BYOD4L – Bring Your Own Devices For Learning

This post introduces the design and delivery of BYOD4L – Bring Your Own Devices For Learning (, a team effort based on an idea by Chrissi Nerantzi. Chrissi and Sue Beckingham who developed the concept into an exciting learning event drawing on Chrissi’s experience of open collaborative course design and her knowledge of open educational practice in the area of professional development of teachers in higher education – the focus of her PhD. Sue brings her research interest of social media.

The initial idea was to create an open collaborative learning event using smartphones and tablets for learning and teaching targeted at both teachers and students and we linked it to the  Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group led by Andrew Middleton, a related conference and book project around Smart Learning. BYOD4L stemmed from the 5Cs of Connecting, Communicating, Curating, Collaborating, and Creating and a model based on Chrissi and Sue’s “Magical Open Box” conceptual framework, rooted in individual and collective learning ecologies inspired by Prof. Norman Jackson’s work around these..

Development of BYOD4L started in autumn 2013 and the event was offered for the first time in January 2014 over five days. It involved a team of collaborators (academic developers, learning technologists, lecturers and researchers) from different institutions. Volunteer facilitators were recruited to form the team from our personal networks. Over several weeks the team invested energy in making BYOD4L the success it became for those who participated. We include below a slideshare that captures further details of BYOD4L as well as participants’ voices.

The BYOD4L initiative was conceived and developed to model the use of freely available social media for creating meaningful learning and development opportunities beyond institutional boundaries. The co-creation and sharing of resources was fundamental to the pedagogic design, as was promoting learner and facilitator collaboration and creativity. Unlike many technology-enhanced learning projects, we had no seed funding. All we had was each other and our commitment to show that innovation is possible, and perhaps heightened, when working within such constraints. We were interested in finding a sustainable solution for open CPD and open course design more generally that fosters collaboration in a cross-institutional context. was selected as an attractive and highly configurable ‘home’ environment around which other media could be integrated by both the core facilitator team and the participants. It created a coherent identity for BYOD4L while encouraging participants to construct their own learning ecologies using media that suited them. Learning, therefore, was contextualised and tailored to their needs, priorities and aspirations. Each participant was able to carve their own path within a supportive learning community. Learners were encouraged to connect with peers and facilitators and engage in conversation, reflective and creative activities to further their knowledge, understanding and skills in the area of smart learning. To do this the learners established and developed presences in their chosen spaces which included Facebook, Google+, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, Pinterest, Storify,

David Hopkins introduced open badges to the team which were designed to motivate and reward learning in small chunks. There are badges for participants but also for facilitators. Andrew Middleton, David Hopkins and Dr David Walker peer reviewed participants’ and facilitators’ digital  portfolios. Ellie Livermore designed all BYOD4L artwork, while Dr Cristina Costa reviewed the design before the start as critical friend.

BYOD4L was offered for the second time in July 14. Five institutions joined us: Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sussex, University of Ulster and London Metropolitan University. The team consisted of 20 volunteer collaborators in total (see all of them at and many local events were organised during the week to complement online BYOD4L activities that created a real learning buzz. Many rich resources have been shared by participants on Twitter via our hashtags #BYOD4L and #BYOD4Lchat. We started small and are developing a model to scale-up open educational offers of this kind through collaboration. Could this be a sustainable solution? The BYOD4L team is currently working on a number of related research projects to evaluate many different aspects of this initiative and is disseminating findings through conferences and publications. Please check out

BYOD4L has been a wonderful opportunity to learn within a vibrant and supportive open community. And the good news are that there are further institutions who would like to join us in the next academic year, which is fantastic. For more information, please visit and follow @BYOD4L on Twitter.

We hope you will be able to join us next time!

The BYOD4L team was shortlisted for the 2014 Learning Technologist of the Year Award. For more information about the award please visit the ALT website.

Chrissi @chrissinerantzi and Sue @suebecks representing the BYOD4L Team

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member

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