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Open Enthusiast, working in the field of Learning Technology. Long term cat owner and new-to-the-scene dog walker. All personal content is openly licensed.
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All work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Adding badges to your portfolio using Embedly

1 min read

I'm a fan of open badges as a means to identify and articulate learning and I've promoted them and collected them when they've been used in open courses. I wanted to embed them on my Known profile, but Known won't allow you to embed secure content from other sites... so any images with an https:// prefix. I think this may apply to some wordpress sites too, depending on how the site security certificate has been set up.

As a workaround, there's a great tool called that let's you paste in a url and returns you some code which gives you a nicely formatted card to embed on your site and a link to the original source of the image for attribution purposes. You can use the tool for free to produce your cards, but they will have a blue side banner and social sharing tools enabled. If you setup an account, you're allowed some more formatting options. You'll see the two examples on my profile of and badges.

Using Withknown as a Portfolio tool for #BYOD4L

2 min read

As I did in 2015, I'm returning to withknown to participate and reflect on for 2016. This post serves as an intro to the tool and some of the features that make it a great tool for micro CPD stuff.

Firstly, you'll want to set up an account at and give your new blog a name. I've chosen my own name, as I'm concious that I have other blogs and portfolio tools online and want to try and consolidate my digital identity via this and my social media handle, the_markness.

Once you've done that, you'll see your new blog as an editor and that you have the ability to add various types of post and these are configurabale in the settings.

If you've ever used Tumblr, this menu will be familiar to you, but with the addition of things like status (for short form, Twitter like posts), location and audio. This to me makes it feel a bit more dynamic. You can also bookmark links and comment upon them.

Withknown also handles tagging (categorising topics/themes), but rather than tagging posts, it works much like hashtags on Twitter.. as in you add them inline like this . You can click on these links to show you any post that you've used this tag in and you can also use the Search box at the top to find a tag.

This way you can self curate your posts for using additional keywords like , , etc.

Once you're happy with a post, you can hit publish and also syndicate this to your social networks.

I only have Twitter enabled, but you also have the choose of Facebook, LinkedIn etc. If you also enable the Bridgy tool which connects your comments from social media back to your blog post.

For the adventurous, there are lots of other plugins and things that extend the use of the tool; markdown editing, collaborative blogging, new themes, but that's all yours to explore.

For educators, Known will integrate with your LMS/VLE and offers some of the social learning functionality and collaborative working that the web enables, but most current VLEs do not.

In a future post, I'll be looking at the withknown profile page and how you go about adding your badges and other info.

#BYOD4L - Curating

2 min read

Increased connectivity both in the information and social domain, suggests Steve Wheeler leads to an online learning landscape where context and community are key. We have streams of information that we have compartmentalised into Twitter lists or Pinterest boards that are designed around our interests. Whilst this helps limit noise in terms of articles and resources that we don't find useful, it can result in an information bubble where we aren't being exposed to alternative arguments or opinion. Many web resources now facilitate forms of social curation, facilitating interaction around these resources. Examples of this are group Pinterest boards or collaborative documents such as Google Docs/Sheets, and (as previously mentioned) where you can up/down vote add and comment on items within the list. Tools like Gibbon facilitate design of your own curriculum, curated around your interests.

Personally, I've also started using the blog as a form of curation and where there are reference points, I've added links. There is such a huge amount of knowledge available on the web, we need curation tools and curators to funnel the information and we need social interaction to facilitate critical engagement.


#BYOD4L - Collaborating

1 min read

I've written previously in this blog about collaborative online spaces and these are generally focussed on tools that support discussion and spaces to encourage development of ideas with others. On reflection, there are also a huge range of current tools that also support collaborative learning design. Through I've been introduced to for collaborative listing/curating and I like the simplicity of pasting in a link to create a list item. On the back of that, I've created a list to pull together some of the free course/learning design tools that I am aware of and I'm hoping I can get some of the community to add any tools they are aware of and vote up favourites.


#BYOD4L - Connecting

3 min read

Thought I would try and spend a bit of time this week engaging with the BYOD4L course and as I'm usually on Twitter posting about education and cat gifs, I thought I would try and involve myself in the G+ community, where I am usually more of a lurker. 

The scenario's presented offer two perspectives on device usage, asking questions of "where do i find examples of current practice?" and "I just use my mobile for calling, why do i need it for anything else?" respectively.

Personally, I find Twitter a really useful place to start; searching by hashtags and looking at who's following who has revealed a huge community of educators to me and it's my go to Personal Learning Network. I'm also interested in technologies that help curate resources like RSS aggregators. Medium seems to be quite good at this. In terms of your mobile device doing more for you and getting people engaged with the affordances of BYOD, I like the idea of less or zero interface technologies, which make our devices less disruptive to our day to day and operate in accordance with our lifestyles. Examples of this might be apps that present information to you audibly or curate information for you based on location or routine. A gain in user experience in this regard may come at the cost of sharing more and more personal data to our apps and service providers, so we must ensure users understand relative instant benefits against potential longer term negative impacts. 

Within our team, we have been using Slack for a while and I like the If This Then That integration which I use to post tweets from conferences back to the team in a Channel. It mean's we can discuss things in greater depth in an online space which is just used by the team. Google Plus has a huge international education community there too, so although I tend to read more posts and comment less, I find it a useful space to look to and search for information on a topic and often find communities are already formed around those topics

I've started using this platform, Known for some of my blogging stuff now. It's quite handy in that it integrates with other social media/publishing platforms, that you can back up/download your data and that it has potential for educators. I wrote a bit more about this and other emerging web platforms in another post. You can also use inline tagging to curate your posts like