Saturday 19 July 2014

Day 5 #BYOD4L Creating by @suebecks

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Day 5 and the final Tweet Chat is going to be led by Chrissi and myself on creating. This has to be my favorite topic and it fills me with joy at this stage of BYOD4L when our learners and facilitators are sharing so many creative ways of learning and teaching. From ideas in the classroom to fun activities that can provide great activities for inductions or icebreakers in workshops.

Final f2f meet-up at Sheffield Hallam Uni

A small group of us met (myself, Andrew Middleton, Julie Gillin and Ian Glover) and during the hour we talked about feedback. First creating a mind map of sort using the whiteboard, we discussed feedback quite broadly and then focused in on the role of smart devices, apps and social media could now enhance this process. Andrew Middleton then captured our summaries using his iPad and posted the video on YouTube. 

Two things came from this: 

  1. Rather than just talk about the topic we created a visual map each with a pen in hand. We didn't worry about colours and shapes of boxes, but did refer to this and the digital tools like Mindmeister mindmapping which make it easy to collaboratively work on a mind map and move elements around. For today we used a paper tissue and re-wrote!
  2. We captured a summary (un-rehearsed) of the key points we had discussed. This took under 4 minutes and is now saved to listen back to.

The aspect I talked to was tutorial feedback. The opportunity for students to capture the feedback they are being given can now be done in many ways using the very devices they carry with them every day - their mobile phones. 

Examples might include:

  • recording an audio or video file of the conversation
  • making bullet notes on paper or the whiteboard and taking a photo
  • creating a mind map using an app, paper or whiteboard (plus photo) 

What is important is giving the students the choice to capture the feedback in a way that is meaningful and useful to them and encouraging them to do this. As educators we should help our students to utilise technology to enhance their learning and guide them towards ways they can do this.  


Sam Illingworth planted the seed in our evening Tweet Chat, Ian Guest set up a Google Doc and before we knew it a group of us had written a poem, each contributing a verse each! How did this happen? I think we simply responded to a challenge and knew we had a small time frame to complete this. It was fun and creativity won the day.

In the digital jungle

Reaching out into the chaotic, swirling abyss
Feeling that e-learning can be so hit and miss
I want to avoid device apathy and neglect
But what does it mean to really connect?

So onwards we go
But where, do we know?
Wouldn’t it be great?
If we all started to communicate

Curating a task, can be quite unfamiliar,
belonging in museums, art galleries and similar. 
With mobile devices we curate a different way 
Sharing resources with scoop it and Mendeley 

Five brief days, so short and sweet 
In Twitter and Google we gathered to meet 
Inspired to explore, discuss and create
Minds now expanded; an enlightened state 

Knowledge isn’t just facts 
Or historical acts 
Its cerebral energy we state 
When we start to create 

But this isn’t the end! 
We now each have a valuable PLN to tend 
Our #BYOD4L community will continue to grow 
Help us reach out to let others know

1 Sam Illingworth
2 Neil Withnell
3 Ian Guest
4 Peter Reed
5 Carol Haigh
6 Sue Beckingham

GCU Games On

A mini collaboration with Sheila MacNeill gave us the opportunity to take part in a creative challenge alongside a course she was running. Sheila and team from Glasgow Caledonian University have taken their first steps into the world of open online education this week with the launch of GCU Games On - a three-week, open online event to celebrate the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. 
I was thrilled to see our community embrace this with Hayley Atkinson getting my gold medal; Julie Gillin and Cheryl Dunleavy getting silver and all of the other creatives a bronze medal. You can view some of the shared photos below!

