Is sharing caring? – #OpenBlog19

So, I find myself challenged by Rachel Challen to contribute to #OpenBlog19, an idea that generated from David Hopkins — thank you for the challenge.

The topic that was provided to me by Rachel – “Is sharing caring?”

Being a strong advocate of open education, and the desire for education to be freely available to everyone, the answer is relatively easy.

Following a career as a qualified nurse (a caring profession, so yes I care) I entered the world of Higher Education (some 16 years ago) and recall my first few days. I was nervous, as I was new to teaching, but was constantly reassured by more experienced colleagues who shared their work to support me. Yes, I was an experienced nurse but a little out of my comfort zone with some of the topics within the curriculum, this sharing by colleagues was caring.

Working together with students also highlighted how much sharing occurred in the classroom. Students seem keen to share their experiences and this makes for a healthy and productive learning environment. Many students talk about difficult situation and this enhances and develops the learning process. I am more than happy to share my experiences as I believe that we all have knowledge, skills and qualities that should be shared.

I am also a great advocate of social media, especially twitter – for me this is a sharing and caring platform in itself. On a daily basis I am “liking” posts from others that have shared their work, a resource, link, or just their own views. Unfortunately I don’t always get around to reading them all (note to self) but appreciate the collaboration that this promotes.

So, to sum up a relatively easy question – Is sharing caring? – absolutely yes


….and for those that know me, I always include a GIF….



#BYOD4L is back, back again…

And so the last twelve months has flown by and we are again in a New Year. This means the start of BYOD4L which is something to look forward to

what is it?

BYOD4L is a bite-size facilitated open course offered over 5 days for educators and students  in HE but also anybody else who would like to learn as to how we can utilise our digital devices for professional, lifelong and lifewide learning. It is a good idea to run this in the New Year as we often receive a shiny new device over Christmas and it’s good to start the Year off with something exciting…

The 5 days covers the following topics

  • connecting
  • communicating
  • curating
  • collaborating
  • creating

At the University of Salford, alongside the inspirational Emma Gillaspy, we will be running a few events to support this course and am really looking forward to this week…


On Tuesday 17th January the theme is Communicating where there are opportunities to stimulate discussion and encourage active engagement in your teaching/learning/research. Feel free to join us in Newton, room 240 from, 1400 to 1500


On Wednesday 18th  January the theme is Curating where we can focus on helping you to stay on top of the latest developments in your area, and to look at how you can organise your documents, ideas and notes. Drop in to Mary Seacole, room 187, between 1200 and 1300 to find out more


On Thursday 19th January the theme is  Collaborating, looking at how to work more effectively and crowdsourcing content using online collaborative tools. Come along to Maxwell, room 819, between 1300 and 1400 to find out more


The final day, Friday 20th  January and the theme is Creating. The focus will be on how to use quizzes and surveys in your teaching and learning. Feel free to pop along to Mary Seacole, room 136, between 1200 and 1300 to join in.


Every evening there will be a twitter chat focusing on the theme of the day, this is fun and very enjoyable. The chats are between 2000 and 2100 and everyone is welcome. If you are new to twitter this is an opportunity to see how twitter chats work, and to connect with a much wider network of people, follow #byod4lchat

Hopefully my blogs will continue, lets see how it goes…………

#BYOD4L Day 5: Let’s get creative


The final day of Bring Your Own Device for Learning came and went, and so too did the planned 5 days of this course. The final theme was Creating.



The final twitter chat was an interesting “event”, with a pre-event activity -and although I had a rather busy day I managed to “create” something that summed up how I engaged with the course.

The twitter chat was fun, lively with the sharing of some fantastic creations, and at one point the twitter chat came to an abrupt end – it was argued that we managed to break twitter – wow, that is creative.




Overall the course has been a fantastic experience. I will not try and name everyone involved as I will undoubtedly miss someone out, so a huge thank you to my co-organisers, mentors, participants, observers and those that have not been part of the course, but offered support along the way (you know who you are).

