﻿4 power tools for students

4 power tools for students

Your kids can do a great job on even the toughest school projects with just a computer running the Windows operating system and the right information resources. Research no longer requires a trip to the neighborhood library, because a whole world of information—and the tools to put it all together—are right at home on your family computer.

Here are four homework power tools that can turn your children's ho-hum project into A+ work:

Using these four tools can enrich your student's learning experience and help them produce high-quality work.

You can find more tips for using these and many other tools for learning at Microsoft Education. Check out the Microsoft Student website for software offers and discounts, creative educational games and competitions, tips for staying organized, a student newsletter, lounge, and Facebook page, along with other resources to help students of all ages and abilities to make the most of their learning experience and to have fun doing it.

Microsoft Math

If your middle-school or high-school student is looking for just one resource to help them save time and complete high-quality math and science homework, Microsoft Math is it. From basic math to precalculus to physics, Microsoft Math helps students visualize and see mathematical and scientific concepts as they’ve never seen them before. It gives them step-by-step instructions to help them tackle even the most difficult problems, while gaining a deeper understanding of fundamental concepts.

Microsoft Math includes:

• Step-by-step instructions to help solve difficult math problems with the Step-by-Step Equation Solver.

• A full-featured graphing calculator, with large two-dimensional (2-D) and enhanced three-dimensional (3-D) color graphs to better illustrate problems and concepts.

• The Formulas and Equations Library—a resource with more than 100 commonly used equations and formulas to help you identify and apply the right one for your problem.

• The Triangle Solver—a graphing tool that helps you explore and better understand triangles and their parts.

• The Unit Conversion Tool—a handy tool that quickly and easily converts units of measure, including length, area, volume, weight, temperature, pressure, energy, power, velocity, and time.

• Ink Handwriting Support that recognizes handwritten problems and works with Tablet PCs and ultra-mobile PCs.

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

PowerPoint 2010 can help your kids put all the information they gather together into a dazzling presentation that their classmates and teachers will appreciate.

An easy-to-use but sophisticated program, PowerPoint 2010 includes dozens of ready-made slide templates to choose from in many categories, such as academic (now including Spanish class presentations), animals, nature, astronomy, conservation, and world culture. Your students can simply choose a design template, plug in their information, select the slide transitions they want, and be ready to give their presentation to the class. It also allows students to design their own look and feel for their slide presentations.

PowerPoint 2010 includes many new and improved features, many of which students will especially appreciate. For example, you can now automatically save versions of presentations, embed, edit, and play videos in presentations, use transitions with 3-D motion graphics effects, and turn your presentation into a video. For students on the go (and who isn’t these days?), the new PowerPoint Web App is a great advantage. They can store their presentation on a web server and work on it from anywhere, just by opening the presentation in their web browser. That means they can work even when they’re away from home, and they can easily collaborate with other students on group projects, even if their schedules and locations don’t overlap. All Office Web Apps are available by signing in to Windows Live.

If you’re switching from an earlier version of PowerPoint and you want to get up to speed fast, visit the PowerPoint Getting Started site to learn the basics, find the commands on the new ribbon, or take a brief introductory training course.

In Editing view, in PowerPoint Web App, you can add and delete content and format text. You can also add, delete, duplicate, and hide slides.

Microsoft OneNote 2010

Students have to gather and organize data from multiple sources, in addition to working on group projects with classmates and juggling classes, meetings, volunteer work, and social activities. OneNote 2010, a note-taking program that makes it easy to take, organize, manage, and share notes, can help simplify all these tasks.

Unlike paper systems or word processing applications, OneNote 2010 combines the ability to capture typed and handwritten text, diagrams, drawings, webpage content, and audio notes in one place, with the flexibility to organize and reuse them any way you want. There are many ways OneNote 2010 can help your kids in their studies. Kids can use it to record lectures, create outlines, take notes when they do research online, and organize their notes by page and section. After they’ve done their research, they can quickly create To Do lists and summaries of other tasks from the note tags. OneNote 2010 has many new features that students will love, including the familiar Office ribbon for commands, the ability to create and display equations, touch support, a mini translator, and automatic linking to the notes you’re taking, so they’ll never lose a reference. OneNote 2010 Web App is also new. Students can use it to sync their notebooks to the cloud using Windows Live and then read and edit them anywhere from any computer, using a web browser.

With OneNote, your kids can’t lose their notes or notebooks, they don’t have to carry heavy backpacks, and they can easily share notebooks with their classmates or teachers. Read Top reasons to use OneNote 2010 in the classroom.

You can capture many different kinds of sources in OneNote and keep all related information together on one page. Note tags help you keep track of your To Do list, questions, definitions, and much more.

Whether you’re new to OneNote or you’re switching from an earlier version, you may want to visit the Getting Started page to help you learn basics fast, find commands on the new ribbon, or take a short training on the new features.

Microsoft Office.com images

No presentation would be complete without some kind of art—a photo, drawing, cartoon, or media clip.

Your students can search for and insert clip art right from PowerPoint 2010. If they want even more choices, they can access more than 150,000 pieces of art, photos, sounds, and animation on the Microsoft Office.com images site download what they want, and then insert it.

To access clip art and other images from PowerPoint:

1. On the Insert tab, in the Images group, click Clip Art.

2. In the clip art pane, in the Search box, type what you are searching for.

3. In the Results should be box, select the check box for the kind of media you’re looking for—Illustrations, Photographs, Videos, Audio, or All Media Types.

4. Click Go.

5. Browse the images, and double-click the one that you want. PowerPoint immediately inserts it in your presentation.

Note: If you don’t see what you want and you want to search for more images on the Office.com site, all you have to do is click the Find more at Office.com link at the bottom of the clip art pane.

1. Go to the Office.com images site.

2. Search the clip art categories for something you like.

3. Double-click the image. On the new page that opens, you can click Copy to clipboard to paste it in the board on the left while you continue to browse, or you can click Download if you want to use the image. If an image is close to but not exactly what you’re looking for, click More in This Category, or click See Similar Images to view a one-screen collage of similar images that you can browse. Double-click any thumbnail to add it to the clipboard on the left.

4. In the File Download dialog box, click Save. Navigate to where you want to save the image on your computer, and then click Save.

5. To insert the image in your presentation, on the Insert tab, in the Images group, click Picture. In the Insert Picture dialog box, navigate to the image, and then double-click it to insert it in your presentation.

PowerPoint 2010 gives you even more creative choices for using clip art in your presentations than previous versions—your kids can apply artistic textures and effects to the clip art and other images in their presentations, and they can copy and paste animated effects from one shape to another.

Each of these four tools makes it easy for your student to research and create high-quality school projects. But even more important, these homework power tools can open your children's minds to a world of curiosity, ideas, inspiration, and creativity.