Required products: Tool Factory Workshop
OFFICE SUITE FOR STUDENTS
Tool Factory Workshop is an office suite built by teachers for the classroom. Itís configurable, so that teachers can remove those features which the students donít need. In a few mouse clicks teachers can set up the interface for early learners, then add feature as the students master each basic skill. With a full interface, most of the applications can be used straight through high school. Thereís even a speech engine for auditory feedback, tutorials, and for speaking projects in a computerís voice. This gives teachers a lot of options to motivate students, and for teaching in an inclusion setting.
90% VS. 10%
Ask yourself, what percentage of the features do you actually use in your regular paint program? For most people itís about 10%. That other 90% tends to get in the way when you are trying to find those critical features. Tool Factory Workshop reverses that percentage. We took that 10%...and made it 90% of the program. So teachers and students can locate the features they need, without a lot of hunting through menus. It also makes it possible to teach critical office suite skills almost as soon as students start using a mouse. Weíve seen kindergarteners using Spreadsheet, and second graders building Databases with Tool Factory software. Instructors are now able to teach more than just word processing at the earlier grade levels, and those skills will carry straight through high school, and into the workplace.
BRIDGING THE GAP
Tool Factory isnít trying to replace the commercial computing tools. What weíre offering are age appropriate learning tools which allow teachers to start prepping the kids as soon as they can use a computer. Students who use Tool Factory in elementary school will learn the basic concepts of office suite computing. These are critical skills they will eventually need in the workplace. As their skills develop, they will naturally switch to the professional tools. For word processing, they typically switch to an office word processor around 4th grade. With spreadsheet and painter, they might switch anywhere in middle or high school grades, depending on the focus of the teachers. Using databases, students may not transition to a professional database until college, if at all.