As the sun rose on a New Year in 2014, I was invited to participate in an exciting new project called Bring Your Own Devices for Learning (#BYOD4L). The creators, Sue Beckingham & Chrissi Nerantzi, were well known to me, and having been an admirer of their work and approach to collaboration, how could I refuse this offer? I’m forever grateful for the opportunity. This was the first tweetchat proper that I’d ever participated in. Back then it was unknown, exciting, action packed but above all overflowing full of information and approaches in using mobile devices in teaching and learning. You can read my first blog posts about it here.
The impact of this open online course continues to resonate. This is the sixth time I’ve participated and the third time as part of the organising team alongside Sheila MacNeill and Neil Withnell. We are ably supported by the Bitmoji twins: Deb Baff and Suzanne Faulkner. Each day and night over one week in January still manages to surprise and excite me in equal measure. Becoming a focal point for week two of the University of Liverpool Winter School where I teach staff to use Twitter and get the most out of it. Encouraging them to reach out beyond the institution and connect, communicate and collaborate with like-minded individuals across the UK and beyond. Using the #LIVUNISOCIAL hashtag to connect and curate shared advice and examples of good practice from established practitioners around the world. Have a look at these moments.
This year’s #BYOD4L has already begun with the first tweetchat last night focussing on Connecting and Confidence in using mobile devices and social media. The original 5Cs are still there but they have been extended to broaden out the discussion. So this year the tweetchat will be discussing these 10Cs:
- Connecting and Confidence
- Communicating and (digital) Capability
- Curating and Copyright (in conjunction with #LTHEchat)
- Collaborating and Community
- Creating and Celebrating
Not being a prolific blogger, I suspect I’ll be summing up my experience of the course with a round up at the end of this week. Before I go, I thought it might be fun to look back and reflect on what has changed since BYOD4L began in 2014. Here is a by no means exhaustive list.
- Twitter communication was 140 characters or less
- Periscope didn’t exist
- Storify was free to use
- Snapchat had yet to capture the world imagination
- Instagram was all about images and not Stories
- Twitter had no Polls or GIFs
- Windows & Blackberry still made phones
- Phone Batteries were replaceable
- Amazon launched a phone (failed)
- Senior politicians rarely used Social Media directly
Looking at this short list and thinking about this rate of change, brings me back to one of the fundamental reasons why BYOD4L (and Twitter) is essential. Communal knowledge. One person or group can’t keep track of the fast paced changes and developments in mobile device specifications and app functionality. Having a knowledgeable community at the end of a tweet to offer guidance and support is invaluable. My personal learning network regularly inspire me to try out new tools and approaches to support the work I do as a learning technology developer. As my mentor Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
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