Skip to content

About to try the Office 2016 preview - which will be interesting.  Have had trouble trying to install power Query for excel - but that is now included so solves that problem.

In the meantime have been looking at embedding word documents - partly because I am now having to report progress in projects in different places so thought embedding a updates and next steps into multiple documents might help - turns out it is complicated and doesn't work well, particularly in my complex filing system - so looking at extending my use of onenote and linked notes in that to see if that will do it.

Will keep you posted about Office 2106 and the onenote expansions.

Have done no more work on excel which is frustrating - but too much on!

Apart from just having too much to do I have found that my use of outlook task has crumbled under the strain - an ever accumulating list of overdue tasks and more being added by the day!

Having a day's leave today and the weather preventing work on the garden I have been reviewing it and realize that I need to separate out tasks from next steps in projects and manage them separately. That way I only have the next step of a project in outlook rather than the whole list unless I am scheduling a task for a specific period. Future actions I will keep in a project plan in onenote - probably tagged as to do.

I will need to go back to doing proper weekly reviews but that will have other benefits. While I am reorganizing around this - the other aspect is to improve my management reporting - another of those annoying modern necessities.

On that point I have a project at the back of my mind about a collaborative course on the constructive management of modern organisational life - In and Against the Modern Organisation - I wonder if anyone would be interested?

Trying out the Outlook preview app on android, which is developing quite fast and I have moved over totally from my previous app. It is interesting how it has features not avaliable on the normal version, like the ability to insert a number of optional times to meet into an email, together with the standard inserting a calendar.

As microsoft develops its on-line tools it is catching up with google.  One area of this is the on-line survey tool.  You can set up a simple survey and the results appear in a spreadsheet.

This may be the solution to enabling people to register for my CPD programme and other admin functions.

I would like to get a copy of the form by email as a notification - and am looking into that.

Am learning how to use pivot tables as part of that - very useful, turns a spreadsheet into a simple database.

Since the College where I work has instigated a managed desktop strategy I have had to move over to using microsoft office where previously I have used a variety of tools. This blog is a reflective account of the development of my use of office and other MS tools.

In the past I use gmail and activeinbox as my email and task management system (on the basis that emails are tasks and need to be managed as such.  Some time ago we were banned from using Gmail for work and so over the last couple of years I moved initially to Thunderbird but have now moved to Outlook.


I now use outlook for mail, calendar and tasks.  In order to make that work for me I spent some time adjusting the views in tasks.  I use the flagging of emails to add to my to do list.


Outlook works well, address books a bit unreliable as I have my personal contacts and the College address book and it is not clear which is searched for autocompletion of addresses.
Tagging email as tasks works well. 
I still use to out emails off for a while, and to remind me if I don't get a response to an email.


Outlook works well.  I like the way in which I can send a copy of my calendar in an email when arranging a meeting.


Outlook works well - although I would like a hierarchical system - although my onenote solution works well and allows for flexibility. 


I moved my reflections from evernote to onenote.  Onenote is more structured and I find myself using it more as a bucket for information (my approach to tie management  is influenced by GTD - bucket is a GTD term).

I find it so useful I find myself needing to avoid using it for everything and overloading it!

I like the links to Outlook tasks and for projects have a task list structure in a project management type structure on Onenote and then make each line a task in outlook.

I share some note books with colleagues.

I use the link with Outlook Calendar to make meeting notes for most of my meetings.

I am increasingly using tables and linking them to excel spreadsheets to maximise their use.


I am waiting for the College to set up Onedrive for Business which apparently they will be doing.  In the meantime I am using a personal accounts to:
  • make my current documents available on all devices (we have been using Dropbox at work so I have linked the two using to syns the two - but we are giving up dropbox and that will cause problems).
  • sharing documents is easy
  • embedding documents into the VLE works very well
  • the online excel survey tool is very good and has suggested a solution to my scheme record keeping problem - will post on that later
Thats enough for a first post!
I will post again on what I am trying to do and what I find works and doesn't.

I have now moved this blog to my wordpress site where it sits under the category Academic practice/using microsoft office

Let's Debate the Issue of Aesthetics in Data Visualization... on Television: "


BBC television seems to have embraced informing people of the power (and dangers) of infographics. Several months before Hans Rosling's television documentary 'The Joy of Stats', they even took up data visualization and infographics as a subject of intense debate. More specifically, on a episode of News Night, Information is Beautiful author David McCandless dueled with 'Anti Design' initiator Neville Brody, a 'legendary designer who is the original art director of The Face'.

Interestingly, the actual discussion topic quickly focused on the potential misuse of beauty in data visualization, which ultimately might make them 'too mesmerizing, too beguiling, too pretty' (I confess, I had to look the 2nd verb up). Without much consideration, the moderator put up several infographics of one of the two guests and invited the other one to vent some critiques. What started off with a friendly 'Congratulations David! I would like that on my wall!' quickly shifted into an intellectual argument that nailed the work as the epitome of what should not come out after '25 years of Thatcher locking up culture'. While no-one took the trouble of asking what actually should come out instead, the moderator was quick to remark: 'Are you more coffee table graphics?'

So, in short, if you want to see the utter surprise when a talented and acclaimed information designer is so openly criticized on national television, then watch the movie below.

What should David McCandless have answered instead?

Here is David's own take, as he recently mentioned in an interesting interview at Visualising Data: 'I forgot how TV journalism reduces debate down to two opposing polarities: for and against. Which I think for a topic like information design is a lame approach. How can you be against information design? It's just a technique! So I was caught on the hop a bit and felt quite bemused by what was going on. I thought we might have a debate about its potential and its limitations. But no.'.



Sent to you by David Andrew via Google Reader:


via Duarte Blog by Nancy Duarte on 10/15/10

All industries are sick of ineffective and boring presentations. Some are so frustrated by the tool, they're willing to speak up and risk their job. Check out the article in the opinion section on what we can do to end PowerPoint fatigue.


Things you can do from here:



Sent to you by David Andrew via Google Reader:


via Free Technology for Teachers by (Mr. Byrne) on 10/15/10

Over the last two days at ACTEM's annual conference I've shared Google Fusion Tables to great response. Many people commented that they had never heard of it, but really liked it and plan to explore it some more on their own. This post is a follow-up to yesterday's conversations. I originally wrote most of this post last winter.

Google Fusion Tables is a neat spreadsheet application that makes it easy to create visualizations of data sets. Fusion Tables can also be used to create visualizations of data set comparisons. At its most basic level Fusion Tables can be used to visualize existing data sets with one click. At a deeper level, Fusion Tables can be used to compare your own data sets and create visualizations of those comparisons. The types of visualizations available include tables, maps, charts, and graphs. As a Social Studies teacher, I really like the map visualization options.

Applications for Education
For the visual learners in your classroom, Google Fusion Tables could be an excellent tool for showing the various ways that data can be interpreted. Fusion Tables also provides students with a fairly easy way to compare their own data sets.  

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google for Teachers II - Free Ebook
Free 33 Page Guide - Google for Teachers
12 Resources All Social Studies Teachers Should Try


Things you can do from here: