How to use Scribd to publish your own documents online: A free, downloadable, step-by-step guide

September 2, 2013

With a new school year about to start, a great online tool for teachers and students to know about is Scribd. This online service lets you publish all kinds of documents, including:

  • Resources (like the guide I am sharing with you in this post)
  • Slide presentations
  • Digitally created books
  • Basically any document you can save in Word or .pdf format.

Here’s a preview, step-by-step, “how to” guide for you:

View this document on Scribd

To download a free copy, click on the download icon next to the word “Scribd” at the bottom of the frame. (It looks like an arrow pointing downwards.)

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


De-grouping to be a more effective leader

August 2, 2013

LinkedIn logoYou are probably familiar with the term “re-grouping”. It means taking a breath and a step back from a situation in order to re-assess the current state of it.

Lately, I have been “de-grouping”, mostly on LinkedIn. For a number of years, I have been a member of the maximum number of groups allowed, which is 50. I signed up for groups related to topics I was interested in professionally including leadership, literacy, languages, marketing, education and other topics. I tried to read discussion posts and contribute. I thought it was a good way to keep my pulse on sectors and industries that I felt were important to my career.

What I found was quite the opposite. Instead of staying on top of news and trends, I was inundated with messages, many of which did not help me learn, grow or provide many insights.

On the flip side, I was also unable to contribute much of value to many of the discussions.

I have pared down my membership to 10 LinkedIn groups. Here are the three criteria I used to decide which groups to stay in:

  1.  I personally know some or all of the members. I’ve seen the whites of their eyes and I can easily remember their smile.
  2. I learn something from the discussions.
  3. I can contribute something of value to the discussions from time to time.

For me, cutting back on the number of groups I am a member of on LinkedIn has helped free up time and energy for other activities such as tending to my clients, teaching students and preparing upcoming presentations and workshops for the fall. All in all, being more selective about how I spend my time and energy online has helped me to cultivate my professional and leadership skills overall. I’m still online… just more selectively than ever before.

I have increased energy as I am using laser-focus to determine which activities bring value to my profession and where I can also make a meaningful contribution.

Related post: How to delete LinkedIn contacts who spam you (and why you should) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1CO

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


How I finally cleaned up my Inbox — and how you can, too

July 16, 2013

Sarah Elaine Eaton, speaker, presenter, keynote, technology, social media, Calgary, Canada, educator, education, professional developmentI just deleted 5000 messages from my e-mail box without reading any of them. I admit it: I am an e-mail hoarder. I save all kinds of messages that I don’t need to.

This year, my business has grown and I find myself busier than ever before. My messy inbox was killing my productivity and adding to my stress levels. I have missed important messages from clients and colleagues.

So, I went to war with my Inbox. Over the past 24 hours I have been relentlessly and ruthlessly deleting unnecessary e-mails. Here are some of the messages I have deleted:

  • Newsletters
  • Event invitations
  • Thank you notes
  • Updates from friends, colleagues and organizations that I support
  • News alerts
  • Social media messages (e.g. “You have a new Twitter follower!)
  • Meeting confirmations for events that have passed
  • Photos

In addition to deleting unnecessary messages, I filed another 3000 or so. Now every message that I need to keep has been neatly filed and organized into a folder.

How long did all this take? Less time than you might think. Once I put my mind to it, I was focused and diligent. The entire process took less than two days.

The trick is not to open every single e-mail and read though it. I looked at the subject line and made an instantaneous decision: Delete or File.

I have been an e-mail user since the late 1980s — the dawn of e-mail. I have never been able to figure out how to keep my Inbox clean. It has taken me about 25 years to figure out that most messages can be deleted or filed.

It feels great to see, for the first time ever, an Inbox that is manageable.

As I get busier and my business grows, I can not afford to miss messages or have the stress of cyber clutter. For me, cleaning out my inbox has been an important step in developing personal leadership and self-management skills.

Is it your turn to clean out your inbox?

