Thursday, 30 January 2014

Day 4: BYOD for Learning and Collaborating #BYOD4L

Today's topic for BYOD4L is collaborating. What does this mean to me? Well it is through collaborating with Chrissi Nerantzi that we got the idea off the ground. It is through collaborating and pooling of expertise and ideas with our amazing facilitators that we been able to run this open online course.


To get a job done, it very often is done more quickly and more effectively if we work together as a team. "Two heads are better than one" my Mum frequently said when trying to solve a problem. Now whilst this confused me as a young child with visions of having to grow another head, I do of course now see the value of pooling ideas and working together.

How have my approaches changed?

Collaborating in relation to my work or learning often meant meeting up with another person or group. We discussed ideas and then shared out the tasks we needed each to do. Further meetings were required to share progress, interspersed with emails and links to new iterations of word documents as well as questions that sometimes lost context if not connected to a 'reply all' email trail.

In recent years however I have been introduced to new ways of approaching such tasks. A good example would be when I was invited to collaborate with some colleagues I had met at a conference in the US to work on a proposal to present the following year at the same event. I live in the UK and the individuals involved were scattered across the United States 100s of miles apart. Face to face meetings were therefore not one of our options. This is when I was re-introduced to Google Docs and Google Hangouts had just been released. We planned and wrote our proposal using these two tools. What this meant was that we had one live document we could all contribute to and through the comments box raise questions. Due to the time differences there were often times we worked asynchronously but other time slots we could meet up online. Using Google Hangouts meant we could talk to each other AND work on the document at the same time. I have to say it was the most fun I have ever has writing a proposal!

Chrissi and I have also used these tools to plan and develop the BYOD4L course. Communicating with our team of facilitators we also introduced a Facebook Group; an informal space we could use to chat and get to know each other.

What I have found is that Twitter and LinkedIn have provided a forum for initial ideas and discussions. Collaborations have emerged because a seed of an idea has been shared and developed. Further exploration of such idea are often taken further now by a Skype of Hangout in preference to email. Online conversations using these tools helps to replicate the value we get when meeting face to face. They are in my experience quicker and more focussed. No longer are we tied to a PC and complex conferencing tools; we can use our mobile devices to have these conversations. 

I'd love to hear how you collaborate online. Below are a collection of tools that can be used for collaborating. Is there anything you would add?

My Edshelf collection of tools for COLLABORATING

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