Rocketbook Panda Planner for work/life/study productivity

This post introduces the Rocketbook Panda Planner, a new tool I’ve been trying to help manage my work/life/study. When I first returned to work from parental leave, I needed to get my head back into the world of work. I’d tried lots of different tools to keep myself focused and help me plan and prioritise my weeks and days. For the most part, I had something that worked. However, I had to acknowledge I needed something different now I am a father to three! Something that would help me plan life — with the perspectives of fatherhood and a busy career.

I’d decided I wanted something handwritten as opposed to something digital. Mobile phones, tablets and laptops are doorways to a world of distractions. I knew that if I used an app, I would inevitably get distracted by the many other things in my devices. Probably email or Twitter — the two usual culprits.

So! I needed something to motivate, plan and prioritise. Plus it must be ‘paper-based’.

Introducing the Rocketbook Panda Planner

The Rocketbook comes with a high quality microfibre cloth and Pilot Frixion pen.
My newly unboxed Panda Planner

After some research, I came across the Rocketbook Panda Planner. Described as a planner for ‘those who want an endlessly reusable planner to last for years, if not a lifetime. The Rocketbook Panda Planner gets you organised so you can focus and hit your goals.’ That sounded just like what I needed.

The planner is split into a number of different page types to help you plan:

The Rocketbook Panda Planner has a number of sections to help you organise yourself.
Panda Planner page types

More importantly – it is reusable. I’d never considered a ‘re-usable’ notebook (and wasn’t aware they existed). It is however a fantastic idea. The entire book is essentially wipe clean. It’s a bit like a whiteboard meeting a book. This means there is no guilt from having another diary that will end up in a recycling bin. The real selling point of this wasn’t clear until I actually used it. The beautifully therapeutic moment you wipe away days and weeks of plans, achievements and reflections (there is an app to help you retain a digital copy).

Rocketbook allows you to write and organise your work before scanning it into the app and then wiping the book clean for reuse.
The Rocketbook process

Using the Rocketbook Panda Planner

I very much enjoyed the process of using the Panda Planner. I first worked through the goals and roadmap sections to plan the next quarter (3 months). I set out a number of ambitious work, research and personal goals. It also gave me a valuable opportunity to reflect on potential barriers. Here I noted that my three little ones may become barriers to progress – but it also helped me concretely write that it didn’t matter. As a parent – I needed to juggle that new balance and the Panda Planner helped me navigate this. It was helpful to pen some of this down and get to grips with my life’s new priorities. I am, perhaps, guilty of focusing on work too much – and the Panda Planner helped me bring some balance to that.

With the quarter prepared, I then moved towards weekly and daily sections. I particularly liked how they provided opportunity to undertake routines as part of the day. The daily planner (below) starts off asking what you are grateful for, and excited about — three items for each list. It also provided space for a daily affirmation. Not something I’d usually go for, but with three adopted children moving in, I was writing ‘I can do this’ a fair bit. For the evening is an opportunity to reflect on the day. Here you can record the wins for the day and take note of any opportunities to improve. The rest of the page is very much what you’d expect of a daily planner: priorities, schedule, tasks and notes.

The layout of a daily page

What I’m using

I’d recommend giving the Rocketbook Panda Planner a go. I’ve since expanded to utilise a standard Rocketbook for my general notes. You can write on them with any of the Pilot Frixion line of pens and markers. I’ve found the Frixion fineliners much better than the rollerball ones as they put less pressure on the Rocketbook pages. I think this has to work in favour of longevity.

Certification really does matter…

This is an opinion piece and is unapologetically skills-y. As with everything on my blog, this piece represents my personal thoughts and is not representative of any organisation I work with.

Today I had the pleasure of attending Prodigy Learning’s CertMatters Live conference. The event was hosted at the British Library, which is always a bonus as it is one of my favourite places in London (no surprise for someone who works in a library!). If you are not familiar with Prodigy Learning, they are a leading company in the training and certification industry in the UK and Ireland. They are responsible for managing certification programmes for Microsoft, Adobe and more in the UK and Ireland.

Why is this of interest to someone working in higher education?

