@BYOD4L ing this week from the other side

Monday note…

“Inspired by a tweet by Emma Gillaspie @egillaspy on day 1 about a photo competition around the 5Cs (check this out at on Twitter using the hashtag #UoSBYOD4L) I plan to capture this BYOD4L week using images but also think about the 5Cs in a different light… ”

Saturday morning

yes… this was the plan at the start of the week but it didn’t come to fruition… unfortunately…

However, the competition made me think about the 5Cs (Nerantzi & Beckingham) in a new light and I started thinking about antonyms of the 5Cs and the 5Cs as a continuum. I am just adding my notes below at this stage and am exploring currently in what way a 5C continuum would be useful as a diagnostic tool perhaps for individuals and learning communities using social media but not exclusively. At work, we will be developing a mobile app which will be valuable for educators, students and many others as a self-development tool and I think one of the applications that I would like to try in the summer, when we hopefully have the first version of the app, is the 5C continuum. More about this at a later stage. Together with the 5C continuum I would also find a better way to represent the 5C at a specific moment in time and through time, if this makes sense. 

This week I experienced the BYOD4L course from the other side. As a little helper to our very first community-led January 2016 iteration with Neil Withnell, Sheila MacNeill and Alex Spiers. Sue Beckingham and I have been leading all three previous iterations with many passionate colleagues from the UK and further afield and while we did enjoy them enormously and helped us really get to know each other and find effective ways to collaborate, we also felt that a change was needed and a shift at the same time to empower the BYOD4L community, refresh the offer with new faces and ideas as well as help others develop new capacities and also share the load a bit as this is an initiative by the community for the community and now with the community. I feel it is not enough to talk and write about learning and working in partnership. Making it happen is the real value for all.

For me this week was fascinating, because it showed that we can re-use OER courses and we can work with other peoples course materials and we can make it a success. I guess it also depends on the materials, how flexible they are. Our approach has been inquiry-based and the course course can be fully personalised and contextualised. I think this might be an important enabling factor. Letting go and loosing control can be scary but also very liberating and I have experienced how empowering this can be when working with others who are committed practitioners. Committed to the course but also the team and the community. It definitely needs to be a team effort. Otherwise it won’t work. Together, we can grow ideas and take initiatives into new and exciting directions. I am very keen to continue exploring this way of working  with others in the open and am excited about what might happen in the future, or what we might create in the future.

Friday evening, our last BYOD4Lchat was an experience in itself and something we didn’t anticipate of happening. Twitter to crash? Alex said it is our fault… I know he is kidding but I am sure it is partly our fault as we were using it too… Experiencing something like this in the middle of a live event were you are not in the same room with others leaves you feeling hopeless. First, you think it is your connection, as I did and blaming my boys who were both on computers…, then you try different things to re-connect and nothing works… you feel stuck. You want to reach out and let everybody know but you can’t, at least you can’t through the same channel. Just imagine the whole internet would suddenly disappear under our feet…

I think we need a plan B for these things and plan C and this should perhaps be communicated at the outset of each event. So what could we have done? My first thoughts would be the following

Plan B: Move the conversation to another social media channel, in our case this could be the BYOD4L community in Google plus. If this fails?

Plan C: Re-arrange after connection has been re-established to minimise frustration. 

Really would love to hear your ideas about the above.

The organisers decided to use the DM feature in Twitter to co-ordinate activities during the BYOD4L week and I think this really made a difference to speed-up communication, troubleshoot in no time, support each other, often instantly, but also acknowledge each others’ contributions and really proof that this is a team effort where the collective comes before the individual. I saw all these things happening this week and it was wonderful and made me smile many times.

I hope everybody enjoyed BYOD4L this time as much as I did and found it useful too. It definitely helped me reflect, plan and act. The week and what happened during this week   seeded new ideas for me, so thank you all! Sheila has written an excellent summary of the week. Please access here.

