• Dave Foord
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2013 in review

One of the features of WordPress that I like, is at the end of every year it sends me a summary of what my blog has been doing over the past 12 months, and yet again I have found that my most viewed and commented posts on my blog are from previous years (in fact there are none from this year, and all of the top five most visited posts, are what I would call ‘How do I….’ type posts, rather than the thought provoking posts that my blog also contains.

My top 5 most visited posts were:

  1. How to automatically pull data between different Google Spreadsheets – November 2011
  2. Quickly creating a Google Map from a Spreadsheet of data – September 2009
  3. How to re-enable a microphone in Windows 7 – January 2012
  4. How to ‘Chop’ a YouTube video and embed it into PowerPoint – April 2011
  5. Using Countdown Timers in PowerPoint – September 2010

My aim at the start of last year was to try to blog about once a week – I again failed in that quest, managing just 24 posts (including this one) so roughly 1 post every other week. I have always wanted to ensure that my blog is about quality not quantity, and part of my problem is that some of the clients that I work for do not want me to publicise or advertise what I am doing (fear of me giving away their advantage – personally I don’t think me blogging about what I am doing would do this, but I have to respect the wishes of the people that pay me).

One thing that does please me is the number of people that subscribe to my blog – this is currently over 1000. I know some of these may be bots not people, but I believe that over half are real people – and these get an email from me every time that I post.

will continue to blog next year, I would like to post a few more items but I say that every year….

Click here to see the complete report.


My most viewed posts in 2012

As we move into a new year, I take the chance to reflect on my previous year, and find it interesting to receive the annual report from wordpress regarding the activity on my blog. What is most interesting is which posts attract the most attention – with my top 5 posts last year being:

  1. Quickly creating a Google Map from a Spreadsheet of data (2009)
  2. How to ‘Chop’ a YouTube video and embed it into PowerPoint (2011)
  3. How to re-enable a microphone in Windows 7 (2012)
  4. Choosing different pins when creating Google Maps (2010)
  5. How to automatically pull data between different Google Spreadsheets (2011)

What is really interesting is how only 1 of the top five posts were actually written in 2012, and my top read post (again) is one dating back to 2009.

All of the above posts are ‘instruction’ based posts showing or explaining how to do something, rather than many of my posts which are about my opinions or observations on certain topics such as the flipped classroom, or terminology that is used. I don’t blog very often, as my current work (and family life) makes this difficult – but hope that my posts are high quality and useful to make up for the relatively low frequency of posting. I hope this year coming to be able to blog more often, but want to maintain the quality element of my posts.

My 5 most read posts in 2010

According to the stats on my wordpress blog, in 2010 my blog was viewed about 12000 times, which is a reasonable number seeing as I only made 41 new posts. What is most interesting though, is that only 2 of my top 5 most read posts in 2010 were actually posted in 2010, so although I may not blog as frequently as I would like and should – it looks like what I do blog seems to have staying power, and relevance for more than a passing moment.

Here are my top 5 most read posts in 2010


The e-portfolio conundrum January 2010


How to embed videos into Moodle February 2008


Choosing different pins when creating Google Maps May 2010


Quickly creating a Google Map from a Spreadsheet of data September 2009


Asknerd.net September 2007

Using voting pads – for peer review

Voting pads

Originally uploaded by Dave Foord

Voting pads have been around in education for a few years now, and although they are falling out of favour with many at the moment (and similar to other issues – it isn’t the technology that is at fault but the way that it is used – or abused in many cases, which isn’t the fault of the teaching staff, but the lack of staff development time and opportunity for them), I thought that I would share one way that I used such technologies to good effect.

I used to teach sport science, and one unit was a leadership one, where we would be in a sports hall, and as part of the course I would get the learners to lead parts of sessions. After each ‘micro-lead’ we would then reflect and feedback on it. For many years I would ask the other learners what they thought – and being very polite and not wanting to offend, they would always say everything was very good – even though some sessions were clearly awful. I would then step in with my feedback, which often wasn’t as complementary, the effect of this was the learners didn’t take my constructive criticism on board as well as I would have liked.

In my final year of teaching, I changed this and introduced the voting pads. All I needed was my laptop and the bag of pads (I didn’t need or use a projector!) at the end of the micro-lead, we would return to the seating area, everyone would pick up a pad (it didn’t matter which one) – and I would ask them to rate parts of the session that they had just partaken in. People would do this, and as it was anonymous they were very honest, this had a much better effect on the learner who had lead, than me just ploughing in with critiscisms – instead I was able to pick up on the feedback from their peers, and pick out the reasons why, and what to do next time to better effect.

This I think is still a very good use of voting technologies – and it isn’t just for the sports environment, anything where learners have to present, this can be used. Now if we want to take this a step further there are various ways of making use of learners mobiles phones to get similar feedback, but for places that ban phones and have bags of voting pads in cupboards then this is a very good technique. This posting was triggered by reading a blog article on this topic at http://mobile-learning.blog-city.com/the_use_of_an_audience_response_systems_to_provide_peer_feed.htm