a new hashtag is born #LTHEevent

Recently, I was asked to identify Learning and Teaching conferences that are happening, which might be useful for colleagues to attend and present and we could share regularly with our colleagues at MMU.

There is so so much happening and it is hard to decide which ones to include in the small selection we have added to our website and through our monthly newsletter. We added a section to the website which links to regular events that are happening throughout the year as well as a link to a really useful website which is linked to a database on conferences worldwide not exclusively linked to learning and teaching. To access this page, please click here.

Then the idea popped into my head that in order to keep the order fresh and versatile, it would be great if we could find a way to curate such events more widely so that it doesn’t become a task that one or a few people do but the wider community.


image source here


We can use a hashtag and invite colleagues to share their events and conferences with all of us. I tweeted this yesterday and hope that people will find this useful so that we can share exciting events that are happening throughout the year.

The proposed hashtag is #LTHEevent

Please use this if you think, this is a good idea, to collaboratively curate LTHE events that will be useful for others. Thank you😉


#101creativeideas No 8 >>> Open your heart

Open your heart

CC BY-NC 4.0

Use red paper (A4 format works well) and cut out hearts.

You will be able to use these for a wide range of learning and teaching activities, such as sharing something individuals feel passionate about linked to a specific topic or a profession, a place, a concept, and idea. It also works great when introducing reflection. The opportunities are  endless.  Use one or a few questions if needed to scaffold what you would like others to do.

Make the hearts in advance. Share them closed and ask individuals to open their heart. These words have a double meaning😉. At the end of the task, ask individuals to swap their hearts or create a hearts wall in the classroom. Think of an appropriate discussion point in pairs, small groups or the whole class so that you can share these.


Open your heart😉

Tech extension: You can use a drawing app like Sketches on a smart device. At the end of the activity the hearts can be shared via a VLE, a collaborative board like Lino or even Twitter using a special hashtag.


Submit your idea to #101creativeideas today!!!

#101creative ideas No7 A ball of wool?

A ball of wool?

CC BY-NC 4.0

Use a ball of wool to enable everybody in a group to share their idea, question or answer linked to a specific topic. Stand or sit around a circle and keep one end of the ball of wool and through it to somebody in the group. They will respond to your question/share their idea/ask a question depending on the purpose of the activity. Each person responds, keeps an end of the wool and throws it to somebody else until everybody has participated at least once and the ball of wool is returned to you.

What have you created? 


Give it a go! Image source

Tech extension: You could use a specific activity hashtag on Twitter  or Slack to create a set of responses from a whole group synchronously or asynchronously. While you might think that the result might not look like anything of the above, could potentially generate many responses from your students. You could use Storify to bring all the responses together and keep so that it can be used to reflect on the task individually and collectively. If you think the visual net effect you could consider using Martin Hawskey’s TAGSexplorer link



Submit your idea to #101creativeideas today!!!

#DAPP162 session 4 >>> 1+1=20

Yesterday, was our last session.

I was full of excitement and had prepared a double surprise. I couldn’t wait and despite the rain, we went ahead. Dr Nikos Fachantidis from the University of Macedonia (Greece) joined us who is a valuable collaborator on the #creativeHE course with his students and it was a great opportunity to share some of the work we do and enable him to get a flavour of some of the work we do with our academics.

I based the ‘session’ on a game I have played before. It is a mix of PBL and game-based learning. I have played it many times. Each time it is a unique experience and it always seems to be valuable for those participating. This time there was no cash for getting an artefact/object/resource that could help turning something tricky into something exciting and make learning memorable and stick.


in action… image source

It was very interesting that this created an additional challenge, which was however overcome through collaboration and resourcefulness that did develop through the conversations and explorations, it seems. Colleagues from different disciplines worked together and helped creatively problem-solve a teaching situation that didn’t work well. I was amazed at the ideas and the result and it was definitely time well spent outside the classroom that will lead to specific changes to practice. There is really something about changing environment and getting outside! I am really looking forward to find out how the ideas will continue to grow and how they are implemented in the classroom. 


findings… image source

I would like to share two things I learnt today.  

  • The game works with really large, medium, smaller and really small groups, which is good to know. Adjustments have, of course, to be made and were made. My key question, is how can we make such experiences buzz-full regardless group size?
  • Examples don’t always work. They seem to be channeling thinking… and leading… and directing… we need to find more sophisticated ways when using them. I need to think about this a bit more. (Often) It is not what you do it, but how and why…

Only one out of 20 #DAPP162 students came to this class. How would you feel?


Thank you Niko for joining in. Image source

This was our last session today. 

Missing you all already. 

#DAPP162 session 3 >>> planning for learning

A session around planning for learning and learning theories…

The plan today was to model self-directed learning. In my work process and modelling is perhaps more important that product… does this make sense? After sharing the outcomes for the session and reminding colleagues about the assessment for the unit, I deleted the presentation.

