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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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#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


Reading about insider research, like Meyerson's description of "tempered radicals" for those who quietly enact change within the organisation and Coghlan and Brannick's concept of the insider change agent as "one who is a supporter of the people in the organisation, a saboteur of the organisation's rituals and a questioner of some of it's beliefs". Definitely chime with the idea of the insider action researcher.

Standing on the shoulders of giants - some notes on the literature review

2 min read

This week's PgDip seminar is around the literature review, which is concerned with reading yourself into the field of study to find out where you fit in to the dialogue or conversation. It is also described as an accumulation of knowledge to test a hypothesis and that a quality review will demonstrate analysis and synthesis of the literature. The Lit. review can be cyclical in that by reading around your research topic, you discover related topics that might redefine the research question. 

One method of reviewing literature is:

  • Scan
  • Question: What are the key arguments?
  • Re-read
  • Code: Names, Quotes, Arguments, Themes, Keywords

I quite like how Citethisforme works in terms of managing bibliographies and particularly that you can attach a quote to a source, so I might make use of this  to manage reading. Google Scholar is also a great way to find authentic, sources of information with lists of citations and where articles have been peer reviewed, (as a side note, I keep thinking back to a conversation I had at a conference about use of Open Badges to support peer review). I also wonder about using a spreadsheet to record source, harvard reference, keywords, themes, that sort of thing. I'd be interested in finding out more about any tools that currently do this. I've heard about RefWorks, but their site is pretty ropey and I can't quite work out what it is. Likewise with Endnote, but I'll attempt to look into them all this week.

A new breed of online collaborative spaces

3 min read

Though I would advocate face to face meeting in physical space to help form supportive Communities Of Practice (Lave & Wenger), I've been thinking about how these communities can easily move in and out of online/virtual space and that through development of technology there seems to be less and less distinction between the two. I communicate with colleagues across the globe in the same virtual space as I do with the person on the opposite desk and I use similar tools in personal and professional space. On the back of these thoughts, I thought I would post up a few emerging platforms that facilitate continuing the discussion and would be appropriate tools to apply to the SAMR model of technology adoption in learning and teaching.

Known/Idkno - The Blog


Known’s strength lies in simplicity. Much like Tumblr, it allows a few types of post and a mixture of the short and medium blog format, which is why i’m adopting it to use for my research journal. It also allows you to roll out your own social network if you have some server space and allows you to comment inline on posts, which adds a nice social element to the content.

Medium - The Curator


Everyone’s stories and ideas

Medium comes from the Twitter stable and it’s fastly becoming the go to source of evolved ideas that might have started in 140 characters. A bit like the written version of a TED talk, Medium promotes the sharing of ideas and encourages responses from readers in the form of inline comments or their own stories.

Slack - The Team Communication Tool


Within teams, people will have different preferences about which tools they like to use for particular communications, this may be based on how they choose to communicate outside the work environment. Slack provides an easy way to integrate many communication tools such as Skype/Hangouts/Twitter in one interface so that colleagues can choose to connect in the way that is most familiar or convenient to them. Slack is currently taking enterprise communications by storm and ET are working with courses at Falmouth to look at how this tool may enable communication outside of the physical classroom.

Sublevel - The micro blog


Sublevel is a great example of browser led design, so doesn’t come packaged as an app for Android/IOS but works responsively across platforms in any modern browser. It makes use of web standards and is reminiscent of Twitter early on, with the added advantages of inline commenting and no character limit. Despite having no character limitations, like most modern messaging apps it feels conversation like, so you end up self-limiting posts. The community isn’t huge yet, but if you are interested in exploring it more, converse with me

Evolving thoughts

1 min read

Thoughts evolving around research into student expectations and understanding of technology use in the teaching environment. Particularly in transition from School, FE to HE. 

The JISC Digital Student looks at this is some detail and I would be keen to apply some of this research to understand more about incomming student expectations at Falmouth University. I'm also interested in the model of Visitors and Residents  as a means to help academic staff visualise their own web engagement and the work of the DIGILITLEIC project in my home town of Leicester that is working with schools to develop digital literacies.

Reading Karen Lepels work on student persistence and intrigued by the idea that student perception of monetary cost, or value-for-money would vary so much in profession and non-profession based courses and have an impact on persistence.

It would be interesting to look at how emotional support and parental involvement is affecting persistence rates in the post 9K fee environment.

Spent a lot of the day thinking about using Known for collaboration and community initiatives. Decided to use it for my own research ramblings