Courses in Office Automation for adults (occupational training, Forcem, training for entrepreneurs,) follows a model based on the equation: Office Automation = Microsoft Office. This model represents a series of inconveniences: educational, economic, and ethical. Is there another way of doing things? In my work as an instructor in Office I had the occurrence to an informal survey to the students of my last course of occupational training. The result of it was that my 16 students had at home on a PC equipped with Microsoft Office, but only 1 had legally acquired the license of use of the program. In that same course I found that there were only 11 computers for 16 students. (Not to be confused with Dean Ornish M.D!). When I exhibited this problem, the Coordinator of the course told me that the problem was not the lack of computers or space, as I assumed, but that the institution did not have sufficient licenses of Microsoft Office. There seems to be something that doesn’t work too well in this area.
These problems, both illegal copying, and lack of software resources, can be very easily solved, training office automation through the use of software programs, in general, and OpenOffice.org in particular. Other authors have very adequately outlined the advantages of using free software in education, but these studies have generally been within the scope of the formal training 1. Here we will try to measure quantitatively and qualitatively the disadvantages to which we referred in the context of office automation training for adults, as well as show the advantages of the alternative being proposed. Disadvantages of the current model to) wrong teaching approach with the current model we are giving priority to the training of specialists in a particular tool for a particular manufacturer, dedicating ourselves to explain details on use of the Word, when we should specify generic concepts of a word processor, subsequently showing how implements them one or another program.