Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Interconnectedness and Lifelong Learning #TEDxUoBolton #TEDx

The recording of the TEDx talk I gave at the University of Bolton is now up on the TEDx YouTube channel! Below is the tweet that let me know. The event included 12 presenters so hats off to the team who filmed and edited all of the videos.  

My #TEDx talk was about the potential of interconnectedness and open lifelong learning may be the key to finding ikigai - your purpose, your reason for being - and the key to a happier and longer life.

Below are background slides that could be seen on the big screen at the event. 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

#SocMedHE17 Social media for Learning in Higher Education Conference.

The third Social Media for Learning Conference took place once again at Sheffield Hallam. I was thrilled to have five of my students contribute to the event, their work on SMASH - Social Media for Academic Studies at Hallam.

The morning of the conference was designed as a Build Your Own Conference approach whereby delegates suggested and voted up activities. These ranged from conversations, feedback on research to full hands on workshops. It was a brilliant start to the event. In the afternoon there was a collection of workshops, short papers and poster presentations in parallel sessions. 

I can hand on heart say this is one of my favourite events, bringing together old friends too many of you to mention all by name but you know who you are) and an opportunity to meet new people sharing the same interest of using social media to enhance learning and teaching. It was great to see Jenny and Scott who have been part of the LTHEchat organising team over the last few months as this was the first time we'd met face to face! 


The student founders and new members of SMASH led a session in the morning and used the opportunity to get feedback on their 7 ways to use [social media tool] cards. These were Corran Wood, Jess Paddon, Abby Butler, Callum Rooney and virtually Matty Trueman (who was recovering from appendicitis so couldn't be with us in person) They received some great feedback both in the session and through Twitter. In the new year they will develop these resources further and plan to run workshops with staff and students at Sheffield Hallam to demonstrate the different ways social media can enhance learning and teaching. The resources will be given a Creative Commons licence and then shared through a new blog and Twitter account. 


I attended a great session led by Suzanne Faulkner, which as it happens so did my students. I've been a bit of skeptical about using Snapchat but now encouraged by Jess, I will definitely look into this in the new year!

Lego Serious Play

Together with Suzanne Faulkner we ran a fun workshop using Lego to get participants discussing their online identity. I wish now we'd been able to record this as there were some great discussions, and volunteers who described their models. 

Short paper 1 

Corran Wood and Jess Paddon, two of the four founder members of SMASH led a presentation on how the group started and what they had gained from the experience.

Short paper 2

I co-presented a paper with Simon Horrocks on Social Media and Higher Education Digital Leadership. Whilst our research is work in progress, it gave us an opportunity to seek valuable feedback from the attendees and gauge interest in the work we are doing. Watch this space for how this research develops.


The final session of the day gave me the opportunity to attend Neil Withnell and Emma Gillaspy's excellent workshop 'Cracking the TEF crystal maze – technology edition'. This was a series of activities or challenges that we had to solve in small groups. Each gave us the opportunity to test out different platforms whilst trying to crack the clues. It's certainly inspired me to try something similar with my own students. 

It was a non stop day but a very enjoyable one. As you might imagine there was much to tweet about. So many engaged with the event that were not actually physically present which was great. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

The National Teaching Fellow Award Ceremony #NTFS17 #NTFS2017

The 1st October has to go down as one of my proudest personal moments. I travelled down to London with my husband to attend the National Teaching Fellow Award Ceremony which took place at Church House, Westminster. 

It was wonderful to share this event with Prof Sally Brown, a friend and colleague who has inspired me for many years.  
We enjoyed a wonderful meal and then came the time to collect our awards. Thanks David for capturing this photo!

David Smith and Kim Bower, colleagues from Sheffield Hallam were also receiving NTF awards. This was the photo captured by Graham Holden.  

On stage I was given my official certificate.

It was certainly an evening to remember! My National Teaching Fellowship profile can be found on the Higher Education Academy website 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

The Stemettes #MonsterConfidence Event

I was delighted to be invited by Anne-Marie Imafidon to give one of the keynotes at the Stemettes #MonsterConfidence Conference in Sheffield. The event is aimed at girls interested in STEM and co-run with Monster, a leading job site in the UK. 

