Using slideshare


Following on from my previous rambles about story telling, inspired initially by the blog Thinking about Ideas, I found this presentation on Slideshare:

It speaks to the idea of stories, and using social media to share stories in order to develop a sense of community- in the context of a faith-based early childhood centre.  All of which covers two of my major pre-existing interests – early childhood education and children’s spirituality, and cunningly integrates them with my new-found interest in social media and the stories we tell there.


Why you should use Twitter during your PhD


For those of you who may not follow the thesis whisperer, here is further justification for anyone with a newly developing twitter addiction! Enjoy 🙂

The Thesis Whisperer

This post is by Sheree Bekker, who is originally from South Africa and now based in Australia as an international PhD scholar at the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia. Her research centres around sports safety. Follow her on twitter @shereebekker

twitter-follow-achieverTwitter, according to Wikipedia (yes – how terribly un-scientific of me), is an online social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read “tweets”, which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Twitter is vital to the success of your PhD. Yes, you heard me read me correctly, a seemingly superficial social media site is a fundamental element that will contribute to the success of your PhD – if you embrace it!

Let me tell you my story.

I was a Masters student in South Africa, where I had completed my undergraduate studies and an Honours…

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Selective Storytelling


Here’s the 23 things blogpost I referred to in my previous post, Careful Curating. It really made me think.

Thinking about ideas

The Web 2.0 allows us to tell our stories in new ways, but it doesn’t change the principles of storytelling. Our stories still need to be interesting and relevant or our audience stops listening. The stories are still told with a purpose in mind, be it entertainment, information or challenge – or a mix. To do these things, the storyteller needs to be selective, and that is what I want to discuss in this post.

Recently I have been introduced to (see JD Lasica, 7 top tools for content curation  and Marcela De Vivo, 5 tools to curate content like a pro). This tool has been likened to a scrapbook (De Vivo) and is a way to present a story about a topic or event that presents “your overall take on the proceedings” (Lasica). For one event, then, there are many different stories that could be told…

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Careful curating.


Since joining this course I have started to think more deeply about my identity as a researcher, and about how I want to communicate that identity to others.  It seems that building an online identity is something that can be done in haste, only to be repented of at leisure.

In particular, there’s Twitter.  I had never had anything to do with twitter before now.  To be honest, I could not see the point of it.  However, since signing up, I’ve discovered a whole new world of information, both good and bad.  But more excitingly I’ve discovered a whole new world of possible contacts and networks to join. For instance, today I signed up for an online Shut Up and Write group hosted by an academic in Brisbane, for academic writers who wanted some encouragement to focus, and some support from others.  This is well beyond anything I had expected to find on Twitter, which I had previously suspected was exclusively populated by celebrity watchers and trolls!!

But this whole new world raises two (at least) things to consider.  The first is the issue of identity.  How do I want to present myself; who do I want these other people to see?  In the 23 Things blog, Thinking about Ideas, Suzanne talks about story – the things we include and the things we omit.  I realise she’s not really talking about our personal stories, but I think what she says can be extended to that.  For example: a couple of years ago I organised a meeting for Faculty of Ed postgrads, with a well-known guest speaker.  We had such a high turnout, and so many responses from people who couldn’t make it but wanted to see it, that we asked permission to film the presentation and put it on the closed PGSA Facebook page.  Permission was duly granted (and of course we had to get consent from everyone who attended just in case the back of their head featured in the film, but that’s a whole other story).  However, we were then asked NOT to put the film up online, because it didn’t fit with the online presence the speaker was developing.  That was my first encounter with this issue.

The second thing to consider is this question of curating content.  Because I have spent a lot of time lately drowning in content, seeing things that interest me and then not being able to find them again.  So I’m really keen to try out some of the tools recommended in thing 10.  However, I’m going to have to wait.  Time is short and deadlines are pressing!

In the meantime, I’m a bit unsure about how to create a link to another blog, so I’m going to reblog it in full.

Professional social networks.


I already have an account with both LinkedIn and but I’m not sure what their value is to me at the moment.

I joined LinkedIn mainly to keep my daughter happy (she works in Recruiting and uses LinkedIn every day as part of her work).  So far I’ve enjoyed setting up my profile and making connections with people I already know, but otherwise I’m maintaining an attitude of wait and see about it.  I’ve worked through the suggestions about the 5 things you probably aren’t doing with your LinkedIn account (I wasn’t doing any of them) and I’m trying to make the suggested changes.  I still have to think of some wickedly catchy headline!

I agree with the John Naughton article that LinkedIn is mainly associated in my mind with finding a job.  I’m not in that position at the moment, and I haven’t really thought before about how i could use it to increase my profile as a researcher, or develop a professional network around discussion of ideas.  So in light of the readings for this week I’ve joined a couple of groups from the list of suggestions, and I’ll try and make the effort to join the online discussions to become a participating member of the groups I belong to, rather than just a silent watcher.

As for – I joined that in order to get access to an academic paper I wanted to read.  I currently have no idea how to use that particular site, and so my account just sits there.  I think it might be staying dormant for the foreseeable future.

I’m interested to hear how others use/view these sites. As I said at the beginning of this course, I’ve never really ‘done’ social media, so perhaps I don’t appreciate the possibilities.  I think the best way to really learn about them would be to hear other people’s stories.

Silent Sociability


Here’s another useful blog I’ve found relating to the dark art of academic writing. I find what she says about identifying distractions quite challenging – after all, if I eliminated all distractions, how would I have the time to read what she’s written??

Explorations of Style

One of my first tasks upon returning from my sabbatical was to run a dissertation boot camp. Although dissertation boot camps are a well-established way of supporting doctoral writers, this is the first time we have offered one at the University of Toronto (we did offer a very successful research article boot camp earlier in the summer). We had sixteen participants (doctoral students from a wide range of disciplines), and we met for three days, from 9-5 each day. Our days were made up mostly of writing, with breaks to discuss strategies for pre-writing, productivity, and revision and to consider the particular challenges of thesis writing. The overarching theme for the three days was silent sociability. A writing retreat of this sort involves both silence and sociability and thus presents an opportunity to reflect on the ways that academic writing relies on both.

First, the silence. When planning…

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