BYOD4L will be back in the summer as a 24h experience.  The BYOD4L community is open all year round so just jump in to connect, communicate, curate, collaborate and create. The community is  here. For the BYOD4L day, all we need is people who would like to organise it with others. Get it touch if this could be you. We are looking for colleagues from different parts of the world.





participating in open course on open badges

badges for learning

badges for learning

Well, I want to learn more about open badges since we, Cristina and I, are considering introducing them to open TESS and other academic development activities, including the PGCAP. I already have some ideas of how I could use badges for 3 actvities on the LTHE module with our new cohort and the P2PU has 3 mini courses that would fit well with my plans. I think I am going to give it a go, but first I need to find out more about open badges.

While we are already thinking about the design of our own badges, and have a designer as well, not really a surprise, I think I need to do some serious learning around open badges and I found a way to do this.

our inspiration

our inspiration for the design of our badges

I signed up for an open course at P2PU where an Open Badges course is offered. This course is about open badges and I will get my first 2 open badges, I think, if I complete this successfully. Somehow it already sounds better than just completing a course. Do these badges remind us of stickers, or in my case stamps we got in school for work completed well?

Well, I could just read on my own about badges, couldn’t I? Yes, I could but would it be the same or better? I don’t think so… participating in a course about open badges for open badges (this doesn’t sound so good now what I just wrote and makes me wonder if learners would just zoom through a course or activities to get the badge and learning would become less important…), well, for learning and open badges will enable me to experience first hand what it means to learn in a more structured way and get my badges at the end, if I do well enough, to evidence that I completed his course. Do open badges make a difference for open learning? Can they act as motivators in open environments? I am curious to find out.

I started the P2PU course yesterday and noticed that other people are taking it but so far it feels like a lonely journey. I would like to connect with others and hope that this will happen so that we can share experiences and help each other gain a better understanding of these open badges but also learn about how others are thinking to use badges.

Today is a day of reading so that I get a better understanding about open badges. I will do this and am sure, that I will have loads of questions. Hopefully I will be able to ask a few questions and get some answers from peers. I plan to use my personal learning network on Twitter for this purpose as well. We will see how this goes.

Ok, I guess I better do some reading. Will be back here to capture my learning journey on the P2PU course on open badges. Anybody would like to join me? Sign up here 😉

capturing thoughts while reading

capturing thoughts while reading

I have now completed the reading of the resources made available through the P2PU open badges course. The above photo captures the notes I made based on what I felt was important. Some of the texts where more technical and there are others I will go back to. The course suppose to be completed in 6h. Not sure if this is realistic. I think in 6h you would probably be able to zoom through it by skimming all resources and links but meaningful and deeper engagement will, I think require more study time. The good thing is that you can do the tasks one by one. And completing individual tasks makes you feel that you have achieved something and you know that you are gettig closer to completing the course. But it shouldn’t be just about completion. In our courses we focus on the journey, the process of learning. Will badges create more assessment driven learners? The text that stood out for me was the 7 things you need to know about badges.  This provides a comprehensive overview of open badges for students and teachers and I plan to use this for our PGCAP course when introducing badges.

But also the below clip with Doug Belshaw from Mozilla


So, far, I have now completed the tasts up to joining the Google group on open badges. This was a useful discovery and will help me during but also after the completion of this course, to stay in touch with people who are exploring open badges. I noticed that conversations are happening there and questions are answered. So there is peer support out there and I hope to be able to help others too when I have a better understanding of badges and share my experiences linked to these with the group.

Looking forward to the rest of the course. Definitely feeling that I am learning. I love the expressions Badge Backpack and Baking Badges. Is there an open badgemaker available? Just wondering.

I have now completed 2 challenges at http://openbadges.org/en-US/, even before completing this course, and received my very first open badges. The backpack is no longer empty and can be accessed at http://beta.openbadges.org/share/9916d57574c211dd2dbd1becb10fea96

Tried to find a way to find the code of the badges and add to my WordPress portfolio, but I seem to be unable to do so… ;( Help!!! I hope I will work it out somehow. Must go back to the Google group and ask the question there.

