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Goodbye compatibility issues. So long "that's just for rich kids". With Office Web Apps all of your students can use Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Excel for their school assignments... for free! Files are viewable, editable, and sharable virtually anywhere there's an Internet connection.
If some students don't own their own computer they can log onto a library computer and save their work to their online file storage location (Windows Live SkyDrive). Or better yet, let's say Johnny has a home computer with Microsoft Word 2003 installed and he's working on a group project with Annie who uses Microsoft Word 2007 at home, they can save their files to a shared SkyDrive folder and easily read and edit each others documents in their Web browser. However, if Johnny wants to edit Annie's Word 2007 document from his Word 2003 program, then he'll need to download the compatibility pack.
To learn more about Office Web Apps for teaching, go to www.microsoft.com/education/WebApps. You'll find helpful and informative videos and downloadable step-by-step instructions to guide you through:
There are also teacher guides for Bing, Windows Live Movie Maker, and other free tools. In addition, there's a lesson plans database.
Office Web Apps are available free through Windows Live SkyDrive. All you need is a Windows Live ID, which you may already have through Microsoft Hotmail, Messenger, Xbox Live, the Partners in Learning network, or other Windows Live services.
For a sneak peak at the videos offered on www.microsoft.com/education, take a look at this video about the OneNote Web App. It's completely directed at teachers and how they can use the OneNote Web App both inside and outside the classroom.
Try Office Web Apps yourself and see how it can make your life a bit easier. To get started you'll need to sign in with a Windows Live ID or if you don't have one the first step is signing up.
How to get a Windows Live ID
Where to find Office Web Apps
With their Windows Live IDs, students can access Office programs from virtually any computer (PC or Mac) or even from a smartphone. Supported browsers include Internet Explorer 7 or later for Windows, Safari 4 or later for Mac, and Firefox 3.5 or later for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Would you recommend Office Web Apps to your students? Post a comment and let me know how you're using these services or even why you're not.