Office Mix for Teachers

I’m not fully convinced of Mix, it does have its flaws, but I acknowledge it is in Beta and Microsoft are listening to user voices and opinions  – Customer Feedback for Office Mix

A great resource regarding Microsoft Mix for PowerPoint… where this PDF guide can be found and a wealth of resources to highlight its abilities and to promote among colleagues. Such as how staff development might utilise it with “PC/VDU users” or “E&D training” or college wide development for the student body (and staff) such as can be demonstrated here!



Pixabay Revisited

A number of posts ago I posted about Using Images – avoiding copyright. Whilst writing the post I came across Pixabay and that attribution was not require in most cases, in fact it is not required at all. In fact it goes someone to solving a recent project question of how can we access a bank of media resources but without costing the earth and using them external to developing organisations? Well the solution certainly seems to be the whole point of Pixabay which in their own words is ….

“Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task – due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality.
This inspired us to create Pixabay – a repository for stunning public domain pictures.
Your source for free vectors, free drawings and free photos.
You can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications.”

What it also allows you to do is to share your own images (after an initial maximum of 10 that require approval that can take up to a few days) all they ask is that you allow them to be available for free and that they follow the  Photography Training and Image Quality Standards set by Pixabay. Your own images can be reviewed by order of upload, downloads, popularity, views, likes, favourites, comments.

User Portfolios can be searched as well by entering in the user name after “user:“, search my portfolio here user:techlec. Think of the use to students that require images or have images to share!


Fill-able PDF


Recently I wanted to convert a simple questionnaire into an fill-able PDF. The benfeit of this is that the questionaire or form will remain intact and not suffer from element shift and will also restrict what goes into the document (as well as the ability to protect it some-what). Well adobe pro is costly and most solutions online will either cost you a small amount or will watermark the final document in someway. Well did you know that you can use open office to create an editable PDF? so its free, it works and no watermarks 🙂 Find Open Office Here.

I found the following YouTube videos to be really useful:

  1. Create a Fillable PDF Document – #1 Tutorial – Description, getting started and text boxes
  2. Create a Fillable PDF Document – #2 Tutorial – Check Boxes and Option Buttons
  3. Create a Fillable PDF Document – #3 Tutorial – Line up check boxes and other items


Macrium Reflect Imaging Software

Many moons ago I used to clean my desktop every other year over the summer, get rid of those junk files. Ensure that everything was running smoothly, and also because I am a nerd! I had the process down to about two hours pretty much and used Norton Ghost. Now I haven’t needed to do anything to my current machine which is some 6 years old, a quad core windows 7 3Ghz, since I bought it. But I have recently run into trouble – it wont play ball with anything beyond “DOT NET V3.5” now up till now this has not been a problem until the last few months where my new printer (a shiny Canon Pixma IP7250) software required it, not a problem – I just could not use the additional “My Image Garden” software (I am always wary of rubbish sounding software anyway)  it came with. But I really wanted to try out some new presentation/productivity software that could really make my life easier, if it was anything as I expected, and yes it required greater than v3.5.

As I was going to end up with a nice clean version of windows 7, and if the rumors are to be believed, and a forthcoming free version of windows 10 then now was the opportunity to ghost/backup my main drive. My copy of Norton Ghost was way outdated and certainly it does not offer a recent alternative so I hunted for the possibility of a free alternative. I found one! Macrium Reflect – find it here …

I don’t have much more to say other than it was free, easy to install and certainly was not a complicated process – identify partitions, locate a save locations and bingo! hopefully there will not be a follow up post anytime soon, but I am pleased to report I am not using Dot Net v4.5



Using Images – avoiding copyright

I have had a number of discussions recently regarding the use of copyrighted/licensed images, especially in light of the FELTAG report and the need to create engaging online material. Decent free images are not easy to come by and there are those that are in all honesty are used with the intention of not breaching any copyright or infringing any rights but still do, so I thought I would post some useful information and thoughts.


  • Google search for images with usage rights
    1. Type in search criteria into Google
    2. Ensure you are on images
    3. Select search tools
    4. Select usage rights
    5. choose appropriate rights – “Labelled for reuse with modification” being the most versatile


  • So what happens when you have an image, maybe from an old resource, and you want to check that it is not copyrighted – hard to track down isn’t it! well visit Google Search by images – upload your image (or use an image URL) and it will let you know if Google can find it (or similar images). Try the following ninja to see if you can find out where it may have originated from. URL