A template is a storage area for items used repeatedly and for complex tasks you might only want to do once. Templates will help you focus on content instead of format, create an identifiable look for all your items, standardize the way a project is completed and/or presented, and help you get your projects completed faster. More specifically, templates are pre-designed layouts that can be used as a starting point or 'skeleton' to create your own publications.
Types of Templates
A great way to get started working with templates is to visit Web sites that provide opportunities to use pre-designed templates. One such site is SBC Knowledge Network Explorer's Filamentality (www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil), a free fill-in-the-blank educational template tool that guides you through picking a topic, searching the Web, gathering Internet links and turning them into learning activities. The following is a generalized list of some widely used types of templates:
- Professional Templates
These are used to create documents such as memos, brochures, letters, forms, class lists and grade keeping.
- Publication Templates
These are used to create items such as newsletters, books, awards, certificates, booklets, reports and flyers.
- Curriculum Templates
These are used to create tests, quizzes, review sheets, lesson plans, assignments, puzzles and word searches.
- Web Page Templates
These are used to create Web pages that you would upload to a server and display online. They are available in a multitude of designs and formats for all user levels.
- Software Templates
These are the templates contained within your existing applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, AppleWorks and Inspiration. Check your application's help section for information and instructions related to available templates.
A search of the Internet will produce a lot of sites offering free templates to suit your needs. However, read each site's downloading and user instructions carefully to help guarantee appropriate use and success. The following are a few of the best template resources available on the Web:
Judith B. Rajala, M.A., president and founder of EduHound.com, is an independent educational technology instructor and former K-12 educator. She is also a consultant to several Connecticut-based state technology organizations. Contact her at jrajala@EduHound.com.
This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.