What If … I used a spreadsheet?

It's the last week of the on-line Instructional Media course that I've been taking as part of the BC Provincial Instructor Diploma Program. For our final project, students create a choice of an educational blog, wiki, podcast, video, or any other digital media artefact. Having had some experience with most of those, I decided to tackle something new for me: a screencast.

For added challenge, I also chose not to produce a narrated screencast, but instead one that uses text to explain the proceedings. That turned out to be much more difficult than I first imagined.

The topic of my screencast is "What If?" analysis using spreadsheets. It's a simple enough concept -- play with the numbers until the spreadsheet calculates an appealing result -- but it's a good introduction to the power of spreadsheets for students that previously used them to store checklists or addresses, if they used them at all. "What If?" analysis also demonstrates everything that computers are good at: repetition, calculation, and graphical presentation. That's really the underlying theme of the Practical Computer Fluency course that I regularly teach at the College.

The product of my efforts is below. The text is a bit small, so you may instead want to view the full-size version. In either case, you can click the little button at the bottom-right of the player to expand the video to the entire screen.

I'm pleased with the outcome, even though its educational value is limited. You will notice that it's quite difficult to follow in places; my test audience had to repeat sections over and over again.

If you find that the tune begins to wear after some six minutes, try editing a video with that as the soundtrack. Makes one pine for the dulcet tone of a vuvuzela.