Excellent question. I’m going to make a rare jump into the ’employability and skills agenda’ to answer that. Businesses are looking for skilled graduates, and there is a wide base of evidence that suggests there is a HUGE skills gap in the whole labour market. While a lot of these are soft skills like critical thinking, leadership, communication and so on, there is also a dramatic shortage of those with the right technical skills. Many of these technical skills can be demonstrated through the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) examinations. For more practical Microsoft Office certification there is the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifcations. There is also an excellent certification for educators – the Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE).

For this blog, I’m going to focus on the certifications related to Microsoft Office Specialist. This is not to suggest any less validity in those offered for other software vendors or from the Microsoft certifications (MCE/MTA), but my interest lies in Office and it is easier to leverage examples of the benefit of MOS certifications. In short, if institutions can offer students the opportunity to gain MOS certifications, it gives students more opportunity to evidence their skills in a crowded jobs market. It makes them look less-risky to employers as there is evidence of their competency. More importantly, it gives them the chance to brush up on their skills – these certifications are not all easy to get and they will need to earn them!

I think it’s also important to acknowledge the wider context our students are working in. Many of them will graduate and work in careers that don’t yet exist – especially when we look a decade ahead. To cement this point, I’m just going to bring my notes in from the keynote from Chris Rothwell at Microsoft:

Okay – but why certification?

These technical skills can actually be difficult to evidence. This makes it very difficult for businesses to identify graduates that actually possess the skills they are looking for. Immediately the value of internationally recognised certifications must be clear.

Certifications also have the possibility of addressing another serious problem. Many students write application forms or curriculum vitae that suggest they have skills. Sadly, this is not always a reality. I am not suggesting they are intentionally deceitful. Far from it! Many are often unaware of what they don’t know about the software they are using every day. From personal experience, I have interviewed many students who claim to be ‘expert’ in Microsoft Office. On further digging with Microsoft Word for example, it turns out they’ve never come across styles, mail merges, master documents, content controls. Experts they are not.

Certification gives them the option to actually learn and practice the software to a recognised level of competency. When confident, students can take the formal exam and if they pass, they can receive certification. Simple!

Where does this fit in?

Well. There are many approaches. It can be used both within the curriculum or as an optional extra-curricular opportunity. Whatever you do, offering certification alone isn’t enough. Anyone working towards certification will need learning materials to help them towards it. This could be resources developed in-house, or the badging of existing teaching where it links to certification. There is also the option of products like Microsoft Imagine Academy, lynda.com and GMetrix.

This diagram may give you a better feeling of how this all interacts:

Now. I am personally not going to suggest these should be rammed into every programme. I don’t think it would be appropriate. I’d love to see a world where every student could have the opportunity to undertake these employability-enhancing certifications. I just don’t think it should necessarily be core or forced. Some people came to university, not for employability, but for curiosity or the love of learning itself.

Now – there are exceptions. For example, people studying certain business modules probably should be competent with Excel. In those cases, I am all for curriculum integration. There are definitely cases for this with the MTA certification too.

I am not suggesting a wholesale buy-in to the degree/graduate factory. But I want to make it clear – offering certifications does not suggest this. It is about providing students who are about to go out into the rapidly developing employment market a better chance at evidencing what they can do and gaining a job! It is also acknowleding that there may be spaces where these certifications should actually be incurriculumn because it actually represents what it is to have a degree in that subject area.

It isn’t just students…

So – I’ve focused heavily on students. I think I would be doing certifications a disservice if I suggested it was for students alone. There are huge technical skills gaps throughout the whole higher education sector. There are many professional services that would be quicker, slicker and more efficient with the right technical skills in place. I am not suggesting this is part of delivery savings, but if we use Office Software to make the business of education more efficient we can all spend more time with students. This is not a bad thing.

For this bit, I’m going to defer to my notes from Elaine Topham‘s (Grimsby Institute) session on creating super staff. Elaine had an inspiring approach to fostering lifelong learning in staff, especially professional services.

What’s the catch?

Well. Like everything good in life, certification isn’t free. Single exams can be quite expensive, but these are incredibly efficient when purchased in bulk. Compared to the cost and development of in-house solutions, I think certifications represent excellent value. It’s also important to reinforce the recognition these certifications hold with employers. They also offer digital badging through Acclaim. I’m very interested in digital badging and I put a question to the panel at the end of CertMatters Live to dig into this a bit deeper. I ask the panel them how important they feel the ‘digital badge’ aspect of certifications is. The best answer was simple:

Employers are lazy.

