My First Prezi (i.e an alternative to PowerPoint) !!!

Howdy!

After watching a TED Talk about the no-no’s and to-do’s of making PowerPoint presentations, I gave making my first Prezi a shot. (A Prezi is like a PowerPoint, but with zoom-in, zoom-out, and other features).

This content of it is a response to an assignment in Joseph A. Maxwell’s book “Qualitative Research Design.” It’s a “for-the-researcher’s-eyes-only” type of assignment. In other words, it’s not to be shared professionally. It’s just to help the researcher reflect on ultimate aims, possible related questions, unconscious biases, etc.

Here’s the link: My first (very informal) Prezi: The Evolution of the Research Question

What do you think about the Prezi format? Too much for the academy?

To be fair, there’s a whole bunch I don’t yet know about how to make a Prezi better. My font was too big for most of the time, for instance. Too close!

But about the Prezi technology itself in general: What do you think? Have you seen one presented in a formal academic setting? Have you or anyone you’ve know presented to your department using a Prezi instead of a PowerPoint? What were the results? How were the talk, the presentation, and the Prezi itself received?

As always, thanks for visiting!

Have a blessed day!

Mickey

“Dissertation Crises” Post from the Organizing Creativity Blog

Greetings, folks!

With this post I’m just briefly popping in to share a very share-worthy link, in my humble opinion! 😉 It’s about beginning-, mid-, and end-dissertation crises, and I found it insightful as an excellent heads-up as well as word of encouragement.

UPDATE: In the original post, I shared the link. Then, the creator of the blog commented with the following (see comments) with this reply:

Personally I’d recommend this posting here: http://www.organizingcreativity.com/2011/10/the-future-of-your-research/ — it’s a presentation about “The Future of Your Research — How to organize a scientific work?” and covers a lot of issues, from the basic mindset to presentations …

I checked out the link above, and it is CHOCK full of AWESOME content a la “unwritten rules about PhD research writing.” VERY much worth your time.

I’ll share the link from his blog that I originally had in mind anyway (it’s good, IMO, too). I hope you find it’s a benefit! It’s located at http://www.organizingcreativity.com/2010/05/dissertation-crises.

Blessings!

BLISSED-OUT Academic Due to Citavi (Citavi has me giddy, ya’ll!)

Update 01/14/2014: Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoZd_j0AdG4

So . . . as many of you know, academic workflow is a HUGE issue with me. I can’t “talk” long at the moment (too busy flowing in a blissful momentum of academic progress, clarity, and WRITING), but let me just say this: Have you heard of Citavi?

It’s free. And you MUST download it. It is an academic researcher-writer’s DREAM, is all I can say.

Here is the QUICKEST way I can think of for you to get a feel for this software: Go to http://www.citavi.com/en/support.html. Once there, click on videos and slideshows. Have at it. I think you will be BEYOND impressed. Please post back so others know: Citavi is the BOMB!

Once I get some time–perhaps over the holidays, I will try to create an “academic workflow”‘ post that discusses the (1) Zotero/Mendeley –> (2) Citavi (and Tufts VUE if you like mind mapping and content mapping) –> (3) MS Word<–>Scrivener flow that is ALL YOU NEED to work in such a way to SQUASH a lot of the reasons for stalledness/stuckness. I am buzzing along, ya’ll. I’m straight giddy right now and CRUISING, if you can’t tell by my speech register. 😉

NOTE: If you are reading ANYTHING that you might want to cite–even if you have not YET applied to graduate school–if I were you, I would stop right now and obtain Citavi. That’s how “bad-mamajama” this software is.

Aside: I would pay and pay for this software. Right now it’s free as long as you have less than 100 references. Please. Cop. This. Now.

Yep.

Okay. Going back to my academic work now. Until next time, family.

Blessings!

Are you EFFICIENT with your researcher-writer tasks? The Pomodoro task management technique will tell you! Details . . .

Update (01/4/2014): I’ve come up with a way to do S.M.A.R.T. pomodoros. I do them at orkanizer.com and it really WORKS for focus, briskness, and momentum for me. Kanbanflow.com is another great tool. Very simple to use, it marries the pomodoro technique with the kanban philosophy of project management.

Greetings, fellow fledgling blossomers!

How are you? I hope this post finds you well!

So, for the past few weeks I have been using the Pomodoro technique to test whether it could help me increase/improve my handle on time and task management. I do okay (I’m a hard worker), but could do better. Evidence = the slowness of my progress. I’m grateful to have any progress, don’t get me wrong! I just recognize that I need to examine my productivity, especially if I’m going to be a researcher-professor at some point. I learned about the Pomodoro technique at http://www.phinished.org, where it is referenced a lot.

I downloaded specifically the Pomodairo from http://pomodairo.en.softonic.com/.

Let me just say, “Yeah. Yes.”

The best thing about documenting my usage of time via the Pomodoro technique is that I’m seeing and thus understanding that I REALLY need to up my efficiency quotient. Taking two tomatoes (25-minute work periods) to create a working bibliography for just a small section of my paper? Not the most efficient use of time. And it’s good to have that “feedback” (knowledge) so that I can recognize the need to put concerted effort into working more efficiently during each tomato. Before, I would have just thought “I’ve been good: I just spent ONE WHOLE HOUR working on this section of my paper.” Yeah, but was it efficient work? How productive are you REALLY being, Mickey? In this regard, the Pomodoro technique is a VERY helpful monitor.

Also, with the Pomodoro technique, taking breaks becomes a VERY explicit move. That is VERY useful for the person who thinks, “I know I said I’d straight WRITE for the next 25 minutes, but let me get online and verify this resource. Oops! I’m online. Hmm . . . let me check my Facebook account really quickly to see if so-and-so posted that research book title I need. It’s all research-related, so it’s all good, right?”

