Tools for Tired TESOL Teachers: OpenOffice Suite
Needing a good document suite? Fed up with the limitations imposed by Microsoft’s Office? Look no further than OpenOffice.
Teachers should really give OpenOffice.org a look: Office XP compatible, lots of extra features, Mac/Win/Linux variants, and PDF export functions. It is also multi-lingual, multi-system, and uses openly accepted formats. It’s also available in a form that can be installed on a USB key.
It is a highly suitable tool for Teachers everywhere and well worth the download from OpenOffice. Its website says: “Ooo is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.”
It’s flexible, baby!
In other words, if you are travelling abroad, you will be able to open documents in the local language on either Linux, Microsoft or Apple systems easily. While the actual program will have to be installed on its respective platform, it should open documents made in any version of OpenOffice. So if your school likes to use Microsoft products, then install Openoffice on your school system (and/or on your USB key); and you can still prepare your reports, homework, worksheets, and assignments for your students on your Mac at home.
Not your father’s OfficeSuite!
We’ve been using it on and off since version 1.1 and our school is now solely using Ooo as our shared platform. It takes a little while to get used to it, but reports from Office 11 is that their interface takes even longer to adjust to. There are one or two problems that we noticed: the Word Table Drawing Tool isn’t there, and I find it very useful for drawing regular grammar tables! Oh, well. But a couple of features attracted us: including the ability to post direct to our blog from within OpenOffice courtesy of one the plugins now available for OpenOffice.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have much money, then why not use OpenOffice? The licensing is the part I like best: no activation needed, no problem on installing the same copy on my home machines, my school machines or on my USB Key. Even better, you can give a copy to each of your students if you need to.
As of writing the suite is at version 3.3.1. And there are some similar alternatives that you can consider using: Look for LibreOffice, too.