According to Roblyer (2016) “three of the most widely used software support tools are word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs”. This isn’t only education, you’ll also find the basic suite listed as a required skill on most electronic job posting.
Looking at the 2016 National Education Plan, these foundational tools are not mentioned but “engaging and empowering through technology” (Office of Educational Technology, p. 7) is put forward as the goal. Students will need to be fluent with these three tools before they move on to more advanced programs. This would be aided by having the teachers also fluent in these three tools.
The two basic suites I see used in education and the workplace are Microsoft Office and Google Documents or Apps (Bradley, n.d.). Most of the instructors while not necessarily fluent in these three production tools, do use them and have their students use them for assignments. While Roblyer (2016) writes that all basic suite tools provide “support for interaction and collaboration” I have preferences when using these tools and as have also seen brand loyalty among my college’s faculty and instructors. Microsoft Office is the official software of our community college system. Google Apps is being used by some early adopters but there has also been resistance. Having to create a gmail account to access google has been considered an impediment to using Google documents. There is also a belief that on a collaborative Google document that someone may go in and erase all material. Google Apps not being officially approved by the systems IT is also a reason often cited in committee meetings.
I do believe our instructors and our students should be able to move between these two popular basic suites. This includes being able to use these production tools on mobile apps. Microsoft Office is now available on mobile (Ravencraft, 2014) and compares favorably to Google Drive. This basic suite is the foundation for our students to go on to more creative and complex tools in and out of the classroom.
Bradley, T. (n.d.) Office 365 vs. Google Docs showdown: Feature by Feature. Retrieved from http://www.pcworld.com/article/231294/office_365_vs_google_docs_smackdown.html
Office of Educational Technology, U.S Department of Education (2016). Future ready learning: Reimaging the role of technology in education. Retrieved from http://tech.ed.gov/files/2015/12/NETP16.pdf
Ravenscraft, E. (2014, November 14). Battle of the mobile office suites: Microsoft Office vs. Google Docs. Retrieved from http://lifehacker.com/battle-of-the-mobile-office-suites-microsoft-office-vs-1657871272
Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology Into Technology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.