INDEX BY: Edition / Title
Word Processing Documents With Word 97.
by Irfan Virk.
published in 1998 by Cricket Publishing
ISBN 1 901330 07 9
37.50.

Word Processing Documents With Word 97

The Word Processing Documents With WORD 97 pack contains photocopy masters of word processing documents that may be used for the teaching of Word in a classroom environment. There are seven modules that have been designed to introduce new users to Word or alternatively build on the user's knowledge and understanding of the software features and the tools contained therein. The author has incorporated many simple but effective techniques, which build on the users word skills to instil confidence within an unfamiliar environment.

The layout is aesthetically pleasing with headings and important words being emboldened for emphasis. Subheadings are clear and set away from the main body of text/instructions allowing the user to go straight to a specific instruction. Step by step instructions allows the user to gain confidence as they build skills within the word environment. Explicit shots of how text should look at varying stages throughout the worksheet ensure that the user does not fall out of step with the instructions. Shots of relevant keys to be used in the first module are included to assist with ease of recognition.

The documents are in black typeface and graphics are also in black, but they are clearly labelled and comparable to the screen the user would be looking at. Although there is good use of the screenshots the surrounding text is too small, there is not enough white space therefore giving a cluttered look to some of the pages. Some of the text that the user is required to type in is included in the screenshot in a smaller font and style, I feel that this could prove confusing to first time users. The author waits until the second task to inform users about word-wrap, this would have been best placed in the opening paragraphs of the first task.

The author recommends that each module is tackled in the order from the content page, but they can be attempted individually or adapted for the more competent user. The first module incorporates an introduction to the Word environment and an explanation of the tools the user will need to become familiar with to complete the modules. Each module contains a front page with an example of expected output upon completion. Each module carefully incorporates screen shots that enable the beginner to recognise the tools required to complete each task. Where applicable the author has included useful shortcut tips to save time and effort on behalf of the user. This is a resourceful technique in case of mouse failure.

The author has included thorough introductions to more detailed aspects such as page set-ups or showing special options etc. which is not always available in most word-processing task sheets.

It is recommended that the documents are checked for compatibility with your system as one or two errors regarding options were found to be conflicting; this can be very confusing for beginners. For example the author tells you to click on OK when it should be Save on page 4. A further example can be found on page 17, when formatting a picture for text wrap the user is not told to ensure that the options required should also include Wrap to Both sides. If this is not selected again confusion as to why the output required is not happening can lead to disruption of the lesson.

I was also able to adapt a number of the worksheets to enable them to be used on an Acorn network using the Advance software with a year 7 group. The use of plain English allowed year 7 pupils to work autonomously through the worksheets at a pace suitable to them. Whilst allowing me, the teacher more time to assist with pupils encountering difficulties.

I would fully recommend these worksheets as a valuable resource to any ICT department, and indeed as a resource for enhancing delivery of ICT across the curriculum. It must be said though that priced at 37.50 they could prove a little costly if the sheets have to be further adapted to suit your particular system.

Susan Marsh
Student Teacher, Liverpool JMU