specific skills. For instance, in order to help prepare students for Microsoft Office Certifications, iCEV lessons and projects utilize the names of themes and commands which are specific to the full desktop versions Microsoft Office products. Because of this, differences may arise when using Microsoft 365 options or online versions on a Chromebook. Additionally, while the Google applications may function similarly to their Microsoft counterparts, there are differences.
iCEV and Google Applications
When working in iCEV’s Microsoft lessons many of the hands-on application skills are tested through the use of student files and projects. iCEV student files which are Word documents, PowerPoint® presentations or Excel® spreadsheets will automatically open in Google Docs, Slides or Sheets on the Chromebook. Students will need to download the student file from iCEV to their Chromebook. Once downloaded, the file will open in the corresponding Google application if a version of Microsoft is not installed. Once an assignment has been completed, students can export the file as a Microsoft file format to be submitted.
While Google apps and Microsoft have similarities, the two apps do not have all of the same capabilities. For example, there may be instances where a student is tasked with performing a specific set of functions in Excel which do not exist in Sheets. Therefore, in some instances, it may be best to use the iCEV projects as an inspiration or outline for the project the student will be completing.
For example, if the project requires the student to change the theme of a document to one which is solely available in Microsoft® Word, simply change the instructions of the project to just be that the student is changing the theme of the document. Many, if not all of the projects on iCEV for the Microsoft lessons, can be tweaked or made more general.
Each project sheet is a PDF document which can be downloaded and then opened in a word processing software to make these edits which can be sent to students. Most importantly, keep in mind the curriculum should be a learning opportunity. The differences between the two apps could serve as a learning opportunity for you and your students.
Learning Computer Skills
Students can watch the Microsoft videos and complete the interactive activities without needing the Microsoft programs installed on their device since the videos, presentations and interactive activities run through iCEV. Additionally, lessons, such as keyboarding, can still be taught on Chromebooks by using Google docs to practice typing. On the iCEV platform, students' knowledge of the Microsoft program can be tested based on the videos and interactive activities. Additionally, teachers can use the differences between the versions of Microsoft and/or Google applications as a supplemental learning opportunity for students.
Assignments can be created for students to explore the differences between Microsoft Office and Google applications. An example of a supplemental assignment would be to take one of the iCEV projects designed for Microsoft® Word and explain how the steps would need to be changed or adjusted to fit Google Docs. Students could work in groups to identify the necessary steps and then individually have to complete the project in Google Docs based on their new instructions. Learning both applications can help students be successful in the future. Depending on their career aspirations, they may need skills in both programs.
In the upcoming weeks, we will be sharing more project ideas which can easily be done in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides through our blog. Make sure you subscribe and keep an eye on our blog to retrieve these materials to incorporate in your classes using Chromebooks.