Digital badges are quick and easy to see and verify.

More about CertMatters Live

CertMatters Live also hosted the UK and Ireland regional Word, Excel and PowerPoint Championships, with the three winners being sent to New York to compete internationally. Exciting stuff.

More information about CertMatters Live can be seen on the website.

My digital workflow: Office 365 processes & tools for doctoral students

I thought I would take some time to share the invaluable Microsoft tools that I use as part of my thesis and research. I think the usefulness of Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook is without question. These programs are an essential part of my work, but I will focus on other tools that I use to support my research.

Pixaline / Pixabay

OneNote

OneNote is a note taking application. OneNote is like my second brain. It stores my notes for absolutely every situation. Instead of a mixture of apps and notebooks, I take a great effort to keep everything in one place. The availability of OneNote on iOS, MacOS and Windows means I can access OneNote on all of my devices: iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook Pro and Windows 10 computers. This means I can also access my notes anywhere and pretty much on every device. I’m a big fan of handwritten notes and there is a lot of evidence that demonstrates they’re the most effective way to take notes. The awesomeness of the iPad Pro and Pencil mean I can handwrite on-screen just as well as on paper. For any situation in which I do use paper, I scan documents in or use Office Lens (see below).

Technicalities aside, I use OneNote for:

  • Lecture notes, keynotes, conference notes
  • Supervision meeting records
  • Thoughts, thinking, general notes
  • Notes on reading
  • Field notes
  • Shopping lists, recipes and pretty much everything else!

The reason OneNote works so effectively is the wide range of media it supports. Not only can type or hand written notes be used within OneNote, but it supports drawing, maths, images, audio, video, tables, embedded files and a whole range of other special applications. Notes are easy to find as they are organised into sections and notebooks. Everything is searchable, tagable and easy to find.

FirmBee / Pixabay

OneDrive

OneDrive is a cloud storage platform. This means it stores files on a remote server as opposed to any one device. This means you can access anything you store on it anywhere you have internet. I use OneDrive to store all of my important files, with the exception of anything personally identifiable, like research data. While OneDrive achieves the same as Box, DropBox, iCloud Drive, Google Drive or any of platform, the deep integration with Microsoft Office makes OneDrive the most useful. It is also the cheapest platform as you get 1 TB for free included in Office 365, including the edition most universities provide students with.

Not only does OneDrive let you store your files and make them available, it also lets you connect to any computer you’re synced to and pull any file from it. This is really useful if you ever forget to take a file with you. As you’d expect, everything is searchable – but it is important to carefully consider your organisation system. I take great care to never get lazy when saving files otherwise it quickly ends up an unusable mess.

OneDrive is accessible within Office 365 programs, allowing you access to save directly to your OneDrive from within the software. The very latest versions of some even automatically – and constantly save to your OneDrive, ensuring your work is always safe. OneDrive can also be used for collaboration, allowing multiple people to edit an office file in real-time. This can be done with in-browser and in-program. Most people will recognise this functionality from Google Docs/Sheets – but its a lot more powerful in Office.

 

Office Lens

Office Lens is an amazing app for phones and tablets. It allows you to use the devices camera to take photographs, and save them directly to OneDrive, OneNote, your camera stream, PDF, Word or PowerPoint. What makes Lens so special is it’s ability to work with documents, whiteboards and business cards. When pointing Lens at a document, whiteboard, television, projector screen, book or whatever you want to capture, Lens detects the edges automatically and removes the background. This makes it a pretty impressive scanner! For whiteboards it also filters the photo and enhances the picture.

Most of my Lens shots end up getting stored within OneNote, embedded within whatever notebook I am working on at the time. I use it to capture a lot of projector screens – essential for lectures and conference. I also like using it for documents so I can take a photo/image of it away with me digitally rather than  needing to carry a lot of paper. As I suggested above, it is this feature that also lets me digitise any handwritten notes I may take. While I don’t use it, Lens works with Microsoft Immersive Reader so it is fantastic for accessibility purposes.

helloolly / Pixabay

Other useful tools

While I don’t have space to go into too much detail, there are some other essential apps:

Microsoft Translator

Microsoft Translator is a free, personal translation app for 60+ languages, to translate text, voice, conversations, camera photos and screenshots. You can even download languages for offline translation for free to use when you travel!

