office.microsoft.com • Retail Price: $399.99
2013 are two
tools for achieving learning
goals. Installed for use on a
single PC, these suites enable
users to create and share written
work, spreadsheets, charts, and electronic slideshows
more easily than ever before.
Quality and Effectiveness: With the release of Office
2013, suite applications work well on a range of devices,
including, but not limited to, laptops, netbooks, and
desktops. New Office 2013 features support touch
screens, Windows tablets, Windows phones, and
Windows 8 computers. Thankfully for schools and
districts using older technology, suite applications can
also be run with Windows 7. Office 2013 applications
work with Microsoft’s cloud service, called SkyDrive.
This feature enables users with a free Microsoft account
(previously called “Windows Live ID”) to sign in from any computer
with Internet access to view, edit, download, or share stored files.
Ease of Use: The main Office 2013 products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
and Publisher) all have a similar look and feel, making it easier to
from Office 2007
or 2010. They sport the same colorless
Office 2013 ribbon interface and many
of the same dropdown menus. If you’re
new to the Office environment, be
prepared to spend time getting started,
as each program in the suite is an
industry standard, with many features
and customizable options.
Creative Use of Technology: Office
2013 boasts several other new features.
My favorite feature in Word is the ability
to convert PDF files into Word-editable documents. Word, Excel, and
PowerPoint include new apps for the “Office” option on the “Insert”
ribbon. You can simply click the button to visit the Office Store to locate
apps extending the functionality of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint directly
from the application. For Word these include Word of the Day, Search
the Web (using the Google Search engine), Lucid Chart Mindmaps, and
more. Some apps are free while others require payment.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Installing Office
Standard 2013 on compatible machines in a school environment should
pose no particular problems because the volume license agreement lets
you download the full suite, complete with the installation key. Office
2010 runs on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and a terminal service client.
Office 2013 runs only on Windows 7 or newer Windows 8 devices.
Moving to Office 2013 is not an option for older computers.
• Supports 21st-century online skills
• Includes several important new features, such as Read Mode and Reading
view, PDF editing, improved support for embedding multimedia elements, and
Excel’s Quick Analysis feature with charts and graphs
• Offers cross-platform support for documents saved in Word 2013, Excel 2013,
and PowerPoint 2013; these documents can be opened, viewed, edited, saved
to the SkyDrive, and created with Web apps
requirements and Internet
bandwidth limitations may deter
you or your school from upgrading
to Office 2013. However, Microsoft’s
flagship productivity suite, with enhanced
support for a variety of media types, has
many tools to help students develop and
practice important 21st-century skills,
especially creativity, communication,
collaboration, and the ability to
manage information gathered
from many sources.