Learn Microsoft Office By Playing Games
Throw away the annoying paper clip – here’s how to really confuse your IT department who won’t let you play games at work. Tell them you need the “Ribbon Hero” add-in for Microsoft Office and tell them it is a productivity and learning tool. This application from Microsoft Labs has currently got the internet buzzing, as the developers tell us:
“Ribbon Hero is a game for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 and 2010, designed to help you boost your Office skills and knowledge. Play games (aka "challenges"), score points, and compete with your friends while improving your productivity with Office.”
Actually, beyond the levity of Ribbon Hero being touted by many as simply a casual game for Microsoft Office, it is a useful learning and productivity tool, a serious game, that rewards you for learning how aspects of Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 work. One of the side benefits of the application is that you get to discover features of Office that you might never have used before.
Serious gaming, applications which use gaming technology to enhance learning and explore real world problem solving, is set to become a major factor in the technology industry over the next few years.
Once you have downloaded and installed the application – Ribbon Hero can be activated by clicking it’s icon in the ribbon bar in Word, Excel and PowerPoint – which launches the Ribbon Hero interface (interestingly you can also Connect with Facebook to report your status from the interface).
The Ribbon Hero interface shows your current achievement level in the current application, together with a points breakdown and a challenge to help you improve and test your skills.
One of the early challenges, for example, is to use the ribbon bar to create a smart art shape, populate it with data, and format it appropriately. If you don’t like the particular challenge you can choose to skip it – you can also replay challenges.
The steps for each challenge are shown in a challenge panel and you get a pleasant bing sound, and a balloon animation, as you complete each step.
If you have trouble with any of the steps you can click the Hint button to gain some hints and tips on how to complete the specific task.
Upon completing all the required steps you will be awards with a number of experience points – which will be increase if you re-use what you have learned within a few days of the challenge.
Ribbon Hero is a 36MB download and requires Microsoft Vista, Windows 7 (32/64 bit) or XP (32 bit) and the Visual Studio Tools for Office System 3.0 extension. It also needs either Microsoft Office 2007 or Office 2010 (32/64 bit) – it’s worth noting that Ribbon Hero is a concept test in Microsoft Labs and it currently only supports Word, Excel and PowerPoint – so fans of Access will have to wait a while longer.
To get Ribbon Hero visit Microsoft Labs Ribbon Hero.