 

Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Visio is a diagramming software package. It lets you easily draw a whole range of processes, diagrams and maps. It is a lot easier to use than Microsoft Word for making diagrams, with special tools to help you keep elements in line and linked.

 

Microsoft To Do

Microsoft To-Do is a simple and intelligent to-do list that makes it easy to plan your day. Whether it’s for work, school or home, To-Do will help you increase your productivity and decrease your stress levels. It combines intelligent technology and beautiful design to empower you to create a simple daily workflow. Organize your day with To-Do’s smart Suggestions and complete the most important tasks or chores you need to get done, every day. To-Do syncs between your phone and computer, so you can access your to-dos from school, the office, or the grocery store or even while you’re traveling around the world.

Attending an online conference: The ALT Winter Conference 2017

This week I had the pleasure of attending the Association of Learning Technology (ALT) Winter Conference. This free conference was entirely online, delivered via a series of parallel sessions. Webinars, Twitter chats and wildcard sessions formed the basis for these sessions, with a good mixture of each across both days. It was my first time taking part in an online conference and so I wanted to reflect on the format here. Technologically, I thought BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra served for the webinars very well and it was nice to experience this first hand. I usually use Adobe Connect in my own practice so it’s always nice to see another system working.

The first thing that is important to note is that I attended from my open plan office at work. This of course makes a difference as I was surrounded by colleagues, and I was fitting conference sessions in alongside other work commitments. This means I wasn’t fully dedicating all my time to the event, which is a very different experience to being at an actual conference where you are fully immersed. This had advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, I was able to take part in the first place. I simply would not of had the time or money to travel to any conference at this time of year. On the negative, I felt it was not as good a networking opportunity as face:face conferences, and, that it did not provide the same ring fenced development time that you get with being away.

It would be unfair to say networking opportunities were absent. Dialogue and interactivity was present in every parallel session. There was also the #altc hashtag on Twitter for the backchannel conversation throughout both days. However, this is no different to the opportunities afforded at any conference. What I really missed however were the little conversations after sessions, in traveling, between parallels, over coffee, throughout lunch, at evening events and through drinks. I find a lot of the benefit of traditional conferences can be found around the formal programme, not just within it. I should note, the conference did have an always-on cafe for conversation. It was just empty the couple of times I tried to visit. Perhaps Twitter was the better forum?

Pacing the conference around work activities was fairly easy, and I imagine I was not the only person doing this. This did mean some times of day were perhaps busier than others, but this could have been depended on the sessions. The only frustrating thing about attending remotely is the clash between a very useful parallel and a work activity. Of course the work activity takes precedence! It just always tends to coincide alongside the one session you really wanted to see.

The aspect of time away is a difficult one. One of the things I like about a traditional conference is the mental break you get. The time away. The opportunity to focus on self-development, learning, thinking, networking, idea sharing, collaborating and more. The day job, research, writing or whatever else you are doing is placed on hold. Not forgotten, but you put yourself in a different space away. I’m not saying this is absent in an online conference, but because there is a tendency to take part from home or work, it is not the same kind of break. As above, this is advantageous as it means work does not need to stop for your to take part. But it prevents gains in some areas.

While I missed the face to face elements, I think this kind of conference is a fantastic opportunity. As I stated above, I would not have been able to take part were this a traditional conference. I also liked that I did not have to dedicate two whole days and travel to this. While I would usually gladly do this for any conference; work, my research, volunteering and general life are too busy to take all that time out! I’d like to extend a thanks to anyone running a session I attended at the conference. They were all engaging and I look forward to enacting some of this stuff in practice. Huge thanks to ALT too for putting it all together and making it possible.

Maybe I should also celebrate the fact an online conference helped me avoid a few wet days!

The bitesized EdD: Finding slots of time for a professional doctorate

Over the last few weeks I’ve been able to find more time for EdD writing (and reading). This hasn’t been large chunks of time, but just making better use of the small pieces of time I would usually waste.

It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling a doctorate needs whole days and afternoons of time. Yes. This helps. But actually, small bits of time really add up. Finding a couple of fifteen or twenty minute windows per day easily leads to a few hours over the week. This is where I’m finding my time.