The Tweet Chat
The final chat #BYOD4Lchat - well at least for this iteration. Plans are already in the making to run BYOD4L again and invite other institutions to take part. But back to the Tweet Chat. We broke all the conventions of the previous structures chats. We asked the community to go create something that visualised what they would take away from BYOD4L. We were not disappointed! So many wonderful examples were posted on Twitter.  
We then moved on to Socrates and a Question Shower led by Chrissi. For the final 10 minutes  we put out the challenge to create an activity we could do together and the community rose to the challenge! It was fun, fast and furious! There was a feeling we didn't want things to end and the conversations went past the hour. I wish we had more time to give the participants to develop activities and set us challenges. There is the potential I think to start earlier and make this a 2 hour interactive active tweet chat! It is all about experimenting and adjusting. Who'd have thought so  many educators would dedicate an hour of their Friday evening to this?!
To see more about the final Tweet Chat take a look at the Storify slideshow.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Day 4 #BYOD4L Collaborating bty @suebecks

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SHU Face to face #BYOD4L meet-up

During this workshop we looked at using Blackboard Collaborate and with the help of Lee Coddington, E-Learning Assistant in ACES, held a live Collaborate session using our tablets. We access Blackboard using the Collaborate app and I think were all genuinely surprised how quick and easy this was to do. Lee began by demonstrating the various areas and we started to take note of what was either not accessible or different to the web version and also what did work well. 

In the spirit of the collaboration theme today we agreed to each share a point by adding it to a Padlet board Anne Nortcliffe set up (from her iPad and shared  by tweeting the link).

On the whole we felt the Collaborate app provided a good experience but the lack of tools for the white board was a big negative for all of us. Helen Rodger also made a valid point that it will be important when running our own sessions to be aware of the devices students are using. (information is available from the dashboard) A planned whiteboard activity for example could exclude tablet users. 

What was valuable about this session was that we had the opportunity to try out the technology but also to discuss the issues we picked up. I felt we all went away both more confident of using this tool but also curious to explore further how it could be used in our own learning and teaching. I think it is important to provide time for us to experiment hands on and this seems much more rewarding when done together. As we each in turn stumbled with an aspect, there was someone there to help. Secondly it is good to reminds ourselves of what it feels like when being introduced to something new. Supported and scaffolded learning is even more important when introducing new technology. It is so easy for the technology itself to get in the way of the learning if newcomers don't feel confident. The concept of a sandpit to 'play' with the technology is something to consider. Checking people are all at the same starting point and encouraging peer support is also valuable.

Below are the observations we made about Blackboard Collaborate using tablets. 

The Tweet Chat

This was led by David Hopkins, Julie Gillin and Sam Illingworth. Having led a number of chats with David I knew that it would be a good one and that he would ease the new facilitators into the role. The team did a sterling job. I was thrilled to bits to find that Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) had given a shout out about our chat alongside the one he was leading #edenchat.
As a result there was an interconnected tweet chat going on with some participants from both chats dipping into the other. The conversations were rich throughout the hour. One aspect was considering what we need to think about when collaborating. Steve and I talked about humility, give and take, patience, giving each other space for contributions, and negotiation. Face to face collaboration we can take account of visual cues and whilst in the same room engage in conversation to raise and answer questions. Online this process needs to be nurtured and is unlikely to be so instant. Of course the asynchronous affordances of collaborative tools can bring their own merits allowing for messages to be left, keeping just one version (for example using Google Docs) and blend back and forth with face to face updates. 

My interactions with Chrissi Nerantzi also included Jane Hart and Harold Jarche as we once again explored the sticky area of collaboration and cooperation. 

The full chat has been captured (as each evening) on Storify:

Collaborative Writing 

This has been something I have been doing for some time now with Chrissi. She has been a very supportive friend during our shared writing and I am continuously learning from her. Throughout BYOD4L participants have shared similar stories. As facilitators we have planned the Tweet Chats and other aspects of the course using GD. 

Using Google Docs (GD) you are able to write both synchronously and asynchronously. The use of coloured text, the chat box and comments boxes allow you to highlight areas, raise questions and generally interact.This seems to work really well for word documents. PowerPoint and the Google Drive equivalent don't integrate so well where there are images and whilst collaborative planning can work well in GD, once the slides are uploaded to PowerPoint there is work to do to reinstate the images and some of the formatting.

