Alex loves learning and asking questions, which gets him involved in a variety of projects at AES. Whether it's teaching tips or data analysis, Alex wants to share what he's learned to help others succeed.
While we provide a curriculum to teach Microsoft Office, our solution may not be the best fit for everyone. Because of this, teachers often ask what other resources we might recommend if they don't use our curriculum system.
In this post, you'll read a comparison of popular Microsoft Office curriculum options, including GCF Global, B.E. Publishing, TestOut, and GMetrix.
We'll specifically discuss three key aspects of each resource for you to consider:
What each product is
The pros and cons
Where the product might work best for you and your students
GCF Global is a database of teaching resources created by Goodwill Industries. Their Microsoft Office curriculum includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access lessons for Office 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 editions.
These lessons include video walkthroughs and accompanying text for different aspects of the applications.
Pros of GCF
The material is free to access for teachers and students
GCF hosts their material online, allowing students to complete the work wherever they have internet access
Cons of GCF
The video-based modality leaves out interactive capabilities
The material only covers the subject matter at a high-level
The content is open to anyone to learn Office, which means it's not specifically designed for middle or high school students
There is no ability to track student progress or grading
Where GCF Global Might Work Best For You
GCF Global is a good way to get started with teaching Microsoft Office if you want to explore resources without investing money. And the ease of access to videos means that students can practice at home to reinforce classroom teaching.
While it won't serve as a full Microsoft Office curriculum, GCF can easily supplement an existing curriculum for teaching Microsoft Office.
Overall, GCF Global is another tool in the teacher's tool belt. It's easy to access, free, and has videos that can supplement your Microsoft Office curriculum.
2. B.E. Publishing: The Office Specialist.com
What is The Office Specialist.com?
The Office Specialist.com, from B.E. Publishing, is a textbook-based Microsoft Office curriculum that includes a textbook, curriculum guide, projects, and teacher resources.
These materials can be purchased on individual, school, or district licenses.
Pros of The Office Specialist.com
B.E. Publishing has a wide variety of products to build out a teaching curriculum
The material includes a large number projects to practice
Teachers have to flexibility to build their own lesson plans with the B.E. Publishing material
Cons of The Office Specialist.com
Since the curriculum is textbook-based, you won't receive updates to the material as often as an online-based tool
The material may be less engaging for your students and depends on the teacher to bring the material to life
Where B.E. Publishing's The Office Specialist.com Might Work Best For You
The Office Specialist.com, from B.E. Publishing, is an option for more experienced teachers that prefer to be hands-on with building out their lesson plans and structure their Microsoft Office curriculum.
Due to the complexities of moving between textbook lessons to computer practice with teacher-led lectures, this curriculum may not be a good fit for teachers that are new to teaching a Microsoft Office curriculum for business.
Overall, while The Office Specialist.com does provide an in-depth Microsoft Office curriculum, it is not an out-of-the-box product, it will take time to build out your lessons plans.
3. TestOut: Office Pro
What is Office Pro?
TestOut's Office Pro Courseware is test prep coursework to prepare students for the TestOut Office Pro certification and the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification.
The coursework includes videos, simulations, fact sheets, and exams for the 2019 version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook.
Pros of TestOut
Coursework covers many topics in detail
Good material for advanced IT and Networking students
The software grades student projects automatically for teachers
Cons of TestOut
The material in Office Pro only covers Microsoft Office 2019, which may not be compatible with what your school has available
The material is intended to be used in upper high school classes, so may be confusing for younger students
Office Pro material is highly focused on test prep, so may not fit what you're looking for in a curriculum
Where Office Pro Might Work Best For You
While it may not be suitable for a middle school's curriculum for teaching Microsoft Office, Office Pro from TestOut does provide all-in-one comprehensive course material that dives into more of the technical aspects of the Microsoft Office application.
Overall, due to the emphasis on certification prep, Office Pro will work best for older high school or post-secondary students as test prep for the MOS certification.
GMetrix is a test prep resource that teachers use to supplement lessons and prepare students for MOS certification.
It's designed to help students and professionals prepare for certifications by providing videos, workbooks, and practice exams within the GMetrix Skills Management System.
The software grades student projects automatically for teachers
Students don't have to have access to Microsoft Office; the software recreates the program in the browser
The content is designed for "workers" so it may not be relevant to middle and high school students
Coursework practice focuses on repetition learning, which can be less engaging for students
GMetrix is not a Microsoft Office curriculum; the material is for MOS certification test prep
Where GMetrix Might Work Best For You
If you're strictly looking for a supplemental test prep resource, GMetrix is right up your alley. It's a straightforward choice with one purpose that you can easily use to help students prepare for their MOS exams.
GMetrix won't provide a Microsoft Office curriculum for business, but it will provide an array of practice exams for repetitive practicing and test preparation.
Overall, GMetrix works best as a supplemental test prep resource for classes that already have a well-structured computer curriculum.
Teach Your Microsoft Office Lessons with a Digital Curriculum
There is no single best option when it comes to building your Microsoft Office curriculum for business classes. Only you can decide what is best for your classes and sometimes it's a hybrid of a few options!