The use of MS Word as a web page creator can elicit many feelings from educators; some see it as an abomination of a web page editor, while others see it as a perfect tool to ease students into publishing on the web. Whether you’ve used it as a web page creator yet or not, there are many, many reasons why publishing to the Internet is beneficial to students’ academic success (one of the best being to provide truly authentic audiences). Some educators may argue that students publishing to the Internet should learn proper HTML code to create web pages, but truth be told there are far too many tools being used by both educators and design professionals that eliminate the need to write in code. I digress….the ability to create simple web pages with MS Word is simple enough that any user can accomplish it.
You don’t have to be highly tech-savvy to make a web page using Word (as many tech-savvy educators will attest). Any typed project, whether it is a report, a newsletter, or a brochure can be saved as a Web Page under the file menu. Links that you’ve inserted will remain links to other pages, images and pictures will remain intact, and design choices like background color and text color will be preserved (although I wouldn’t recommend playing too much with colors). I realize this post may be very old news to many readers, but it’s something worth pointing out as many school districts spend thousands of dollars on expensive web editing software that more than likely won’t be utilized. Especially when elementary and middle school age students just need to publish simple, non-dynamic projects online (middle school and high school students should focus on using commercial software). A word processor that probably came pre-loaded on the computer can accomplish this without the need to use more advanced, and pricey, web-editing tools. The amount of professional development dollars needed to train staff would be considerably less as well. What are your thoughts on this?