The 5 days may have come to an end but the BYOD4L community is continuing to grow.

#BYOD4L Day 4: It’s all about colaboration

The theme for day 4 was Collaboratingall about working together and (getting things done).

There were many blog posts and interactions and this culminated in another great twitterchat, Storify here.

Looking back to the role of co-organiser, the “course” owes its success to wonderful collaboration. Alongside fellow co-organisers we have “collaborated” throughout. Prior to the week there was a lot of (asynchronous) activity in Google Drive, the sharing of documents and working together on the structure of the week. Google Drive is a fantastic resource, really like how the functionality supports working together.

A (synchronous) Google Hangout to explore any issues, agree ways of working and having mutual understanding was also held prior to the week. This was a great Hangout, I have used these many times and they remain a firm favourite.

Once the week started regular contact using Twitter direct messages and Google Drive have been both supportive and fun, sharing a daily update and supporting each other. At times it is difficult to always bee available, this was when others stepped in and keep the momentum going.


It’s great to collaborate, and even greater when you have great collaborators with you – so thank you Sheila, Alex, Chrissi (and Sue)!




#BYOD4L Day 3: Getting organised

Day 3 of Bring Your Own Device for Learning has come around so fast, with the topic of Curating

I must admit that this not a strong point of mine, I tend to be a hoarder (this became more evident as I engaged in the Twitterchat). I have a habit of liking tweets (used to favorite them), storing links, etc to “read and share” later. I have to confess that I have a large store of unread and unsorted information that I must get around to dealing with.

A highlight of the day was the Twitterchat, a vibrant, energetic hour of rapid discussion, lively banter and (most importantly) LEARNING. I had the pleasure of facilitating the chat alongside Sue Beckingham, who inspires me with confidence. The chat was another great event and I found myself making notes of tools/apps that I could use to assist with curation.

Looking back to the blog post from last year I recall making a list of apps to try out. I have looked at several of these and have decided now to focus on a couple in order to become more organised and actually start to deal with the many, many saved items that I have. Getting organised.

Looking forward to the next day – Collaborating












#BYOD4L Communicating: Day 2

Day 2 of the Bring Your Own Device for Learning course came and went…

As a co-organiser, the day seemed a little “quieter” than day 1, but there was a lot of communication (the theme of day 2) on Twitter and Google+. It was clearly evident that people were communicating, particularly through the twitter feed. I could see the participants finding their way around the course and sharing their ideas, thoughts and great blog posts.

The Twitter chat was a frenzied affair, at times distracted by the introduction of pets, and I was responsible for creating the Storify account of the chat. This is a really useful tool and seek to explore how this can be used further in teaching.

Theme for day 3 – Curating

#BYOD4L Connecting: and we are off

I am writing this blog post after looking back over a great first day on BYOD4L, this time as a co-organiser. 

So off we go, the first day looking at the topic of Connecting. Sheila MacNeill, Alex Spiers and myself embark on this 5-day course as organisers  (with the support of Chrissi Nerantzi and Sue Beckingham) and the first blog post goes out, we await connections to take place.

We quickly see sharing of the blog post and a great deal of activity in the Google+ community, lots of introductions, welcomes and participants eagerly looking at the activities related to the topic of connecting. It was great to see the community supporting each other and reassuring that people are joining in.

The first day also saw the first of the daily Twitterchats, a frantic hour of discussion in posts of 140 characters or less, no mean feat. It is great to see familiar faces but also to welcome others from across the globe. I was managing the chat alongside Alex, who is amazingly calm and a pleasure to “work” with. Following the hour (which seemed to pass in a flash) Sheila spent a great deal of time constructing a Storify of the chat, a fabulous capture of a very busy chat.