There more I read about these open badges, the more opportunities I see, using open badges for tasks on the LTHE module of our PGCAP programme. I identified already 3 very specific opportunities which I am listing below:

open badges via P2PU for

  • creating an eportfolio (this happens at the beginning of this module and the basic functionality is introduced then. Great to discover that there is a badge for the successful completion of this task)
  • editing a wikipedia page (the task is to edit a wikipedia page around a specific learning theory. I then discovered that we could get a badge for doing exactly this)
  • creating an educational game (we play a mixed-reality game and this badge would be an extension to this and exploring application in own practice, ideas and reflections could be captured in the e-portfolio)

BTW, I am definitely spending more than 6h on this open badges course but it is worth it. Discovering so much useful stuff that I am going to trial this semester with my new LTHE cohort. This is all very exciting. Also looking forward to designing our own badges for TESS with Cristina Costa.

Task 4 is next and I will add my reflections and thoughts here when ready, probably tomorrow 😉 Tomorrow arrived, a few days later… unfortunately.

But here I am now. I completed all tasks and am in the process of finalising Task 7 which is actually this account here. I have to say that I have found this course really useful. It enabled me to gain a better understanding of open badges. More importantly, I know now where to go for help. I will keep in touch with badgers on Twitter to continue the conversation.

We are definitely interested in open badges and the more I think about it the more it makes sense to use these in accredited but also non-accredited academic development provision. They could also be linked to CPD Frameworks. I feel that the opportunities are endless. We just need to be careful and craft and clear pedagogical rational. It shouldn’t just be about collecting as many badges as possible or just collecting any badge! The main thing is learning and using badges as a recognition for this. Therefore I think we need strong peer review processes. Not sure yet how these could look like and any ideas are very welcome.

As I am starting the development of our Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL) module of the PGCAP, and this is an open access module, I definitely think that we could make use of badges for non-credit learners and also on other PGCAP modules and the TESS programme as mentioned earlier in this post.

A big thank you to P2PU for this course which gave me so many ideas. We might even run the FDOL module within P2PU. We will see.


I love making things… #cmc11

100% fruit, picked by the whole family

Warning! This is not a polished piece (did I have to say that? Anyway… let’s just start). I always loved making things. Well at least as long as I remember myself and from what others have told me and the photographs I have seen and some of the evidence that still exists today. I love drawing and painting and writing stories and making jewellery and little boats out of old wood and Christmas and Easter decorations and little dolls but also making jam (just made some with blueberries and apples), baking and cooking and knitting scarves (used to knit even jumpers when I was a teenager – weird thing to do for a teenager, but I guess, I was a weird teenager… ) now my eldest son Nassi, who will be 10 tomorrow, has started knitting and he loves it.

Nassi in action

The other day Nassi told me ‘I thought knitting was for grannies but after he started he couldn’t stop and I have seen him knitting in the morning in his bed and in the evening too. I love making curtains and pillow cases and little blankets for my boys and tableclothes and duvet covers etc etc. and I would love to make my own clothes (working on this at the moment!!!)

The list is probably endless and I seem to be constantly in the mood to make something… sometimes(?) I make a mess too. This is part of the fun.  The stuff that I make are things for the house, for myself but also for my family and friends but it doesn’t stop there (could it?) Nobody forces me, nobody makes me make anything. Sometimes, others might think that what I do is not a good idea. But this doesn’t (usually) stop me… (I like the phrase ‘only dead fish swim with the stream’ and use it a lot – too often we see people going with the masses with whatever the majority says/wants – I find that boring!).

What I make helps me communicate and connect with myself, ideas, concepts and people but also with problems and understanding things that are difficult/impossible? to understand. This making habit (is this a bad habit?) is also present in my professional life. I can’t stop myself!!! Flashcards, games, costumes and loads of other aids for teaching are part of my ever growing toolkit. Soon, I will need a room just for all my toys… I used to have an attic to store them… now we don’t.

my dad is a maker too, his purple crop in 2008

Of course, these days not all my creations are low- or no-tech physical creations. Some live in the digital world as well and they definitely take up less room and are not so heavy to carry around and I can share them more easily too. They help me connect with different and more people, ideas and concept and let me and us explore the world around us from different perspectives.

sleeping bag by Ody (7) using one of his old socks

I haven’t mentioned yet the thousands of digital photographs I have taken so far… – another one of my passions.