Are there other ways in which you write collaboratively? I'd love to hear.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Day 3 #BYOD4L Curating by @suebecks

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I am a self confessed collector of stuff both in the physical world and the virtual. Some may say I am a hoarder and perhaps if you saw the contents of my loft you might agree! However I know what is up there and know one day each of my 'treasures' will have a part to play in some way.

I am a visual learner and find it easier to recall information when I see images. Collecting or curating resources and saving them in a logical order has helped me greatly. I can go back and find things more easily using the variety of curation tools in my personal learning toolbox. My growing collections often provide me with inspiration for teaching and research as I look through them. When I come across ideas, successful projects, innovative teaching approaches or research shared by others I can save it in my various spaces. 

So what are these tools you might be asking? I like to keep trying new ones but to give you a flavour of the tools I use most here is my Top 5 list

I use and Pinterest to gather articles, blog posts, videos etc and organise these into topics. Diigo is a social bookmarking tool which I try perhaps less successfully to gather resources relating to my research and teaching interests. I need to become more disciplined to make best use of Diigo however and hit the save button more frequently! is a great tool that allows you to auto create a newspaper view of tweets. Finally my private blog provides me with both a reflective space and a means of making notes about resources I have found. The posts can be tagged and this helps me find and return to pieces I have written. The blog is private as it only makes sense to me. Its a bit like that kitchen drawer you have where you dump all those useful bits you haven't quite found a home for!

New resources

At Sheffield Hallam we had a f2f meet-up to discuss curating and how we used this personally to organise ourselves and also how we had introduced such tools to our students. Andrew Middleton recorded a summary of our discussion using SoundCloud on his iPad.

Thanks to Anne Nortcliffe I will now be exploring Mendeley and Colwiz more deeply. Anne shared a video she has created on using smart apps for literature curation.


Start with just one tool and experiment. If this works for you, then introduce another. Over the course of time you will find it becomes easier remembering to save useful resources in the spaces you have chosen. 

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Day 2 #BYOD4L Communicating by @suebecks

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How do we communicate?

During last night's #BYOD4Lchat we were asked "What does communicating mean to you?" Thinking about this, there are opportunities to have conversations and to broadcast information. During a conversation it is hoped that all participants have an opportunity to contribute. A broadcast communication may not require interaction and serves simply to share information to a wide audience. However the way we do communicate can very often be more complex than this. We all know the good speakers who have kept us enthralled hanging on to every word and those we remember sending us to sleep, where a long one-sided conversation provides no opportunity to interact and join in the communication.

My answer to the first question during the chat made me first of all consider communication as both a monologue and dialogue.

Communication as Monologue vs Dialogue

A monologue is a speech delivered by one person, a prolonged talk or discourse by a single speaker, where as a dialogue involves two or more people. 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines:
Dialogue as “the conversation written for and spoken by actors on a stage” or “a conversation carried on between two or more persons.” It is a verbal exchange of ideas between people. 
Monologue as “a long speech by one actor in a play” or “a scene in a drama in which only one actor speaks.” 

Middle English: from Old French dialoge, via Latin from Greek dialogos, from dialegesthai 'converse with', from dia 'through' + legein 'speak'.

The Greek root word monologos translates to 'speaking alone'

Communication in the context of learning and teaching

  • The Lecture: historically seen as a monologue, however there are many ways in which we can engage our students using mobile devices. Apps such as Socrative and Twitter can provide opportunities to create quizzes/polls or assess understanding at any point.
  • Email: a useful way to send one message to many or an individual; or receive messages. However we all know the feeling of email overload and often we receive the same questions from students multiple times from different individuals. Creating a blog or wiki as a FAQ can help to reduce this. Asking students to check here first for answers, raising only new questions as needed. On the flip side how can we be sure students have read the messages we want them to? 
  • Feedback: often given as handwritten notes on the piece of work handed in providing no opportunity for the student to question. As online submission becomes more popular, the use of audio and screencasted video feedback can provide digital alternatives. Generic feedback shared to the cohort can also be useful. Where though do the students get the opportunity to interact with the feedback? How can we be sure it was understood if given at the end of a module?
These are just a few examples I've started to reflect upon and will continue to think how I can communicate better in these situations. 

