• Dave Foord
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Using a spreadsheet to automatically create a list of dates

Something that I witness far too often for my liking, is people manually entering a list of patterned dates into something – e.g. if someone is creating a scheme of work, where they want every Tuesday for a year, they sit there with a paper diary in front of them, flicking through the pages and manually typing in the date of every single Tuesday in the year. This is very time consuming, and prone to mistake.

Personally, I let the technology do the work for me, and usually spreadsheet software (e.g. Microsoft Excel).

Here is a short video showing 2 different techniques of how you can get Excel to create a list of dates that follow a pattern.



How to ‘Chop’ a YouTube video and embed it into PowerPoint


Addition to this post made on 20/11/12 – if you are wanting to embed a cropped YouTube video into Moodle then visit https://davefoord.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/cropping-a-youtube-video-before-adding-to-moodle/

YouTube is a wonderful source of videos that can be used very effectively within education, but quite often we only want to show a certain part of the video rather than the whole thing. There is now a free and very easy to use method for doing this called TubeChop, and the output from this can be embedded easily into PowerPoint. One of the great things with TubeChop is you don’t even have to create an account on it, so no passwords to remember (or forget!)

Here is a screencast showing how easy this is to use.

Here is an example of a Example Of TubeChop In PowerPoint.

Although not shown in the screencast, TubeChop will also give you some embed code, so you can embed the chopped video into a blog, VLE or webpage. This is particularly useful to Blackboard users, as if you try to embed a YouTube video directly into Blackboard, you can run into difficulties as Blackboard cannot handle iframes (unless you remember to change the settings in Youtube to give the old embed code).

TubeChop (at the moment) doesn’t use iframes, so works well with Blackboard.

Sorry – I have had to turn comments off for this post, as was getting bombarded by spam, you can still comment on other posts in this blog.

Using Screenr to create learning objects (and keep them private)

Followers of this blog, will recognise that I am a big fan of Screenr, and use it a lot in my work – with most of the videos appearing on this blog being created with Screenr.
One of the things that I like is the ease with which I can share what I have produced as most of the time that is what I want to do, however within education there are times when people don’t want to share.

It is possible though to use Screenr to create resources, that you then keep private. They will be in the public domain for a few minutes during the process, but unlikely to be found during those few minutes.

This screencast will show you how.

Now – I only recommend the keeping private technique for resources that need to be kept private. Tools like screenr have been developed in the spirit of sharing that is web2.0 – so I hope that most screencasts created are left in the public domain for others to potential use, just like people benefit from the screencasts created from others.

Using Score Ladders in PowerPoint

My background is as a lecturer of sport science. Sport science students have a tendency to be energetic, lively and not always the best behaved – they also have a tendency to be competitive. I often used this competitive nature to my advantage to try and channel their energies into the desired work, rather than disruptive behaviours, and one tool that I used was score ladders which I dropped into a PowerPoint presentation – this is a simple mechanism for keeping score between 2 to 6 teams on any activity (who can solve a problem first, or answer a question quickest etc), and these ladders can be used by anyone in education – and all they need to be able to do is copy and paste. This video will show how.

The resource and others like it can be found at http://www.a6training.co.uk/resources_powerpoint.php

Using Countdown Timers in PowerPoint

PowerPoint often gets a bashing as being a bad tool, but that isn’t the case it is a very good tool that unfortunately gets used badly. Something that I try to do in my work is help educators to see PowerPoint in a different way, and to start using in an engaging and active manner, rather than the passive tedious way that so many seem to favour.

One technique that I have used over the years is to use timers in my presentations – these are simple mechanisms that countdown a certain time increment when setting the class any sort of activity, question or anything like that.

The reason I use timers, is it helps to focus the learners on the task in hand so they don’t drift off into other conversations, this helps with class discipline. It also helps me to stay on task and stick to the timings that I had planned.

The timers are available to download for free (for educational use) from http://www.a6training.co.uk/resources/Countdown_Timers_For_PowerPoint.ppt and the only skills that they require you to have is the ability to select, copy and paste – so can be used by any tutor.

Using cartoon drawing to explain concepts

I have just picked up a tweet from the comedian Dave Gorman pointing to this excellent video on YouTube

With this being just 1 of many videos produced by http://www.youtube.com/user/theRSAorg

Isn’t this an excellent way of explaining the concepts of a difficult principle – the speeded up cartoon drawing maintains ones interest (well it maintained mine for over 10 minutes) and is a very neat way of producing a punchy delivery of explaining a concept.

If only I could draw………

Updating a blog from Flickr or email

Following on from yesterdays blog post where I talked about using a wordpress.com blog for reflective practice I have 2 more screencasts for some of the things that we can do.

The first is looking at setting up a connecting between Flickr and the blog. This is a technique that I use loads – as Flickr is a wonderful source of high quality images, which can enhance my blog posts, and once the connection is set up, is easy to use.

The second technique that I think is really useful, is the ability to post to a blog by simply sending an email. This makes blog posting really easy, can be achieved from any email connected device (including many mobile phones), and can be used by a tutor to create a class blog, that multiple people (e.g. students) can post to.