Yes, I deleted the presentation in front of my colleagues eyes and asked the group to design the main part of the session… I did help a tiny bit by providing a series of resources as well as suggesting a circuit training approach… perhaps I helped too much?

What follows are my thoughts as it was happening… using a sort of line poem approach… inspired by Dr Sam Illingworth and a Greenhouse session around using poetry in teaching.




The right time?






Was this right?






Going somewhere?



Can this work?





Very confused/

Coming together












Coming together





Going somewhere

But where?




Doing it

Doing it

All coming together

Almost done


Almost no more time

No more time




Did it work?

For some?



drawing the poem… using Doodlefan

Some pictures follow or the above story in pictures


designing for learning and learning through designing (image source)


Taking learning outside the classroom… follow me… (image source)


Threshold concepts in action (image source)


How you felt and what you thought of this process… (image source)

Next week is our last session and I am taking you all to Manchester City Centre. I can’t wait! 

#101creativeideas No 6 Come on, get a First-teaching-aid box

Come on, get a first-teaching-aid box

CC BY-NC 4.0

Yes, a first-aid box for teaching. A box for the most essential bits and pieces you usually take with you into a session. Lunch boxes are great for this, inexpensive, colourful and stand out. So you won’t loose it🙂

Keeping little essentials in one place, just like a first-aid box, will help you get ready quicker for a session. You won’t have to worry that something is missing. Of course you will need to remember to put the items back into the box after use and stock up if there are items you can not re-use.

Everybody’s box will be unique but you might consider placing sticky notes, playing cards, blue tag, a bell, an egg timer, your clicker, markers into this as a start. 

What will be in your first teaching-aid box?

Tech extension: Consider using pinterest as a digital first-teaching-aid box. I know it is not the same but you can use this as an extension to add all the digital gadgets you use regularly. I haven’t got such a box yet, but think that it will be useful and create one soon.


What can you see?

I am not sure when I started using a lunchbox as a first-teaching-aid box… I suspect it was when my boys were little and they needed one. How could I resists to find a use of a lunchbox for teaching with such a versatile and colourful offer.


Submit your idea to #101creativeideas today!!!

#DAPP162 session 2 > The HE landscape

This was an high impact session, it definitely felt like it. Was it because of the meat tenderiser? … keep reading… Was I more organised and managed time better? Did, I learn a little something from last time? I suspect that it was a combination that made this cocktail work.

 As I told everybody in the first session that they don’t have to come to any of the sessions, it was wonderful that everybody actually did return this week. Voluntarily. Finding out from my colleagues what they got from the first session was important for me so I asked everybody to reflect on it and share it via the value jar. Not sure everybody did reply as we were more in class…

  • “creative examples of engagement”
  • An idea of peer observation and its advantages. I appreciated the effort/planning you put into your session”
  • “Observation ideas, how to collaborate with colleagues”
  • “Speed dating experience”
  • “The value of observing even above being observed”
  • “Getting student to go through Moodle page wa sbettern than tutor going through it”
  • “Structure of the unit and greater understanding of reflection”
  • “Good idea of asking one student to show the rest of the class the Moodle content”
  • “Observation is  common practice in HE to improve teaching and learning through reflection”
  • “Inspiration. Way we teach. Care about teaching”

I decided from next time to capture the responses on #101creativeideas cards as these could then also be submitted to the project.

This second session was about the HE landscape. A taster of it in the classroom and a main course as we “eat” it everyday. It would have been possible to purely report on all the changes that happened in the 50 or 60 years, but I didn’t. My colleague Stephen had prepared some flashcards inspired from John Lea’s book, which I decided to use in a group activity to spark some conversation about some of these changes in the UK.


in action… image source

The activity worked well and while it was all text-based it did trigger interesting conversations. Perhaps we could create timelines linked to our own academic journeys as students and staff. Would this have been more useful? It could have been done on paper or digitally as well? I felt that something was missing from this activity… an opportunity to contextualise and synthesise more. Further ideas are emerging which I will put together and adjust for next time.  


Just what we needed… image source

Ok, some of you might think, what did she do with the meat tenderiser, I mentioned at the beginning (see picture below). The idea was to run a debate in class. I have done it in the past around learning theories and it did work and generated a thinking classroom. 

Now my problem was that we didn’t have weeks or even days to prepare for this (as I didn’t warn anybody in advance!!!) and I wasn’t sure if it would work. Time was I think an issue… and not everybody understood how the TEF vs Open Education really could be a debate in the short preparation time we had. I witnessed a really well managed and civilised debate… maybe a little bit too civilised? 


Can you see the (wooden) meat tenderiser? How as it used? image source

I hope the debate triggered some thinking and generated the need to read more about both arguments that will help colleagues formulate their own position and better understand how the current big picture actually translates into their own professional context. Next time, I really should place colleagues in groups at the end of the previous session so that they would have sufficient time to prepare their case and co-ordinate related online and offline activities in preparation for the debate. How would it have worked then? 

Session 3 will again be different. I have plans… and also thinking of session 4 already.   

See you on the 9th of November, in the purple room