On this page you'll find answers to the questions we get asked most often about the services we provide. If your question is not answered below, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Q: I'm a busy person; briefly explain to me exactly what you do?
Q: Do you offer any on-going support after the coaching sessions?
Can't find the answer to your question?
We provide consultation, support and coaching on the use of free and open source software for business, education & home.
- We pride ourselves on providing a friendly, helpful service with a "can do" attitude.
- No job is too small.
- We always use plain English, baffling "Geek speak" is banned(!)
- We provide flexible delivery and support, face to face and on-line, based around you and your needs.
- All projects are fully costed with agreed outputs and milestones.
- All projects have a dedicated, secure web page containing links to all resources and materials relating to your project.
- In most cases, any proposed solutions will be tailored to existing hardware which you already have.
Q: Where has the idea of becoming a 'Technology coach" come from?
It has come from the experiences Paul has had working within the UK education sector for the last 10 years and also from working with business and charities. People often say there is no one who they can approach to get advice and coaching on actually using technology to do certain tasks and they are also unaware of the vast amount of quality free software that can be used to do those tasks.
In our experience, one of the main barriers to entry that people and organisations experience with technology is its cost. The sheer wealth of free and open source software that is available now means that there really isn't any need to purchase any commercial software for anything other than the most specialist of tasks. The money saved from using the free software can then be used to purchase more or better hardware, thus improving everyone's experiences further.
In summary, free and open source tools allow you to:
- Try various tools out with minimum risk.
- Scale up their usage without incurring additional costs.
- Invest more money into your technical infrastructure.
Q: How does the consultation work?
The consultation sessions can be done either face to face or on-line. If they are done on-line they can be done in 'real time' (aka synchronously) using tools such as Skype & Google Hangouts. Alternatively, they can take place via an exchange of emails or other messages (a-synchronously).
The consultation process itself makes use of a technique called Scenario Based Design (SBD).
We'd begin by talking to you and possibly your colleagues, ascertaining where you wish to be in 6, 12 and 18 months' time. We'd ask you to ignore any preconceived notions about what is, and isn't possible using technology and instead tell us what you would like to be able to do. As a result of this process, several stories or "scenarios" can then be written, these outline how particular individuals or groups will experience or benefit from the technology once it is implemented.
Once the scenarios are written, we then work with you to identify free and open source software that you could use to realise your vision.
The identified tools would then be presented to you in a menu style format, with the pros and cons associated with using each tool explained in plain English. You could then use this menu to make an informed decision about which software you wanted to use.
In essence we'd work together to identify the destination you wish to reach, and then we would give you options as to how you might get there using free and open source software.
Q: What happens once I pick the free tools I wish to use?
Once the free and open source tools have been identified, you then have three main choices:
We can provide face to face onsite, or online coaching sessions and workshops for you, your department/team or your entire organisation on how to use the identified tools. All coaching sessions are supplemented by a bespoke area on PaulsElearning.com, providing you and your colleagues with access to all of the coaching materials, any time you need them.
In some cases, you may decide that you do not wish to use the identified tools to make the solution yourself. In such cases we can use the identified tools to construct the solution for you and then hand it over for you to use. Because the solution will have been made using the same tools which were agreed upon in the consultation phase, you'll be able to tinker and tweak it as much as you like in the future - or ask us back again to do the tinkering for you.
As all of the software is free to download, you may decide that you wish to learn how to use it for yourself and then implement what you have learned to achieve your goals. If you decide to do this, we'll always be available to provide ad hoc support should you ever need it.
Our technology coaching sessions are designed to be as flexible and accommodating as possible. Each session is designed specifically to meet your needs and will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to use the free software; enabling you to then create your resource/system/solution described in the initial scenario.
There are two main types of coaching sessions which can be delivered:
In these sessions, you and your colleagues will learn how to use the software and actually build your desired system/solution in the session itself. In most cases, you will leave the session with the system or solution set up and ready to use.
Please note: This option requires that you have access to a room with sufficient amounts of internet connected hardware (laptops, tablets etc.) so that everyone attending the session can "have a go".
In these sessions, we deliver a talk to yourself and your colleagues. The talk outlines how the identified software works and illustrates how it can be used to realise the scenarios outlined during the consultation phase.
Seminars would occur on site in your place of work.
Webinars would occur on-line and are particularly useful if getting all key stakeholders to the same physical location is challenging.
Certainly! Once you have used the free software to get where you want to be, you have three main choices as to how you can stay there:
We can draw up a customised support contract, tailored to your needs which can provide on-line and face to face support as and when you need it.
If you'd rather a "pay as you go" approach then we are more than happy to provide you with ad hoc face to face and on-line support for you and your organisation as and when you need it.
As your new system/resource will have been constructed using free and open source tools, you'll be free to make use of the tools for as long as you wish, without incurring any charges. Because of this, you may decide to adopt an "in house" approach to support. If you do go down this road, we'll always be available to provide ad hoc support should you ever need it.