• Dave Foord
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Using a colour combination chart when creating resources

In my early days of teaching, and just as I was starting to get my head around the tools that were available to me (PowerPoint) – I was faced with a multitude of colours that I could choose as background or font. The problem is that certain colours don’t go very well together. Some are obvious – such as having dark text on a dark background, or light text on a light background (but I am still suprised how I often I see this mistake made), and others are less obvious like using green and red or blue and red.

Then I created a very simple tool that helped me when choosing colours, and saved myself time in the process. I created a grid where I had a variety of combinations of backgrounds, and fonts in each of the different colour combinations – by glancing at this, I can then see which colour combinations work better than others, without having to keep changing the settings until I get something that works. This grid was stuck to the wall next to my desk.

I also used this when I had a student with a visual impairment in my class. I took the grid to him, and asked him which colour combination he found best – he looked at the grid and quickly said black text on an orange background. So I quickly changed the colour schemes of my presentations for that unit (which because I had used the Master Slide was very quick to do) – and as a result of that (and other simple changes I made to my teaching) – in my sessions he didn’t need to have the note taker that he needed in all the other lessons he attended – which for him, was a wonderful experience (as well as saving the College lots of money).

The grid (which I still use) is available for others if they want to use, and can be located on my website towards the bottom of http://www.a6training.co.uk/resources_powerpoint.php. Although I originally produced this for the use of PowerPoint, this works with any technology where you have the option to change colours, and can be a really useful way of increasing accessibility of learning resources.

The video below introduces this chart.

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How to quickly upload lots of images to PowerPoint and then compress them

A few months back I ran a training session for some primary school teachers, on how to use PowerPoint within primary education, and they were very impressed with most of the ideas and techniques that I worked through with them, but the one that captured the imagination of even the slightly IT wary teacher was showing how we can quickly bring lots of photos from a camera into a PowerPoint presentation.

This is a very simple technique, but one that many people haven’t discovered yet.

A video showing how to do this, and how to compress the images in one go can be found here

ILT breakfast club


Tasty Pastries

Originally uploaded by lu_lu

One of my most successful ventures in the area of ILT (e-learning) was the idea of an ILT breakfast club. The college I was working at (like many others) had limited parking so many staff were choosing to arrive early each day to get a parking space, so I used this feature to my advantage.

The model was quite simple. 1 morning a week I ran an ILT training session between 8.00am and 8.55am. I provided coffee and croissants which people consumed whilst I did a quick demo, we then got onto the computers to practice the skills. The sessions were punchy and to the point, and all teaching and learning focussed. I would repeat each session 5 times (over 5 weeks) each time on a different day of the week so as to not disadvantage part timers, and it then fitted nicely to run a set of sessions each half term.

The sessions were very popular, people liked the punchyness of them, some said it was a good start to the day a bit like a pre-work gym session but for the brain not body and some just came for the coffee, croissants and company. I covered many topics over the 2 years I ran the sessions, I trained lots of people (and got to meet people I had never heard off) and it made a huge difference to the skill set of the college. the food and drink provided was a key part of the process (and relatively cheap) and the pace of the sessions also important. This is a model that I think other organisations could replicate (if you have a trainer who can do early starts), for relatively little cost.