Anne-Marie is the CEO of the Stemettes and she can be found on Twitter as @aimafidonAmongst other awards, Anne-Marie was recently announced by Computer Weekly as one of the most influential women in the UK

My keynote focused on the importance of networking and building an online presence. I wanted to encourage the girls attended to learn to use social media in a professional context to connect, communicate, curate, collaborate and create. Drawing on the work of Stepper, I expounded on the value of working out loud and sharing achievements so that others can learn from these experiences. Ultimately I wanted to help them see the value in building networks online through the use of social media. 

It was a fabulous event and I took great pleasure in being involved throughout the day. This included 'speed dating' sessions where the student attendees spoke to myself and others to ask questions and learn about how we had developed our careers. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

From Tsundoku to #PhDshelfie: An ongoing story

Pile of Books

Over the summer I had a number of conversations on Twitter with Sue Watling about books, PhDs, technology enhanced learning and the chasm which we still refer to as the digital divide. Twitter is my go to learning space and has become so as I have built a valued network of educators who also use this space to share their work and that of others. This leads to fascinating discussions. More often it opens my eyes to new concepts. I read a lot of things I may never have come across. I use the dictionary frequently. I realise the more I learn, the more there is to learn. At times it can feel intimidating when I don't understand new things BUT never for long as there is always someone I can go to to ask questions or at the very least be signposted to further reading that makes a topic more understandable. 

This post is in reply to Sue and other scholars who were sharing blog posts about their PhD book shelves and tweeting a link along with the hashtag #PhDshelfie. Sue invited me to contribute knowing I was in the process of starting my PhD journey. Do search for this hashtag as there are many valuable stories to read.

My study

I love books and love to buy second hand ones as well as new. The academic ones are stored in my study. (My girls have grown up and left home now so I have a study all to myself - luxury!). This has a wide bookshelf and two bookcases. They are all full. Having undertaken two Master's degrees and a PgCert in Learning and Teaching in Education, plus a a variety of projects over the years, I've accumulated quite a collection. Now embarking on a PhD, new books are being added, and those already on the shelves are being pulled out and added to a growing pile to delve into. 

I organise my books in 'collections' rather than a Dewey like system by author. These groupings have formed based on my teaching and research interests and include topics such as:
  • technology enhanced learning
  • open learning
  • creative learning 
  • scholarship of learning
  • research methods and study skills
  • communication and media 
  • networking and social network analysis
  • social media in business
  • social media and online presence 
  • social media in higher education

My book shelves are also scattered with mementos and photos of family and friends. One of my newest and most treasured is this hand crafted Twitter bird which my dear friend Chrissi Nerantzi gave me.  

As I start a new project (be this a course or some research) I tend to pull the books off the shelf and create piles. Once the project is finished I find them a place back on the shelf. Below is one of my newer piles of books I'm delving into. These of course compliment a raft of journal papers and blog posts accessed online. My #PhDshelfie is therefore in its infancy. It will evolve the more I read. Not captured will be a dictionary as I explore new words and concepts and try and make sense of them.   


My Summer Twitter links and conversations also led me to a book called Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders. In the book she captures a collection of words and beautifully illustrates these along with an interpretation of their meaning. One particular word that caught my eye in this was the Japenese word Tsundoku. This is described as:
"A book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books"
It made me reflect on the books I buy as their journey to the bookshelf often takes a while. A new purchase may be read straight away, but to be honest this is the exception rather than the rule. I tend to identify a useful book cited by a writer and want to read more in the context of that quote. In the midst of a project the remainder of the book is likely to go unread. This book and others (both bought and borrowed) will become an ever growing pile. 

However from my 'tsundoku' collections (as there may be many) I can already see scope for future #PhDshelfie posts as I gather books to address different aspects of my PhD experience and the research I intend to undertake. It will be interesting to document how this evolves. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The day I was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship #NTFS2017 #NTFS17

31st August was the day many of us have been waiting for. The day the 55 successful National Teaching Fellows would be announced. I'm delighted to say that I was one of them.

I have had so many wonderful messages of congratulations on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Too many to share them all here, but you know who you are and I want you to know how grateful I am. I've shared a few further down and explain why. 

The press release from my university 'Hallam academics recognised for teaching excellence' includes my inspirational colleagues Dr David Smith and Dr Kim Bower. There are 53 others recognised and the full list can be found on the Higher Education Academy website. 

