Sunday, April 14, 2019

Security with Excel Workbooks

It's a great feeling when you've created your amazing spreadsheet! All the formula are working perfectly, the formatting is looking snazzy and those graphs are just populating nicely. You're feeling pretty pleased with yourself and then you remember that you will be sharing this workbook with others....

It's not that you don't like sharing, hey you're a great team player and being able to collaborate on a project is right up your alley. But there are those on the team that have the potential to ruin your good work! It's happened before and can be really frustrating. Why oh why can they not just do what they need to do in there and leave your precious formula alone. They don't need to touch it!

All is well though, we have a way to protect your worksheet and allow collaboration on the parts that we give permission to collaborate on. The good news is that we can Secure Portions of a Worksheet.

With the cells that we don't want touched (e.g. formula) we will use a process of unlocking the cells and then protecting the worksheet. This will allow the user to only enter values into the unlocked cells. By default every cell in a worksheet is locked. The only reason you can enter data into the cells, is because the worksheet isn't protected.


  1. Select all the cells that users are allowed to enter data into. Right click and select Format Cells.
  2. Click the Protection tab and clear the Locked Checkbox and click OK.
  3. Click the Review tab and from the Changes group, select Protect Sheet
  4. Uncheck the Select Locked Cells checkbox
  5. Protect the worksheet by typing a Password. Click Ok and retype the password again. Click OK once more.
And you're done. Now you can sleep at night knowing that people aren't going to mess with your work!

For teaching resources on Microsoft Excel here are some links:

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Do we really need a Lesson Plan?

When you first start working in education and training you rely on Lesson Plans. You fill them out studiously and ensure that you meet all the objectives. As the years go by, you can get a bit lapse with this practice particularly as you get more comfortable with your topic. So I pose the question.... Is it really necessary to have a Lesson Plan?

At a recent team get together our leader advised that all training sessions would require a lesson plan and there was a certain format that must be adhered to. One of the trainers piped up and stated that he didn't use lesson plans anymore because he has been doing his Health and Safety courses for decades and doesn't need one. A bit of discussion followed, but the upshot was that he would be providing lesson plans and he would get help to start producing them.

So lets look at the purpose and benefits of a lesson plan.

In all successful projects, planning is a key element to success and when it comes to teaching, this is no different. Lesson plans provide the structure to enable this.  An effective lesson will be organised well and have interesting and varied activities and content. Resources used will be appropriate to the audience and at the right level.

Time Management is important too. Within a lesson plan it is important to break activities into time slots and try to adhere to these. (with a degree of flexibility). A well managed and balanced lesson plan gives a sense of security and ensures that all boxes are ticked that need to be so that relevant objectives are met.

There are many different types of lesson plans available dependent on what field of teaching you are working in, however, the basic structure should include the following elements:

1. An Introduction - The main objective and learning outcomes for the lesson
2. A Starter Activity - this could be an ice breaker, a warm-up exercise, a review, etc.
3. The Body - The content and activities planned
4. The Conclusion - A review of main points, questions, assessment, feedback.

To get a variety of templates with some examples click here: Lesson Plans and Templates.

To view other teacher and training resources go to my TPT store.

I'd be interested to know if you use lesson plans, or rely on your memory? Please comment below :)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Workplace Health and Safety - lets talk about the real issue!

Most companies and organisations know how important it is to have their health and safety documentation up to date and accurate. They spend a lot of time and money on updating procedures and policies, but in my experience they often fail when it comes to ensuring that their staff understand what these policies and procedures actually mean for them.

Lets face it - in many industries worldwide there is a lack of literacy skills. Why oh why do organisations insist on creating documentation loaded with complicated words and unwieldy paragraphs. This is not helpful at all to a large percentage of their workforce, which can often be made up of people where English is not their first language.

Employers have a responsibility to not only create this documentation but to ensure that it is understood by all their staff from the factory floor to top management. There are two key areas that need to be addressed:

1. Seriously look at rewriting your documentation so that it is in plain English
2. Provide training for your staff to ensure that they understand their responsibilities in regard to the policies.

I've worked with people from many different cultures and spent many worthwhile hours with them just deciphering workplace health and safety policies. This involved breaking down the vocabulary used within the documentation and giving them an understanding of how it applies to their roles. I take my hat off to management that made time for this training to happen. The benefits can be huge.

If you are a workplace trainer, a teacher, a facilitator or are just looking for resources to start with, check out these resources.

I'd be interested in your comments below.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Creating a Digital Vision Board

Being the first day of the year I decided to create a Vision Board and then follow it up with specific smart goals. I was pleasantly surprised when my partner said that he would also like to do the same thing.

We started the day with a walk to our local cafe, had a lovely breakfast, then a nice stroll on the beach. Once we got home we started thinking about the Vision Boards. Now being minimalists, there really was no chance of us having old magazines lying around that we could cut out ideas from. So the decision was taken to make our boards Digital.

These are the steps we took: