Bring your own device for learning or bringing learning to your device?

Maybe it’s just the time of year, maybe it’s just the context of this year, maybe it’s just a sign of age, but I am finding myself getting more and more nostalgic as various online services “pop up” reminders of what I was doing at this time, last year, 2, 4 ,5, 7 years ago. This time last year I was still travelling across the country to run workshops . . .

Over the last few days I’ve been getting reminders of #BYOD4L (Bring your own device for learning). This was a week long open “event” for staff, students and the brain child of Chrissi Nerantzi, Sue Beckingham and David Hopkins. Along with Alex Spiers and Neil Withnell, I was part of the facilitation team that took over from the original team.

BYOD4L was always a brought a bit of focus and fun to gloomy January’s past. The structure of the event was based around the 5 c’s – connecting, communicating, curating, collaborating and creating. Each day focused on one of the “c’s”, and there were daily tweet chats each evening. Lots of us used the flexibility and open-ness of the concept to run face to face sessions (remember them?) in our institutions. It gave a focus to bring people together to share the ways they used technology in their learning and teaching.

It was also a really fantastic way to introduce people to twitter and connect to a ready made learning network. It was exhausting to facilitate but always great fun, and for me, a really positive learning experience. It was also a great incentive for writing blog posts!

Although BYOD4L was largely online, it enabled so many different face to face interactions. It was also predicated on the context that the majority of staff and students were travelling to campus, and so bringing their devices to those physical locations. Students and staff were accessing their “stuff” on the bus/train/car/tube where ever, as well as on campus/in class/in the library/in the refectory etc. But now, we’re all at home (or maybe in halls of residence, or maybe with very limited time on campus), so it’s not so much a case of bringing your own device for learning, rather bringing learning to your own device (BYOD2L instead of BYOD4L). That’s a subtle but important change of emphasis. And of course, access to “your own” device isn’t a given. The last year has certainly highlighted the digital divide around access to devices. Not all students (or teachers) have a laptop/computer/device that they can use, or afford the data allowance to engage with online learning. Having a mobile phone is one thing, but their limitations for learning have been well and truly exposed. We still can’t assume that they everyone has unlimited online access.

Over the last year a huge amount has been done by everyone in terms of moving to online learning and teaching and providing access to equipment and data. Back in the day, there were a core of #BYOD4L-ers who might have been seen as “outsiders” from the norm, as they were interested, and more importantly using technology actively in their learning and teaching and sharing that practice openly.

Looking back a the BYOD4L model, it still holds up. So I wonder if there is an opportunity to revisit it and use it as a way to focus on reflecting on what has happened over the last 10 months and help us focus on what should be our priorities (based on actual practice) for the foreseeable future? Although the event was designed with staff and students in mind, getting students involved was always a challenge and one I never managed to crack. But I think that might be different now, I think that this could provide a focus for student/staff engagement that is relevant to our current context.

This needs a lot more thought, but I’d love to know what you think.

11 thoughts on “Bring your own device for learning or bringing learning to your device?

  1. Great post Sheila, that is such a great observation that the pandemic has resulted in a swap around to ‘bringing learning to your own device’.

    Having done #BYOD4L as both a participant and instructor I have always found it so very helpful in different ways, both from a specific stand point in relation to the professional development that it provided , but also something more in terms of the networking benefits and therefore the social support element. It would be interesting to explore both of these aspects . Revisiting #BYOD4L in this way is something that could also feed into my own planned research into educators experiences of online social support.

    As it would need more thought, but personally you might be onto something here. I definitely think there is scope for revisiting it in the light of where we find ourselves now. If we were to consider it we would probably want to make it a ‘lite’ version to avoid overwhelming people with stuff, given the already enormous challenges that these times are bringing. In my opinion though definitely worth thinking about.

  2. Thanks for this Debbie, yes it would deffo need reworked but I think that could be a great co-production opportunity to work with students too.

  3. Hello Sheila,

    I love your energy and determination but also commitment to the community and offering to help and support those who need it most.

    It would be so so wonderful to bring the course alive again, revitalise and refresh under the concept of BYOD2L you suggest!!! And involve students too.

    Go for it!!!

    Thank you Sheila and everybody who has been generously supporting and collaborating on BYOD4L and the values it attempts to bring together. For me this journey all started in a mini MSc project called MoRe (mobile reflections) in 2008, which then evolved into an online PBL event around assessment and feedback, the FDOL course, BYOD4L, the LTHEchat and FOS too. Fascinating looking back and see how it is all connected and how one idea can generate so many others especially when we collaborate.

    Thank you!


    1. thanks Chrissi – not sure I can actually revive it but I will have a think and maybe I can get work with others to do it. It might be more of a brainstorm session just now that is needed – maybe a #LTHEchat to start . . .

  4. I loved the MELSIG events and really miss those opportunities to get together in person. The community that has grown from all these shared experiences continues to offer support, guidance, friendships and lots of smiles. So grateful for this.

    1. thanks Sue, yes know what you mean – think we are all missing face to face contact. But at least we are all still connected and sharing our practice.

    2. I was telling Alex yesterday I have a box of stuff we generated at the last MELSIG event when many of us were involved. When I moved on I lost access to the SHU domain but I have reconstructed the site and plan to revitalise it and produce those missing toolkits. I would love to get together again. There is so much we can do with BYOD2L… I am blogging/thinking right now. See where it goes, but thinking the 5Cs may hold an answer for new times…

      1. that’s great Andrew, would be great to be able to access those toolkits again. Great to hear you are blogging and thinking about this too – this needs people like you to move my initial thoughts forward.

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