Thursday, February 09, 2006

There IS hope for the future...but not from textbooks

I am again teaching a beginning computer class at Mercer University - focusing more on Office than anything else. The class gave self-designed powerpoint presentations, and I have to admit I was fairly impressed. A few students had taken my teaching to heart and had gone way beyond the builtin stuff - several didn't use a single bullet point (which was WONDERFUL). I stated that my goal for the module was to insure that none of them were responsible for any deaths by Powerpoint. The text we are using, while it is full of graphics, screenshots, and handholding - really bothers me. I don't see my purpose - or even the purpose of the class - as teaching buttons. If I teach buttons, then additional training will be needed every time a new version comes out. But if I teach concepts and paradigms, then the student has already learned how to learn, and can teach themselves. It goes back to the old homily about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish...... Is there a textbook out there that gives the underlying paradigms for the Office-type activities? I have not seen one. Perhaps it is time to write one.