I’ve been able to get a good twenty minutes on a fair few mornings to squeeze in some work. Instead of waiting for weekends or a whole free evening, I’ve found additional EdD time by squeezing in an extra hour or two on a few week nights. This hasn’t really impacted my personal life as I’ve fit this in after my fiancé goes to bed.

Being able to pick up work in small chunks like this requires a lot of discipline. It’s hard to put the work down after a few minutes. But when you have only twenty minutes – that is what you have to do! It also means you need to jump into productivity quickly and get yourself used to picking up where you left off quickly. This also requires discipline and practice.

I find technology really helps with this. Microsoft Word handily tells me where I left off. One Drive allows me to pick up work on any Mac, computer or iPad tablet. OneNote keeps my notes available everywhere. EndNote lets me take my library with me. All of these tools together allow me to quickly pick up bits of work. Quite often, I find OneNote is the largest enabler. I can quickly pick up some reading and make some notes or record some thoughts.

Track changes and Microsoft Word comments are also a great way to keep up with where I left off. One thing I’ve yet to try is a recommendation for @JaxBartram, she recommended always ending mid sentence. The idea being it is always easier to pick up work mid-sentence than it is to start afresh.

One one way to see if that works!

Home Office

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert 2017-2018

 

Monday this week I had the great pleasure of receiving an email from Microsoft to congratulate me on being selected as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) for 2017-2018. This was a wonderful surprise, following my application submission earlier this year. The application process involved putting together a PowerPoint Mix or Sway to overview my work. I chose to create a small portfolio in Sway which was an excellent opportunity to reflect on the last academic year. Now I am part of the MIEE programme I look forward to continuing to model the use of Microsoft technologies for learning and teaching. More importantly, I look forward to training and supporting colleagues in their own use of Microsoft technology for learning and teaching.

The year ahead

The MIEE status stays with me for a year and over this time I’ve been thinking about what I want to work on. Like any other commitment I take, I took to Twitter to outline my plans for the year:

As outlined in my tweet, I have three areas I want to work on and in this blog I’ll add a fourth – my own CPD.

Sways and Mixes

I think Sways and Mixes are fantastic educational tools. I especially love how I can quickly create a Mix in PowerPoint. While I can use more complicated tools, they take valuable time. Time I don’t have. For Sway – I love the dynamic and responsive nature. They work really well for content heavy pages that need to be accessible on any size of screen. The ability to set image focus points always ensures the most important elements of any diagram are preserved no matter what device someone is on. I am looking forward to getting some Mixes and Sways online.

Support colleagues with digital literacy and Microsoft 365

Over the last couple of years I’ve been doing a lot of work on digital literacy. My work over the last few months with Microsoft Office 365 and a whole range of Microsoft tools and apps (Learning Tools, Sway, Office Lens, Snip, PowerPoint Mix) has brought new perspectives to this work. Having built my own expertise through practice, I’m now looking forward to supporting colleagues developing their use of Microsoft educational tools, apps and Microsoft Office too. I’m also keen to update some of my existing resources with the latest tech solutions.

Promoting OneNote

OneNote has long been a component of Microsoft Office. It is however, often in the shadow of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I think it is one of the most undervalued aspects of the office suite and I always love introducing users to it. Often, students have OneNote installed on their computer but have never even opened it. I want to try and promote it more within my own institution. I think OneNote combined with Office Lens is the perfect solution to all a students note taking needs! Additional aspects of this including further experimentation with Class Notebooks, and I look forward to seeing how they can replace some wikis I am currently using in the VLE.

CPD

Technology is always developing and I aim to keep myself up-to-date on any new tools Microsoft release, and any updates to existing tools. I’m also keen to continue developing my knowledge through the Microsoft Educator Community.

Microsoft 365 and Windows 10 for Education

Today I visited some of Microsoft’s offices in London to check out Office 365 for education. This was a very informative visit and Microsoft had a fully equipped showcase classroom where we could get to grips with some of their latest hardware and software. The day was structured to overview Windows 10, inking and the powerful combination of this with Office 365 for Education. This includes not only Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher, but an all-encompassing productivity solution that combines Office with OneDrive/SharePoint, Yammer, Skype, Video, Microsoft Teams and more. I’ve seen and used most of these packages, but I’ve never seen them all working together – properly linked and synced and all in the cloud. The result was convincing.

