Excel and MS Word as Learning Aids NK
   

Which-Word:  Overview

Introduction – Why Which-Word?

Students needing to learn facts are often advised to carry around cards containing questions on one side and answers on the other.  This is feasible when the question is a word in one language and the answer is a word in another language.  It is not feasible when the question is a long piece of text in a highly inflected language and the answers are to fill in missing words.  In a German exercise the missing words might always be “the” but the student has to decide if the correct form is die, der, das or den.

A student with access to a PC and the word processor MS Word ® has a very powerful tool for replacing the cards as a learning tool and for using the computer to check that the work has been learned.

 A student needing to learn a nursery rhyme could be presented with this:-

Mary had a little lamb.

Its fleece was white as snow.

 The student thinks about each missing word, and with a couple of mouse clicks he can reveal each answer. 

Mary had a little lamb.

Its fleece was white as snow.

 If the answer is incorrect a couple more clicks are all that is needed to once more hide an answer 

Mary had a little lamb.

Its fleece was white as snow.

 

A student wanting to check work could be presented with this:-

Mary had a little _____________.

Its ___________ was ___________ as snow.

The student’s attempt at filling in the gaps could produce

 Mary had a little dog.

Its fur was white as snow.

 

MS Word would then compare the student’s answer with the original and produce this:-

 Mary had a little doglamb

Its furfleece was white as snow.

If the student had simply made spelling mistakes

          Mary had a little lam

          Its flees was white as snow

the computer would show the corrections as

Mary had a little lamb

Its fleesfleece was white as snow.

 

Which-Word -- The Details assumes that a teacher wishes to create many different missing word (cloze) exercises from a single piece of text, and that each exercise will be available to a student both with the missing words replaced by yellow rectangles, and with the missing words replaced by _________.

 

Many people who use MS Word may not be familiar with all the MS Word facilities which make it easy to create cloze documents . Word Techniques describes the techniques I use, including the way I have customised my toolbars.

 

When a student fills in missing words the work sheet gets changed and when the computer uses an original document to correct work, it is the original document which gets changed to show the corrections.  We therefore need to frequently copy documents and the various copies need different names and numbers.  I have devised a naming scheme which is fully described in the detailed instructions and which is summarised  in Which-Word Summary.  This can be printed on a single sheet and forms a useful checklist. 

Which-Word Resources contains downloadable examples.

If you have resources which you could contribute the please contact me

 

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