Saturday, 18 January 2014

An open magical box: BYOD for Learning #BYOD4L

Back in November at the Staff and Educational Development Association Conference I caught up with Chrissi Nerantzi. Having not seen her for some time we had plenty to catch up on despite us having regular interactions on line mostly though Twitter but also Skype. 

Last year I contributed a webinar presentation on collaborative learning and communities to Chrissi's online Flexible Distance and Online course. We began  to talk about the possibility of developing some of Chrissi's very creative ideas into a new learning opportunity. 

An idea...

Our conversations continued in earnest as we sat waiting for our trains following the conference. What could an open online course look like if we focussed on bringing your own devices for learning - mobile smart devices? We wanted to align this to work of the Media Enhanced learning SIG (MELSIG). How could we help others learn about new ways to interact using the very devices they carry out with them every day? 

By the very next day we had taken our initial ideas and began building what was going to become the Bring Your Own Devices for Learning open online course (BYOD4L for short). Using Google Drive we sketched out thoughts, communicated via Twitter DMs and started to create a space on Wordpress as a platform where we could share this new opportunity for open learning. 

A magical open box

The idea was simple in nature. Create a space where anyone (teachers and students) could use their smart devices for learning as an individual or within a group. A space where everyone can learn together; reflect upon what they have learnt; and as a community share they ideas. Chrissi refers to the concept as a magical open box - a space from which anyone can take out but also contribute to.

To complement the course site (where we have used Wordpress) we have also now set up a Google+ community and a Facebook group. To embrace a fully open and inclusive approach the course does not require registration.

BYOD for learning focusses on five topics as a starting point. We welcome other ideas and hope these will emerge in the conversations that will take place. 


  1. Connecting
  2. Communicating
  3. Curating
  4. Collaborating
  5. Curating 

Finding out more

So how will we let people know about this new learning opportunity? Twitter has been our main communication tool and we have adopted #BYOD4L as the course hashtag. By searching for this hashtag you will see all the Tweets we make. You may also want to follow MELSIG on Twitter too. You can find out more about the volunteer facilitators who will be helping to make this learning experience possible. 

Using Explee (cloud-based presentation software that allows you to create animated videos) I created a short animation which you can see below. 

The course in its first iteration will run for 5 days between 27-31 January. I do hope you will join us.


  1. Hi Sue,

    Thank you for embracing my crazy ideas. It has been a real pleasure to develop the idea into a concept with you but also work together on the development.

    What about our badges? I am adding the link here for anybody who is interested ;)

    Looking forward now to how it will work and what we will learn from this experiment. Very exciting and excited.

    Thanks again for being such a great collaborator!
    Chrissi @chrissinerantzi

  2. Will be writing much more over the coming weeks including about badges and the fantastic work David Hopkins has done to make these happen!