While I am a fairly confident Office and Windows user, it was a great opportunity to try Microsoft’s own hardware. I personally fell in love with the Surface Book, a hybrid laptop-tablet with a powerful processor that delivers a punch on the go. I particularly enjoyed the deep integration of ink within the operating system and Office as a whole. While I am an experienced user of Windows 10, I’ve never had an ink enabled device so it was nice to get to grips with this. I liked it. I like it a lot! I could quite easily see a device like this replacing the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro I carry, although the Microsoft Product would struggle to beat the battery combination of them both. I think I’d miss the general portability of the iPad too.

Take home points from the session

Office Mix

I think one thing I have learned from this process is that I need to be a bit more patient when trailing previews of software. When I tried the very first release of Mix for example I wrote it off. Yes – the outputs were fantastic but they were locked onto the Mix website. This of course is not the case anymore. The introduction of video exports from Mix solves this problem and makes it a great product. Sadly – it has been able to do this for AGES according to the trainer and I regret not playing with it sooner.

Office Mix Snip

This fantastic little tool is in preview at the moment. It basically replicates everything I love about the Camtasia capture tool I use on Mac. It allows a user to ‘snip’ any area of the screen, annotate and share. The tool is far more developed than the in-built ‘snipping’ tool and it takes full advantage of inking in the OS. You can try the Snip Preview yourself.

Sway

Ok. I like Sway. I really like Sway. However – students and staff are not really that aware of it. This session reminded me of the important gap it fills in the presentation market. I think we need to really push this out as an alternative to PowerPoint or Word for certain kinds of presentations.

Edge

It is getting better and it isn’t as bad as it used to be. I think it is some time away from being a stable replacement for Chrome or FireFox, but I could see this being a contender really soon. I loved the seamless integration with OneNote, but this is replicated within the OneNote plugins for other browsers so not too much a selling point.

Ink

Everything is better with Ink. I’d only really played with this on the iPad before, but seeing it across all the Office programs and across the Windows 10 OS I was overwhelmed with the potential. I am so sad I don’t have access to this on a daily basis.

OneNote

I’ve used OneNote in patches over the last decade, but recently decided to commit to it as my main note taking application. I transferred all my stuff from Evernote and I couldn’t be happier. Today really convinced me I have made the right decision. I already have it up and running across iPhone, iPad, Window 10 and Mac OS X.

While I learned nothing new about OneNote today, I did discover OneNote Class Notebook. This has some amazing potential and I look forward to seeing it in use within higher education.

Concerns

Training, support and change

I always get excited about the latest shiny technology. However, not everyone is as confident as I am. I work with a lot of novice users and technophobes. The powerful combination of all of these Microsoft products is kind of overwhelming. While this combination can deliver amazing efficiency and savings, it is problematic from a user training perspective.

For some users, the change to 365 solutions for their existing tools (e.g. Slack, DropBox, Evernote) presents a huge transition. This is no where near as large as the transition for some users who have yet to even move to a cloud tools. It is a new way of thinking. It requires all new business processes. Online training can only go so far and an institution rollout that maximises the user of this software and the efficiencies it can deliver seems like a mountain to climb.

Ink

All of the exciting stuff we saw today surrounded Ink. No one in the whole team I work for has access to any Ink enabled hardware. This would represent a significant investment and it is one I don’t see coming. At present, a lot of our work relies on BYOD (Bring your own device) and we all pretty much have an Apple iPad. While that allows us to use some Office 365 apps, these are lighter versions than those you can install on powerful Surface equivalent. While these app versions support Inking, the feature set is nowhere near as good as the program.

Ultimately, it made me realise just how amazing it is to be able to pick up a pen and draw directly onto something running full Windows. It’s just something I am not going to be able to afford to do for some time… although I should note there are some excellent devices from companies like HP that do not destroy the bank.

Mac versions

Most of my use of Microsoft Office is on a Windows PC, although I am a frequent user of Word on my Mac. With Word, I notice little difference between Windows and Mac. There are a few differences, but nothing I miss too much. Today I realised there are larger gaps between Windows and Mac in some of the other programs. Ink is one of these gaps but with my MacBook Pro it isn’t something I had even looked for before. Then again – it is little use on my MacBook Pro.

