In 2007, Learning and Teaching Scotland took an interest in the work that we had been doing in creating online learning resources, and commissioned my then employer to produce some to share nationally. The brief was to produce resources for ICT, Primary Science, RE and Gaelic, but in reality beyond a few examples only the RE and ICT were fleshed out.

I first created a stand alone site to house the ICT resources, titled ‘swict.com – the place for help when you’re Stuck With ICT‘. It gave 4 courses covering – PowerPoint, Captivate, Breeze, WordPress. Why these titles? The entire project was based around teachers learning how to create online learning resources, and I felt that these titles covered all the basics they would need. Importantly for the audience, lessons were presented in ‘bite sized chunks’, only needing at most 5 minutes to do.

swict.com - menu of courses available

The site proved quite successful, but not necessarily attracting visitors from the target audience! If the plan was to create this website and then have teachers creating other resources, then I failed. Despite being one of the most visited tutorial sites on the web at one point, it didn’t establish a sea change in teachers producing online interactive resources.

swict.com - a course list, offering video and pdf files

The site stands as a testament to my thoughts on simplicity and ease of use – when presented with a screen, there are next to no options to be confused by. A lot of time and attention was put into this simplicity, and you can see how this developed – especially if you look at other items in my portfolio!

A lot of people really appreciated the site, but like any tutorial website, it’s only as valuable as it’s currency. Fall behind in the production of materials to support the most recent software version, and you quickly become irrelevant.

An interesting fact for the nerds – the videos for recording audio in the captivate tutorials were faked – Captivate 2 didn’t function fully on Windows Vista, so I had to fake the screenshots and overdub the audio at time of recording. By the time I’d finished the recordings they’d fixed it though, so viewers of the tutorials wouldn’t have known any different!

What did people say about it?

Stuck with ICT (swict.com) from Andrew Brown was an unforgettable service that was ahead of its time in terms of eLearning and staff CPD. Many people wanted to create a similar thing but lacked the time and the vision. Andrew must have locked himself away in a dark room for weeks while he produced SWICT and many of us (myself included) were so pleased he did. For a long time swict.com became a standard compulsory follow up link and a “If you have any further questions, go to…” slide for many many staff CPD sessions on Blogging and using PowerPoint. – Ollie Bray

swict.com and in particular http://www.swict.com/wordpresscourse.htm was a site I’ve recommended on and offline many times. The screen casts are particularly lucid; easy to follow and understand. most importantly they are very short, complex tasks chunked into easy to swallow bites. Here is what I thought in 2007 – http://johnjohnston.info/blog/archive/2007/10/02/stuck-with-ict. – John Johnston

Check it out: http://swict.com

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the digital home of Andrew Brown