Thursday, August 25, 2011

MS Office 10 and the Dreaded Works Cited Page

I don't know about you all, but showing students how to type a Works Cited page is one of the most painful lessons I teach. Getting them to include all the appropriate information, alphabetize, and put the punctuation in the right spot can be excruciating.

This year, my district is switching to MS Office 10. I don't have it on my home computer, so it wasn't until I attended a little workshop today that I learned the most marvelous thing: the latest version of Word has a BUILT-IN reference generator. No more taking students to an external site to generate citations with NoodleTools, CitationMaker, etc.

This new feature allows students to create citations while they're typing a Word document. They start by picking the style (MLA, APA, etc), then the source type (book, Web site, magazine), and then it gives them labeled boxes with examples so they can plug and chug with the relevant information. You can go back and add citations at any point, as long as you save the document in between. 
Once they've input a citation, they just pick the source from a drop down menu and it will add the in-text citation to the document they're typing. If they click another button, it will use the citations they've input to create a Works Cited page - no need to mess with indenting, formatting, etc - it does it all automatically.
It's AWESOME! If you want to check it out for yourself, you can use MS Word 10 to play with it. Click on the "References" tab to get started.

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