Mapping communication interactions

Below is a NodeXL map showing the communication links between participant tweets where #BYOD4L was included in the message. It is a snapshot of one day. Social network analysis is an area I am very interested to explore in relation to Twitter particularly to see how interactions have taken place. Who interacted, what was said, how far did the interactions reach through RTs. What are the connections between those interacting. It is a fascinating area.
@byod4l OR #byod4l OR byodl4learning Twitter NodeXL SNA Map and Report for Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at

Twitter NodeXL SNA Map and Report for Tuesday, 15 July 2014 

Monday 14 July 2014

Day 1 #BYOD4L Connecting by @suebecks

For the last few days I have been in Brighton. I travelled down for the European Conference for Social Media hosted by the University of Brighton. It was an excellent event and together with my colleagues Dr Alison Purvis and Helen 
Rodger provided an opportunity to present our research on social media as a poster and short paper. More about this later.

Having travelled down from Sheffield to Brighton, I decided to make it a long weekend and visit friends. Blue sky and sunshine was plentiful. It is a beautiful part of the country and I recommend you visit! Alas all good things have to come to an end and a long journey ahead did not fill me with joy. However a potential 5 hours travelling could be utilised to catch up with emails, engage with the various social media channels where #BYOD4L conversations were already developing. 

Today's BYOD4L theme is connecting. I was eager to start making new connections and indeed I did. In between I liaised with Chrissi Nerantzi as we went through our check list for the course using Twitter DMs. This is a process we adopted from the start as we set out to design BYOD4L and collaborative on research. Having my mobile phone handy at all times has meant we can share ideas on the go. We have introduced each other to new connections and individually grown our personal networks. 

Back to my journey home... What I didn't account for:

Connections: once through the M25 car park I started to lose my 4G signal. Without this I could not do what I wanted online
Travel: monitoring a small screen in a car for a prolonged period made me travel sick
Roads: how bad they are 'up North' as in bumpy making it hard to type on a touch screen
Blogging: I could write my draft post via the Blogger app and send when my connection came back! 

I had intended doing a reflective video but will save that for another time. 

I'm very much looking forward to tonight's Tweet Chat - Follow #BYOD4Lchat - and connecting with new friends to learn together more about we can use our devices for learning. 

Thursday 10 July 2014

Bring your devices for learning is back! #BYOD4L

I'm delighted to say that BYOD4L is back for a second time. It starts officially on Monday 14 July and runs for five days. However do follow the course hashtag #BYOD4L and join in with the conversations, introduce yourself and start making new connections.

BYOD4L for those that don't know is short for Bring Your Own Devices for Learning and is a free and open short course aimed at both teachers and students, but also anybody else who would like to use this opportunity to learn how they could use their smart devices for lifewide and lifewide learning and development. Each day we will look at a different theme and consider how we can use our smart devices for learning.   

The course site can be found at

5 Cs

Each day we will consider one of the following themes

  • Connecting
  • Communicating
  • Curating
  • Collaborating
  • Creating

No locks and no doors!

There is NO registration for this course. No locks and no doors! You have full access to all online learning spaces linked to BYOD4L. Feel free to complete our short initial survey if you wish as this will provide us with useful information about who you are so that we can make the course more relevant to you. Feel free to share this invite with others who might also be interested in joining us.

Sharing our learning

Participants are encouraged to blog during the course and to reflect on what they are learning. We have created a Padlet wall to share links to these blogs. You find this at

I personally have found this a very useful activity and will be sharing my reflections via this blog.

I do hope you will join us. If you have any questions then please don't hesitate to ask myself or Chrissi Nerantzi