Some might think/say that it is not good to have a passion… do they talk about obsessions though? Anyway, I always loved taking photographs but before DC (digital cameras), I felt so so very restricted, just 36 photographs to take on one film? What to take? And what not to? More films were an option but I had less control of the quality of the final product. First because I was an amateur photographer (and still am) and didn’t know how to operate my camera properly (who reads and follows instrucions?) so most of the images were for the bin anyway and then there was a cost involved as well. The films were not cheap (well, I guess you could get some in the Poundshop) but waiting for the photographs to be printed was sometimes (only sometimes?) a traumatic experience and one where I felt useless and creativeless (if there is such a word in the English language). Should I give up trying? I was so releaved when technology progressed and became affordable (because this is usually the big issue for the majority of people, and I am one of this part of our society) and I got my first digital camera. A whole new and exciting world opened suddenly in front of my eyes! Wow! I couldn’t stop and I am still an active (hyper-active) photographer. I love the fact that I can take loads and don’t have to worry about it (these days the SD cards can be huge and fit thousands of photographs). I can delete, if I want to, but I can also edit and do all kinds of fancy things which I was not able to do before. The middleman is gone now and I can express creatively even after the photographs have been taken and share them easily with family and friends and connect with the wider community too, thanks to the web and the user-friendly platform and tools. A the web! It is always nice to hear that people like something you have done and find out if they have been useful and in what way.

All these things that I make, give me pleasure, probably in a slightly selfish way, but I also love to give and to share what I make on my own and with others. Sharing gives me the opportunity to make somebody smile (if they like it, of course) and be useful for others. We don’t share stuff to get something in return. Well, I don’t but if somebody acknowledges your work, your contribution this is great and can be motivational too (I found this article on sharing online recently, which might useful reading for some – and I think I should revisit this and reflect on this as well).

Lego cinema by Ody and Nassi

My boys are little (or should I really say big creators? because they are). They love making things in the physical and the digital world. Ody, my youngest took the camcorder the other day and created the clip below. On his own. He was behind and in front of the camera. He thought of the story, special effects, everything on his own. A one man production team (see clip below).

What I am trying to say here, and I am not sure if I am just mumbling… but the above come straight out of my head and are unprocessed thoughts is, that since I started reading David Gauntlett’s book ‘Making is Connecting’ I have all the above in my head (and loads of other stuff that I probably didn’t include) and when I went out this afternoon with my boys and took the book with me to the playground I felt the need to scribble some of my thoughts into the book (I always read with a pencil in my hand, a habit I picked up when I was translating…) and here I am now sharing them on the web, because I want to, because I can and because I would be interested to hear your voice, what you would like to say. This is strange though, I am hoping that there is an audience out there who would have read the above and feel that they would like to add their story too and will do so because they can… humans always wanted to connect wth others. We are social beings, Aristotle said it and many others too. We enjoy being part of a community, we love to be included in what is happening and to co-shape the present and the future. To make things and to make things happen. To be and learn together (of course we need some time for ourselves as well). I am so glad that Frances (Bell) showed me this book because it does confirm to me, what I always thought. We are all makers, creators and networkers too. All the web does is provide a platform and the tools to make it happen on a massive scale. We all can do it! Finally somebody said it and wrote a book about it! I am just on page 60 and am looking forward to what is still to be discovered.

I will probably revisit this post after the sparklers in my head normalise and let me refine and rationalise my thinking a bit more… will this be possible/is this needed? Not sure at the moment… I just wanted to get all this out of my system before I say Goodnight.

Goodnight everybody.

returning, thinking, planning and acting

the sun shines for all of us

the sun shines for all of us

Recently, I spent a week at the Open University completing a short-term SCORE fellowship to explore Open Educational Resources (OER) and had the opportunity to immerse myself into the world and reality of OER. If you are reading this and are interested to join the next cohort, apply. This programme will help you also to connect with like-minded people and explore how you could start using and developing OER, on your own and with others.

I meet individuals from different disciplines and professional areas around the UK and it was a rich and enlightening experience. We discussed OER from different angles, in the macro, meso and micro world; globally, nationally, locally and individually. The presentations were all thought provoking and they definitely made me think more critically about what we mean by OER, why they are so important, where we can find some, how we can make our own. It opened my eyes and my mind even further and encouraged me to think and to act!!!