No. That’s the problem. It’s NOT all good. Writing time needs to be writing time. I think that’s where I’m finding the Pomodoro technique most useful: It’s forcing me to reflect on how I REALLY use my time, not how I had planned to use my time (but might not necessarily have done so).

To learn about the Pomodoro technique for tackling a task and monitoring efficiency, please check out the following link:  http://www.pomodorotechnique.com.

Since you’re busy (wink), once there, please click on the Resources and Testimonials link. It’ll give you  an overview and let you know if the Pomodoro technique is something in which you might be interested and whether you should spend any time investigating it further.

To explore this technique with minimal commitment, give it a spin at http://mytomatoes.com, where you can privately track, time, and document your “tomatoes” (Pomodoro activities).

If you find that this technique is really working for you, consider a desktop version, such as the one I use–the Pomodairo available from http://pomodairo.en.softonic.com/.

Regardless, give us your opinion: Helpful? A time waster and yet another distraction? You have a better way? Just do the work–and leave the Pomodoro technique alone? You’ve tried it and find it a godsend? We want to know what you think! So . . .

What Say You?

  1. What resources, quotes, mindsets, habits, activities, etc. have you used to successfully gain a handle on time and task management?
  2. Have you had success with the Pomodoro technique? If so, how EXACTLY do you do your tomatoes? Do you do it digitally, or just physically by hand? Do you do a blend of a digital and physical process? Do you write something down on paper? How do you time yourself if not using a digital app? What advice do you have for GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE?
  3. Finally, in general, what is your BEST time and task management advice?

As always, thanks for stopping by. Your contributions are valuable!!!

BLESSINGS!

Mickey

Bonus Post: It’s Dec. 1st. One month is left in 2011. What do you want to accomplish before 2012?

Greetings, fellow blossoming researchers.

The title to this post says it all: Today is December 1, 2011. In this FINAL month of 2011, what to do you want to accomplish personally, professionally, and personally professionally, if you know what I mean?

[Just FYI: This post topic was inspired by a discussion thread at http://www.phinished.org.]

Once you think about, please share what you can (what’s prudent to share) via the comment feature below.

Here’s what I came up with (please feel free to comment or ask me about any of the terminology and lingo therein!).

Resources needed:

  1. COMMITMENT (read “INTENTION”).
  2. FAITH.
  3. FOCUS.
  4. Omm Writer Dana II Zenware for distraction-blocking writing
  5. Mendeley, Noodletools Citavi, and my Scrivener proposal template with embedded guidelines
  6. a couple of specific books
  7. re-enrollment resources
  8. math ed conference info
  9. paper, writing utensils, and laptop
  10. my researcher’s blog
  11. self and self-care 
  12. and last but not least, God and His favor and love from folks around me
THE DECEMBER VISION: What Would Be Good To Accomplish December 2011 Just In Time for January 2012
  • Re-enroll in graduate school.
  • Turn a corner regarding the literature review (you’ve been talking about how you are DROWNING in 500+ PDFs for months. Pointedly and strategically exit this quagmire!) Goal: To literally (literally) see the lit review SHAPING up. Indicator of success: Having a COMPLETE “Works Cited” list for it. Steps needed to accomplish this:
    1. Copy and paste my Penzu researcher journal quick-writes into Omm Writer Dana II (to close off the Internet/email/etc.), and get some “coherency” to the quick-writes there in the Omm Writer environment. Have just ONE coherent document at the end of this step.
    2. Take the resultant Omm Writer -generated more coherent document, distill an outline from it, and record the outline in Noodletools.
    3. In Noodletools, add your sources and notes to support/substantiate and clue the reader IN to the the progression of ideas in the Omm Writer document. Sequence the notes, and then click the “generate bibliography” option. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Works cited done!
    4. Next step will be to export the Noodetools notes/draft to Scrivener for writing AROUND the notes with content already articulated in the Omm Writer document. This will constitute a nice, REAL draft! Yayness!
  • Given my newly created, shaped-up lit review, assign myself a series of 5-page papers to write that can easily morph into proposal sections. Use older versions of these to help (i.e., “You’ve been here before, don’t keep starting ALL over!”) When it comes time to draft the new ones, perhaps try the following workflow:
    1. Compose them initially as quick-writes in Omm Writer Dana II (to close off distraction from the internet, email, etc). Use Pomodairo to track how dedicated you’ve been to the tasks: You ALWAYS underestimate how much time you put in, and you tend to work less pointedly/efficiently than you could. Noticing all the tomatoes “passing by” will help you to notice the need to have claim to something being DONE each set of 25 minutes.
    2. Transfer each quick-write to the Noodletools environment. There, add supporting notes and citations.
    3. Transfer initial quick-writes from Noodletools to the appropriate proposal section in my Scrivener proposal template.
    4. In Scrivener, edit the quick-writes, and there compile them into one document! Yeah! THAT should work!
  • Schedule at least ONE professional event that would be deeply inspiring, motivating, momentum-engendering, affirming, etc.
  • Continue giving back whatever I can on this journey (i.e. post to this blog every 2 weeks or so).
  • Continue walking this journey with peace, awareness, and the great dignity that it affords/entails.

So what about you? You don’t have to share here (though I’d love to be inspired by your vision for the month of December), and you DEFINITELY don’t have to go into this much detail (wink!–We are all each of us different, right? HUGE SMILE!)

But seriously: Think about what a “good December” would look like for you. Get it into black-and-white. Place it before you. We can all discuss how our Decembers turned out once January gets here? Agreed? PACT!

Have a great one . . .

Mickey