Dawn @ Home part 1 – initial thoughts

Lesson: 5/11/12

We explored the exam board scenario for Natural Beauty with Dawn at Home – finding out who Dawn was, what she did, where she operated and so on. The scenario contains contact details and a website address that doesn’t exist (yet…) as well as a nice logo. We sort of decided what the company was called.

We thought about things like Dawn’s ICT skills and experience and decided that we probably don’t know very much about what skills and experience she has in this area. Although I’m not sure she’s ever going to touch a computer in the scenario you’ve been given.

We then explored the whole information flow, particularly for the Sales section. This is quite complex and needs some very specific outputs. It looks like the consultants will do most of the data work on the spreadsheet. We decided there are questions we don’t know the answers to:

  • what experience do consultants have with computers – what are their skill levels?
  • what ICT equipment will the consultants have? What OS? What spreadsheet software?
  • what format do the outputs need to be in?
  • how many items can people order at a party?
  • how many of each item can they order at a party?

These last two questions might be important when you’re setting validation rules at some later date perhaps?

We sort of hinted at the need for a GUI which is going to be easy to use, particularly as can’t assume that any of the consultants have very much geek when it comes to ICT use.

We also partly explored the Database aspect of this, but left some of that for a later date as it got quite complex with a certificate and stuff. We do know, though, that Dawn has an admin assistant to do some of the jobs but nothing about that persons ICT skills.

Jobs to do:

Start the specification – the very general bit and then thinking about the more detailed bit. These are on the internets.


Roles for Project Management

OK, so roles in the teams:

each team needs a project manager. This person needs to be organised and to be able to organise everyone else. They will need to work to create an initial project plan – with deadlines and so on – fairly early on in the project

tech manager – someone to manage the geeky bits perhaps. Depends on the project. This person would troubleshoot anyone else who has problems and might be the one setting up websites and so on

communications chief – someone to deal with communications with outside agencies – like the client. This might be called Client Liaison instead. Should be able to write properly and communicate effectively with other people. May also involve a role in social media

publications person – someone to do the publicity for an event. Could involve stuff like posters as well as digital media and, quite possibly, using social media. In a publicity heavy project this role could be split into two

money maestro – someone to deal with money (like a treasurer). Depends on whether or not there’s money involved. Needs to be organised and trustworthy!

art dude – if there needs to be artwork then there may need to be an artwork sort of person. Links with publicity in some projects. Could also be responsible for designs and/or storyboards

There are probably other roles as well, but they evade my memory just now…

Don’t forget that you can use consultants at any point – experts you bring in to deal with any specific issues you might have. These might be related to the technological side of things but they might also be for things like publicity or finance etc…

Project Management Start

Welcome to Project Management…

Suggestions for 11/9/12 lesson:

  • complete skills audit sheet
  • have a brief meeting to consider what sorts of projects you might want to do – someone should make a list of any ideas that people come up with; one job that will need doing early on is to consider how much mileage there is in each of these ideas
  • perhaps briefly consider what sort of jobs each person might take

Two groups is OK if you want them by the way. You don’t have to decide on this just now.

Sixth Form Timetable…

OK, here’s when me and Mr B are at the sixth form centre:

Week 1:

Mon p.1 – Year 12 – IFO

Mon p.2 – Year 13 – DBA

Tue p.1 – Year 13 – IFO

Tue p.3 – Year 12 – IFO

Thu p.1 – Year 12 – DBA

Thu p.3 – Year 13 – DBA

Week 2:

Mon p.1 – Year 12 – DBA

Mon p.2 – Year 13 – IFO

Tue p.1 – Year 12 – IFO

Tue p.2 – Year 13 – NO TEACHER

Tue p.3 – Year 13 – DBA

Thu p.1 – Year 12 – DBA

Feel free to drop in at the other site at any point – but bear in mind I’m not working on Fridays! E-mail will still reach me at any of the usual places, including using school e-mail.

Excel 2007 passwords

Did you ever have that sort of day when you get asked how to do something techy and you just know that you’ve done it but because you do it so rarely you’ve forgotten how to do it?

To be honest I have those sorts of days all the time – especially with stuff I teach about once a year. It’s one of the reasons I have this blog: to write this sort of stuff down when I remember how to do it so that I can look it up next time I need to do it!