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


An open letter to graduate students seeking “information” and help

June 3, 2013

If you haven’t read Carl Zimmer’s “Open letter to science students and science teachers” on the National Geographic blog, drop everything and go read it right now. It is as fascinating as it is infuriating.

In it, Zimmer describes a phenomenon in which he receives multiple requests a week from science students asking him to do their homework for them.

As I read Zimmer’s post, I thought to myself, “I get the exact same kinds of e-mails!” Only mine are related to my field of study, principally education and language learning. The requests often come from people who have read an article or a book I have written.

Unlike Zimmer, the people who write to me are not junior high school or high school students, but rather they are Master’s or Ph.D. students essentially asking me to do their research for them.

It is one thing to write to a scholar to request a copy of an article that he or she has written, or to ask where you can get your hands on such an article. It is quite another to write to someone and say, “This is my research topic. Could you tell me what theoretical framework I should use and maybe write a few lines of my first chapter to get me started?”

I answered the first few dozen e-mails that I received asking for “information”. Then I thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing?” Learning to do research is part of being a graduate student. A big part.

From then on I developed a standard reply that goes something like this:

Dear ___________:

Thank you for your e-mail requesting information on __________________. Your research topic sounds interesting and engaging. I would be happy to help you delve further into your research topic and guide you as you learn more about the finer points of your topic. To get the process rolling, what you need to do is have your research supervisor contact me in writing with a formal invitation to become a member of your thesis committee as an external advisor. That way, I will be able to engage more fully with you, your supervisor and the other scholars who have committed to help you throughout your journey as a graduate student. This is an exciting time for you and I look forward to receiving the formal invitation from your university.

I never hear from them again.

What is happening with our education system (at all levels) where students entitled to ask others to do their work for them?

Zimmer hits the nail on the head… The practice is being touted by other adults (e.g. teachers and parents) as being a “communicative” activity.

Learning how to research and do homework is just as important as learning what the information is– if not more so.

I learned to research for myself. It’s hard work to learn those skills. And it’s something you can only learn by doing. It’s kind of like driving a car… If you only ever learn how to ask others to do it for you, you’ll never really learn the basics, the finer points and the tricks along the way.

It’s your bus. Learn to drive it.

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Participatory evaluation: 12 useful online resources

May 29, 2013

My students this semester have been interested in participatory evaluation. This sub-set of evaluation isn’t a major topic in our course this semester, but because so many of them are interested, I have pulled together a bit of a reading list for them on the topic so those who are interested can explore it further.

Here’s a list of 12 online articles, e-books and other resources on participatory evaluation:

Bragin, M. (2005). The community participatory evaluation tool for psychosocial programs: A guide to implementation. Intervention Journal, 3(1), 3-24. Retrieved from http://www.interventionjournal.com/downloads/31pdf/03_24%20bragin%20.pdf

Campilan, D. (2000). Participatory evaluation of participatory research. Paper presented at the Forum on Evaluation of International Cooperation Projects: Centering on Development of Human Resources in the Field of Agriculture. Retrieved from http://ir.nul.nagoya-u.ac.jp/jspui/bitstream/2237/8890/1/39-56.pdf

Canadian International Development Agency. (2001). How to perform evaluations: Participatory evaluations. Performance Review Branch Guides, (3). Retrieved from http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/INET/IMAGES.NSF/vLUImages/Performancereview4/$file/participatory_Evl.pdf

Checkoway, B., & Richards-Schuster, K.  Facilitator’s guide for participatory evaluation with young people. Available from http://ssw.umich.edu/public/currentprojects/youthAndCommunity/pubs/guidebook.pdf

Checkoway, B., & Richards-Schuster, K. (n.d.). Participatory evaluation with young people. Available from http://ssw.umich.edu/public/currentprojects/youthAndCommunity/pubs/youthbook.pdf

Cousins, J. B., & Earl, L. M. (1995). Participatory evaluation: Enhancing evaluation use and organizational learning capacity. The Evaluation Exchange: A Periodical on Emerging Strategies in Evaluation, 1(3-4). Retrieved from http://www.hfrp.org/evaluation/the-evaluation-exchange/issue-archive/participatory-evaluation/participatory-evaluation-enhancing-evaluation-use-and-organizational-learning-capacity

