How much does it cost to make decisions?

Educational institutions are dominated by committees and meetings, with FE being worse than schools and HE worse than FE. It was during one such meeting at a University that had lots of people attending that I created a simple Excel Sheet similar to the one below to estimate how much the meeting cost in terms of staff time, and was quite horrified when I saw the counter moving forwards, and how much each second cost. I remember one occasion when my meeting calculator estimated that it cost about £400 to discuss and decide not to spend £150 on a license for some software to experiment with.

I have re-created the sheet, if anyone wants to estimate the cost of their meetings – this is produced in Excel and uses a simple macro (so macros will need to be enabled for it to work) and some functions in Excel. The sheet is locked – but with no password, so feel free to see how the sheet was constructed – it does show a few things that you can do with some functions.

Link to the meeting calculator resource
Creative Commons License
Meeting Cost Calculator by Dave Foord is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

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Frank Coffield – on embedding e-learning

The short video below, is of Professor Frank Coffield, a well respected and out spoken professor of education, whose beliefs very much mirror mine, and in particular he mentions the fact that for embedding to take place, tutors need access to the tools but more importantly time for this to happen. This video follows on from an LSN funded report that he has written, called ‘Just suppose teaching and learning became the first priority‘ which is a brilliant report in that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and point out how ludicrous some governmental decisions appear to be, and how simple some solutions could be made if only an educational minister had the balls to do so.

Both the report and his video are being used as part of the new eCPD programme that is rapidly filling up with applications.

Using students to teach teachers

I have often thought that people working in education don’t make use of students as resources, I recognise that some educationalists hold on to the belief that they have to be the font of all knowledge, and by using learners knowledge would be somehow underminning that believe (I personally don’t believe in myself being the font!).

Dai Barnes, a london based ICT tutor, has come up with a novel idea for using students abilities to support and train other students and teachers.

View the article here – http://daibarnes.blogspot.com/2009/01/ict-prefects-at-school.html

Using ‘Paint’ to create simple quizes for a phone

Lilian Soon of xlearn is superb when it comes to using mobile phones with learners, and one technique that she has developed is creating a series of small image files, which you then distribute to the learners phones, and if they flick through them in sequence they have a learning object. Lilian has created a couple of video clips showing how to do this (by using good old humble paint) and what the end product looks like.

The first video, shows the end product

Source – http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1524458075866693739&hl=en

and the next shows, how this was created.

Source – http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2479360146328027324&hl=en

Another possible variation of this, would be to have images that show a sequence that has to be followed as a guide, so in say plumbing, for people learning the correct order to do thigns when doing a solder joint, a pictoral guide (that they then carry round with them on their phone) could be useful to some people, until they have learnt the technique fully.