I hope OS X and Windows versions become more aligned over time and I would like to see versions of other programs like Visio and Project joining team Mac too.

 

Conclusion

Office 365 is amazing. But it is only amazing when you go whole hog. Unleashing the full power requires integrated versions of Office, Skype, Teams, Outlook/Exchange, OneDrive/Exchange and Yammer. It is the totality of all of these tools, speaking and syncing with each other that really brings the power. Access to Ink helps too 🙂

A big thank you to the team at Microsoft and their consultant for hosting us in London. Lunch was excellent and it was a great opportunity to see all of this in practice within education.

Exporting from EndNote to NVivo

In EndNote, all you need to do is open your library and select the papers you wish to export. You can use Ctrl/Command and A to select all, or you can hold Ctrl/command and select individual papers. Papers you have selected will be highlighted in blue. Once you’ve done this, go to File > Export…

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Save this as an XML file (Save as type) and keep the output style as Annotated.

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You can now head to NVivo to import.

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Importing into NVivo

I’ve started a new NVivo 11 Project so I have a blank file ready to go. To bring in all the papers from Endnote, all you need to do is head to Data > From Other Sources > From EndNote…

This will open a dialogue you can use to browse to the file exported from EndNote. Once found, select the XML file and click open:

4.png

This will open the import dialogue in NVivo. This has a series of useful tools that will check for existing papers in your project and allow you to specify where you want to store the imported papers. Anything with a PDF (journal articles for example) attached will be imported as an Internal. Anything without a PDF attached (most books for example) will be imported as an External. As this is the first import and the project is literature only, you don’t need to change anything here so click Import.

5.png

You’ll see the status of your import reported at the bottom left of the screen. Be patient while it loads:

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This should give you an NVivo file with all of the relevant papers for your project.

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The official QSR guidelines for this can be found on their online help guide, including instructions for Mendeley, RefWorks and Zotero. Additional guidelines for making this work with EndNote and NVivo on different machines can be  found in the Importing EndNote references in NVivo help guide.

Using EndNote to collect literature

This is a short blog post that looks at how you can collect literature on mass from a database for export into EndNote. I wrote this brief post to provide some background on how to prepare an EndNote library ahead of using it with QSR NVivo. When this second post is ready, I’ll link it here.

Collecting the literature

No matter what I am working on, it always starts with a literature search. Like most of us, I focus on using the resources available through my institution and as an educational researcher, I tend to use a mix of databases available though Web of Science, ProQuest or EBSCOhost depending on the topic. I start by identify my key
search terms
and then use a mixture of operators and Boolean logic to develop my search query. While I try to be precise with this step of the process, I don’t worry too much as I can use NVivo later to prioritise my reading.

After conducting a search, I’ll either batch add all the results, or skim through the abstracts to select the most relevant papers. How this works varies by database and I don’t want to spend too much time discussing this as I want to get to NVivo. Here are a couple of examples on how to export results to EndNote.

Web of Science

 

Select relevant results and then ‘Save to EndNote desktop’ or batch export by range (e.g. results 1-500)

ProQuest

 

Select relevant results then click ‘more’ and then ‘RIS (works with EndNote, Citavi, etc.)

Essentially, this will download a file with the metadata for each article including title, authors, abstract, DOI, journal and other relevant information. This can be achieved with pretty much any academic database that lets you batch export results into an EndNote compatible file format like RIS.

Using EndNote to collect PDF files

You can either use an existing or new EndNote Library for the next bit. In EndNote, select ‘File > Import’

 

Browse to the RIS files you downloaded from the database and select them. This will import all the information about the articles into EndNote. Then all you need to do is highlight the references you have important and then select ‘References > Find Full Text > find Full Text…’. Generally speaking, this will only work on campus unless you can authenticate at distance with something like EZproxy (ask your library). In doing this, EndNote will try it’s best to find the PDF file of every article you have. If it finds it, it will download and attach it to your EndNote file.

 

This will give you an EndNote library with all of the papers from your search including their PDF files. Now this might look like a lot of work, but generally speaking, this can take about 15 minutes when you know what you’re doing and that includes loading time. By this point you should have an EndNote library with the papers that are useful or relevant to your current project and it is all ready to import into NVivo.