Guijt, I., & Gaventa, J. (1998). Participatory monitoring and evaluation: Learning from change. IDS Policy Briefing, (12). Retrieved from http://www.ids.ac.uk/files/dmfile/PB12.pdf

Lefevre, P., Kolsteren, P., De Wael, M.-P., Byekwaso, F., & Beghin, I. (2000). Comprehensive participatory planning and evaluation. Available from http://www.ifad.org/pub/bsf/cppe/cppe.pdf

Pant, M.  (n.d.) Participatory evaluation (PE). Available from http://www.unesco.org/education/aladin/paldin/pdf/course01/unit_09.pdf

Pastor, J., & Roberts, R., A. (1995). Participatory evaluation research as a catalyst for reform: An example from an urban middle school. The Evaluation Exchange: A Periodical on Emerging Strategies in Evaluation, 1(3-4). Retrieved from http://www.hfrp.org/evaluation/the-evaluation-exchange/issue-archive/participatory-evaluation/participatory-evaluation-research-as-catalyst-for-reform-an-example-from-an-urban-middle-school

Upshur, C. C., Barretto-Cortez, E., & Gaston Institute, M. (1995). What is participatory evaluation (PE)? What are its roots? The Evaluation Exchange: A Periodical on Emerging Strategies in Evaluation, 1(3-4). Retrieved from http://www.hfrp.org/evaluation/the-evaluation-exchange/issue-archive/participatory-evaluation/what-is-participatory-evaluation-pe-what-are-its-roots

Zukoski, A., & Luluquisen, M. (2002). Participatory evaluation: What is it? Why do it? What are the challenges. Community -Based Public Health Policy and Practice, (5). Retrieved from http://depts.washington.edu/ccph/pdf_files/Evaluation.pdf

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


21st Century Leadership: How Collaboration is Transforming Business Leadership (Webinar)

May 27, 2013

Chinook learning LogoI’m gearing up for a brand new webinar this week that will be offered through Chinook Learning Services.

Although the core principles of leadership are timeless, the skills needed in today’s fast-paced world are different than in decades past. This webinar looks at what it means to be a leader in the 21st century. Reconsider traditional paradigms of leadership and learn why they don’t work today. Find out why collaboration is the hot new trend in leadership and how to use collaboration to mobilize others to take responsibility and take action.

Participant Outcomes

  • Understand emerging trends in 21st century leadership.
  • Understand how collaboration is an effective motivator.
  • Learn key strategies for integrating collaboration into your leadership practice.

Course Content

  1. Trends in 21st century leadership.
  2. Why traditional models of leadership are becoming ineffective.
  3. The role of collaboration in leadership.
  4. Key strategies for collaborative leadership practice.

Find out more about the webinar here.

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Share or Tweet this: 21st Century Leadership: How Collaboration is Transforming Business Leadership (Webinar) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1C5

If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


3 Key Elements of Self-Directed Learning

May 23, 2013

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Collaborating for Learning Conference (May 15 & 16, 2013) at the University of Calgary.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Gary Poole, from the University of British Columbia, gave a talk on a self-directed learning program at UBC.

Dr. Poole highlighted three key elements of self-directed learning that differentiate it from traditional learning:

  1. The learner identifies the goals of their project and their learning process.
  2. The learner designs the means for attaining those goals.
  3. The learner defines the criteria to determine if the goals were met.

In order for learning to be truly self-directed, teachers and advisors must surrender the need to control the learning process, program design and even the assessment. Faculty and program coordinators become guides, helping students find their way if they get lost, helping them to cultivate self-managment and self-monitoring skills and — at all costs — resisting the urge to prescribe how learning should happen.

Self-directed learning teaches students to take control of their own path and then take full responsiblity for their own success or failure, being reflective and aware every step of the way.

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If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


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