Looking back to the day and the focus of the day, I can honestly say that connecting took place, and am really excited for day 2, Communicating






#BYOD4L is back

So, January comes around again (which must mean BYOD4L) and this time I am delighted to be part of the organising team (alongside Sheila MacNeill and Alex Spiers, with the support of Chrissi NerantziI expect that Sue Beckingham will also be supporting in the background). This is the fourth iteration of this course and I am delighted to be part of this journey again, I have joined in as a participant and facilitator so this time is a new challenge for me.

This 5 day bite size course is a wonderful opportunity to explore how to make the most of smart devices for learning.


There are 5 topics (connecting, communicating, curating, collaborating and creating), and it is very easy to join in, you do not have to spend hours and hours on this, but the learning and networking opportunities are plentiful. There are also opportunities to claim open badges for participation.

There is a vibrant community and a daily twitter chat, which are a great way to learn, I for one am really looking forward to joining in again- see you all online!


That Was The Week, That Was BYOD4L

So, BYOD4L is over and again it was a huge success.

This bite-size course runs over 5 days and focusses on the 5 C’s – Connecting, Communicating, Curating Collaborating, and Creating.

As a Qualified Nurse I am familiar with many C words as  the  three year vision and strategy for nursing, midwifery and care staff, (Compassion in Practice 2012) outlines 6 C’s, which are regarded as fundamental values. These 6 C’s are – Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment.

Whilst the C’s are somewhat different (except for communication) I would argue that care, compassion, competence, courage and commitment are all needed to enjoy and  get the most from BYOD4L. Certainly as a facilitator I needed to take care (and care about others), be compassionate to others, try and show competence (though many participants were much more competent than I am), be courageous (in trying out new tools) and certainly a level of commitment.

Commitment was a challenge for me this time as I was unavailable for the first two days. I was trying to engage where I could but limited time did not help. I started on day 3 with enthusiasm and with an eagerness to catch up. The benefit of this course is that all the materials are there for the 5 days and it is easy to dip in and out, this is one of the many positive aspects of the course!

I noticed that there were many facilitators supporting the participants and how quickly the participants were supporting each other. There were many creative and imaginative blog posts, Google+ posts and Facebook posts. The experiences of participants and facilitators were great to see and I take away a lot of ideas (again).

The titter chats were again an amazing flurry of discussion and fun, and from this I have also agreed to host a twitter chat again in the near future with a colleague whom I met last year.

In the Thursday evening twitter chat there was a suggestion of creating a BYOD4L poem, an example of how creative the course can be. The challenge was to collaborate on this and try and produce a poem by hrs. the following day. I found myself somehow involved and before I knew it had contributed to the final version. I don’t consider myself a poet but am proud to have been part of this.

Here it is

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


(The poem is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence).


Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to the organiser of this course – Chrissi Nerantzi and Sue Beckingham, two remarkable individuals who work tirelessly for the development (and enjoyment)  of others!


#BYOD4L Day 5: They think it’s all over…


The final day of Bring Your Own Device for Learning came and went, and so too did the planned 5 days of this course. The final theme was Creating and the guidance was –

“We want to encourage you to explore learning through ‘making’ – meaning how you can use smart devices and applications to develop original and meaningful outputs as an individual or within groups. An opportunity to find ways to express yourself creatively and develop personal learning activities that are relevant and meaningful to your needs”

The day appeared to me to be a little ‘quieter’ in that there did not seem to be as many posts or conversations happening. Maybe this was due to the fact that it was the final day or that it was a Friday! Looking back I think now that it was the fact that people were busy being creative.

The final twitter chat (summary here), was a frenzy of creativity. Everyone wanted to share their experience of this course in a creative way – pictures, drawings etc, and the chat became a fun occasion.

My own personal ‘creation’ was

photo 2

although not original, this was the first image that came to mind. I have lots and lots of ideas from being part of this course, many of which I hope to implement.

Overall the course has been a fantastic experience. I will not try and name everyone involved as I will undoubtedly miss someone out, so a huge thank you to the organisers, fellow facilitators, participants, observers and those that have not been part of the course, but offered support along the way.

The 5 days may have come to an end but the BYOD4L community is continuing to grow.