Sunday, 24 February 2013

When Thinking Day gets your thinking...

It's Sunday afternoon and once again I'm writing...I'm always writing these days!  This time it's not for my PhD though - it's for the upcoming International Evening at Guides. Last Thursday we celebrated World Thinking Day which takes place on 22nd February (The Birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement and his wife Olave, who was World Chief Guide).

World Thinking Day is a special annual day when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world think of each other and express their thanks and apprecation for the International Movement. This year the two themes for World Thinking Day come from MDG 4 (Reduce Child Mortality) and MDG 5 (Improve Maternal Health) -  Together we can save children's lives and Every mother's life and health is precious. Since 2010 there have been 5 focus countries -this year they are; Republic of Ireland, Jordan, Pakistan, Venezuela and Malawi.

Not only is Girl Guides in Malawi very different from Guiding in the UK, there is a stark difference between the lives of young girls in Malawi compared to those in Scotland. Using the MDGs as a basis for the World Thinking Day not only means that WTD is closely linked with international issues but that there is an emphasis on issues relevant to girls around the world.

WTD not only got me thinking about Guiding around the world but also about the role organisations such as Girl Guides can make. With ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, WAGGGS is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. A movement I'm proud to be part of. 
Girlguiding Logo Woven Badge Thinking Day 2013 Woven Badge

Monday, 11 February 2013

Speed Reading and Speedier Writing...Write or Die

Well I also work for the Institute for Academic Development so maybe i'm slighty biased?  I doubt it! I think the courses run as part of the part of the training programme for Doctoral Researchers/ PhD Students are really good and I wish I took advantage of them more when I was in my first year!

I'm lucky that I get to interact with the tutors on a regular basis and I have been known to ask a question or two. I'm going "Speed Reading" next week. It's one of the courses and right now I wish it was called "Speed Writing."

Then I remembered something Louisa Lawes (Head of Researcher Development, IAD) told me about a while ago.  It's called Write or Die. There are variations of this programme and some of them sound a bit less scary! I wonder if it really works though? So I thought I would give it a try! I did find it somewhat useful! Stopped me procrastinating and got me typing. There are different settings and you can set it to how long it will let you stop before it starts flashing red and deleting what you have just typed!

The other programme I have heard about is called Freedom and it stops you accessing the internet for as long as you set it for. I'm not convinced it's for me. For one what about using Mendeley or Dropbox. I rely on the internet a bit too much for other things to be able to shut it off completely. Anyway if I really wanted I could disable my wifi!

What do you think? Would you use Write or Die?