David Smith, along with our colleagues David Eddy and Julie Gillin and myself (the four musketeers) have inspired each other over the years and our mutual encouragement has seen us take innovative approaches to teaching and learning. I thank you for all of our shared experiences. 

I'd like to thank my mentors Stella Jones-Devitt, Juliette Hinrichsen, Mike Bramhall and Richard Hill who over the years have helped me to realise my own potential and to believe that I can achieve things once thought out of my reach. Also Prof Peter Hartley with whom I share a deep interest in research on interpersonal communication. He constantly helps me to expand my thinking and challenges my ideas and new approaches. Huge thanks also must go to Professor Sally Brown and Professor Phil Race who not only believed in me but helped me believe in myself. 

A small selection of the valued tweets I received:

Professor Sally Brown

I'll be honest I had to look 'doyenne' up. Having the respect of Sally Brown means the world. I have learned so much from her over the years and know I will continue to do so. 
Eric Stoller
Eric has been such an inspiring friend over the years. We connected back in 2010 when he was living in the US. I'd come across his blog and through Twitter continue to learn from him. He knows more about social media than most of us put together. His posts encouraged me to implement innovative approaches in my teaching and staff development activities. I finally got to meet him in 2016 when he was keynote for our Social Media for Learning Conference at Sheffield Hallam University. If you are looking for a keynote speaker this is your man!

Chrissi Nerantzi

Chrissi and I clicked instantly and we have shared multiple projects, each contributing different perspectives. I have learned so much working with her.  

And now I have to wait until November 1st to officially receive my award in London and have the opportunity to meet the other 54 recipients. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Celebrating innovative scholarship through social media #ESLTIS17

In July I presented at the Enhancing Student Learning Through Innovative Scholarship Conference which was hosted by the University of Sheffield and organised by Dr Sam Nolan and team. 


The focus of my paper considers the increasing relevance of digital and social scholarship, and why this should be encouraged. Teaching focused academics who practice the scholarship of teaching, share reflective practice in order to enhance the teaching and learning of others. Traditionally this may be shared through publications and conference presentations. However, digital technology and social media has the potential to extend the reach of these outputs enabling the dissemination of an individual's work to reach a much wider audience. 

Open reflective practice through social media allows scholars to make their work more visible, findable and easily shared. Whilst the ripple effect may be far reaching, in order to enhance learning it is important to also provide forums for discussion and question asking, inquiry and investigation, which are subjected to critical evaluation. Engagement in this scholarly process can encourage innovation and changes in practice that span different disciplines and geographical locations. 

The very nature of social media as an open space also serves to celebrate teaching excellence – both the scholarship and practice – in a variety of formats.

Digital Scholarship

Drawing upon Smith Rumsey's work I shared this quote to define digital scholarship and gave examples of esteemed colleagues and Digital Scholars Catherine Cronin and Laura Pasquini. Both utilise a variety of social media to share their work openly. For example through blogging, Twitter, SlideShare, YouTube, Google+, and ResearchGate. 

We are seeing a shift away from disseminating scholarly work via mass 'all staff' emails to open blogging where it can be tagged and searched by topic. A ripple effect ensues as it can easily be shared through automated dissemination via Twitter and other social media channels, and also by those who read the posts. 

From my own personal perspective I value the opportunity to learn from other academics. Those that share their scholarly activity and the work of others though social media help me find this work. Often serendipity comes to lay and I come across fascinating work that I would have not found otherwise, simply because I wouldn't have been looking for it. I've extended my informal learning through digital scholars from a wide range of disciplines in this way. In turn I share my own work through social media and hope this is helpful to others. I give my work a Creative Commons licence so that other educators can use it as they wish to. 

Celebrating innovative scholarship through social media #ESLTIS17 from Sue Beckingham


To raise the profile of teaching only academics in the research intensive climate, it is vital to shine a spotlight on the innovative learning and teaching they undertake. The best way to achieve this is through the promotion of the innovative scholarship of learning and teaching being driven by this subset of the academic community. This third meeting of a national teaching fellow network is therefore a forum to share innovative scholarship across disciplinary boundaries and to develop a national voice for teaching focussed academics.

The programme of abstracts can be found here.

Dr Luisa Wakeling has written a great post about the conference

The associated journal is Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (PESTLHE)