Tips and tricks for cutting edge educators

How do you learn new software?  Do you search for tutorials online? Do you pull out a manual and go step by step through a list? Or do you dive right in and just see what you can figure out?

Or – do you just play a game at the same time as you’re getting on with your work?

For a great way to incorporate all the benefits of game-based learning into your learning, or the learning of your students, check out Ribbon Hero – a complementary download, which you can use in your classroom straight away.

Ribbon Hero is an add-in for Word, PowerPoint and Excel 2007/2010 designed to help boost Office skills and knowledge while you are playing a game. As a teacher, this is exciting, not only because it makes productivity competitive (scores can be automatically published on Facebook), but because it has a personalised learning style dashboard to help monitor student progress:

Here’s how the concept development team in Microsoft describe Ribbon Hero:

Today Microsoft Office Labs released Ribbon Hero, a free prototype app that works with Office 2007 and with Office 2010 beta. The new prototype is designed to test the effectiveness, feasibility and appeal of delivering Office training in a game-like setting.  The heart of Ribbon Hero is a set of challenges that users play right in the Office applications. These challenges expose users to features that they might not be aware of and which can help users get their work done faster.
In addition, Ribbon Hero awards points for using both basic features, such as, Bold and Italic, and for using the features introduced in the challenges.  Ribbon Hero does some analysis of the person’s usage patterns to prioritise the order in which it presents challenges"


In case you were wondering, the term “Ribbon” refers to the new menu structure in Office 2007 and 2010 (notice the little icon on the right? My current score here was only 4):

If your school is still migrating to the new Office versions, why not set up a challenge among the staff using Ribbon Hero?
The people who make a difference are the ones who get bored."  -Brian Eno

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