I am wondering if we sometimes confuse open access, open licensed, open format and open software or even free versions of digital products. The quiz brought this thought into existance ( I was actually thinking that the quiz could be replaced by a PBL activity and I would be very happy to help setting it up). Prof. Andy Lane, the Director of OpenLearn, emphasised that OER give us the freedom to do things and this is indeed a great opportunity. He talked about the freedom to

  • re-use
  • re-work
  • re-mix
  • re-distribute

But, and there is a but, there are 6 variations of Creative Common Licences, which means that we won’t be able to do all of the above for all OER. We need to be careful and mindful when choosing existing OER and also think when creating our own or collaborative OER under which CC licence we will make them available to the wider community how much of our stuff we want to ‘give away’ and to what extend we allow others to adapt or work.

Even just using OER is a big bonus for bridging formal and informal learning and enable lifelong learning too. Informal learning through OER might increase the appetite for learning and lead to formal learning. Also, individuals in formal education might access OER as study and/or class tools. There are a few problems or issues or questions (however you would be happy to call the current situation). Some of them all linked with where OER are stored (different repositories, check JORUM out!) and how they can be found (currently there is no OER search engine but Google is keen on the idea). Also, there is an issue  linked to quality. I, as a tutor I find it really useful to have access to a large number of OER which might not be the final product and might need adaptation before I can use them with my own students. However, students are also searching  on their own for OER to complement their studies. What if the quality is poor and they can’t recognise this and fill their head with in-accuracies etc. How can we prevent this from happening? Or does it not matter? I would be very interested in your views.

I understand that OER, is not just conent or resources it is also or mainly(?) about Open Educational Practice and I feel that this is really important. I think it is about time to move away from silo-education so that we can share resources and expertise freely and openly and all grow. We have the technology today to break through institutional walls and open-up learning beyond boundaries of any kind.

During the week, we had the opportunity to experiment (or play) with Labspace. This Moodle Sandbox has the potential to bring tutors and learners from everywhere together and be used as a platform for open facilitated programmes but also for self-study. That we all have the opportunity to use, re-use and adapt existing modules and use the communication and collaboration tools available within Labspace is excellent. I started creating a unit on peer observations but soon discovered that I didn’t put enough planning into this and stopped. Instead I put some energy into creating a Learning Object using Exe. This was also a bit problematic, unfortunately. I couldn’t do basic things such as adding videos and saving my project. There were probably compatibility issues, which was a shame. However from presentations made by others, I felt that it might be better to use Xerte for my little peer observation project. But maybe I could start with the Xerte Online Toolkit which is a simplified version of Xerte and also includes a template, which will be handy. The OER DIY day was overall useful. It highlighted the difficulties and challenges tutors are phasing and how technology can get in the way and be frustrating too. It all  needs time, patience and probably a portion of stuborness as well or determination… to phrase it more positively ;o). I need to do some extra prep and experiment further using these tools. I have used a number of authoring tools (my selection at diigo) before and I am familiar with basic html coding. So that wasn’t the problem. The plan is to develop a learning object on peer observations to be used for our next PGCAP cohort starting in Sep11. There are some OER resources in Jorum available which I could use and adapt and I have already starting looking into this.

What next? Well, there are a number of things I plan to do in the near future

  1. Complete the OER on peer observation and make it available at Jorum by September 11 the latest
  2. Create a series of videoclips for the core module introducing the weekly theme, this needs to be done from September 11 onwards in collaboration with Neil
  3. Explore opportunities within my role to engage others in the use and creation of OER – speak with our Learning Technologists and PGCAP participants. Re-think assessment: Is there an opportunity for OER?
  4. Open Educational Practice and Open Educational Resources needs to be added as themes for the core module ready for cohort 3 starting in Sep 11.
  5. Continue shaping the open access module in Flexible, Blended and Online Learning and prepare for implementation. The first draft is ready and I am also in discussion with a University in Sweden to collaborate on this.
  6. Revitalise a big OER PBL idea, put a project plan together beyond the rationale that exists already and start looking for funding opportunities. Passionate partners within and beyond the UK have been identified. A Skype meeting will be organised in May to discuss what needs to happen now.

The short-term fellowship provided a good opportunity to focus and explore OER and think about the potential for my practice and my role. Now time has come to act.