What it is: Custom Guide is a website that offers free quick reference cheat sheets for using technology (operating systems and applications). The guides are two sided and remind me of Cliff Notes. Custom Guide allows you unlimited distribution rights and they make great support handouts. References include: Microsoft Access, Excel, FrontPage, Internet Explorer, InfoPath, Office, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, SharePoint, Visio, Windows, Appleworks, Mac OS, Entourage, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Photoshop, Elements, and Firefox. My one problem with Custom Guide is that it is REALLY outdated for Mac guides. I suppose that for some schools this would be okay since it can take a while to adopt newer technology and some of us are working with dinosaur computers and software, but for me it is no good. Custom Guide also offers free online learning with interactive tutorials and you can even create your own custom courses.
How to integrate Custom Guide into the classroom: Custom Guide would be very useful for the computer lab setting. Print out and laminate the most used applications and operating system sheets. Bind with a single ring and keep next to each computer. As students have questions or issues, they can consult their cheat sheets for the answers first. This is also nice for non-computer teachers who are using the computer labs or classroom computers with students. The cheat sheets give them an added level knowledge quickly and easily. If you are a computer teacher or a teacher who is known for using technology in your classroom, you undoubtedly get frequent questions about how to use applications from your colleagues. I don’t always have time to sit down and give mini lessons, having these cheat sheets on hand could be a big help for those times.
Tips: Even though the Mac Custom Guides are a bit outdated, the guides they do have are very handy. When you sign up for a free account, you can ask for updates to be sent to you when they add a new guide. In the mean time, Apple has some great support guides for their products.
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Custom Guide in your classroom.