Today it was password protecting an Excel 2007 sheet. I was darned if I could remember how to do it – but I knew I’d taught Year 13 how to do it just before Christmas last year. And that it was similar to how it works in Access as well.

Here’s the solution:

Button > Save As > Tools > General Options

(Mac 2011: File > Save As > Options)

The tools bit is important – you need to click the button. Otherwise it won’t work.

You can protect the whole worksheet this way – to stop it even from being opened. You can protect them in different ways off of the Review menu, but this is better and easier. And it also let’s you get rid of annoying password protected sheets that other people have given you. Which is what we used it for today.

So – if you see me reading this in lesson time then you know that I’ve forgotten how to do it again, but that I am at least sensible enough to write it down so I can find it.

Summer’s here and the time is right…

…for thinking about Unit 10 exam work (not as much fun as Racing in the Street I’m sure, but, frankly, more legal).

What you could do, perhaps, over the summer is:

  1. have a think about a client you can make a spreadsheet for. Things like invoices or quote systems work well, rather like the Trumpton Times;
  2. maybe work though any of the Trumpton Times bits that you need to. These really do teach you all the advanced spreadsheet skills that you need to know about. Just remember that some of the functions are found in different places!
  3. take a check of the advanced skills checklist (which you’ll find over on That Blue Square Thing of course) and make sure you’re happy doing most of these (elements such as error checking might be best left until next term)
  4. have some fun and relax. Maybe try something new. I’m thinking of catching a concert at Snape myself…

This sort of thing will get you in the right place to really kick things off excellently in September. Promise.

Here’s a hint or two if you’re working at home:

  • to get the Developer toolbar click the Windows button > Excel options and select it
  • to get macros working click the Windows button > Excel Options > Trust Center > Macro settings > allow all (go on, you know you want to…)
  • the form controls are on the Developer tab on the Insert button (and don’t use the Active X controls because they work differently it appears)
  • controls to align things are on the Page Layout tab
  • the Name Manager is on the Formulas tab

Feel free to e-mail me if there’s stuff that’s confusing or not working right. I’ll see if I can get around to putting the Trumpton videos up on the web, I’ll see.

Talking of which, here’s Trumpton…

E-Zine examples

The Window on my World SPB requires an e-zine to be produced. But what, exactly, is an e-zine and what does it look like?

Interesting question actually, because it’s not necessarily as clear-cut as I think the examiners presume. Lots of sources seem to suggest an e-zine can be a bulk e-mail, presumably with embedded links and so on. But I think they’re probably talking about a mini-website. So let’s go with that as an idea.

Examples then. Tricky to find to be honest. Here’s some that are worth looking at in my opinion:

Sewpunk – I quite like the look of this – a sort of scrapbook approach that is Quite Cool in itself. The text is horrible mind you. It’s related to the Art E-zine – I think there’s lot of potential to use an interesting image map approach to do this sort of thing. Image maps are easy to do once you know how

London Broncos E-Zine – this is quite an easy look to use – it’s very blocky and that’s simple to do on the web. I like the big picture and the three links down the right hand side. A nice, simple approach that’s easy enough to use

London Broncos ezine screenshot
Screenshot of the London Broncos E-Zine signup page

Kireei Magazine – a much more complex technique, but it gives you an idea that companies do produce things that look like magazines on the web. Some companies use this sort of approach for their catalogues (Ikea for example). You can certainly get some layout ideas from this

Touchbase – a magazine produced by the UK Department for Works and Pensions (i.e. the government). It’s not exactly funky looking, but if you open one of the magazines you can see how you can move around from page to page using hyperlinks. If you were producing a real magazine with many pages then I’d say this is the look to aim for – but you’re not…

The key is that the e-zine the SPB wants has:

  • a cover page (with an animated banner and an embedded audio file in it)
  • a contents page (with links to the movie and information page)
  • an information page (with stuff about your topic on it)
  • a movie (which I think can be embedded in a page – possibly even in the contents page)

Which isn’t actually all that much stuff.

E-zines are an odd thing these days to be honest. All a bit behind the times in terms of web design – you’d think you’d just use a blog and embed you tube videos these days. Wouldn’t you?