Category: Weeknotes (page 1 of 20)

Weeknote 07/2017

This week I’ve been:

Next week it’s half-term in our part of the world, so I’ll be spending a good chunk of it with my family.


I make my living helping people and organisations become more productive in their use of technology.  If you’ve got something that you think I might be able to help with, please do get in touch! Email: hello@nulldynamicskillset.com

Weeknote 06/2017

This week I’ve been:

  • Fighting off more attacks on my websites. It would seem that it’s not just this site, but the web is in a bit of turmoil at the moment. I’m not sure why, but I’ve learned a lot about securing WordPress and how .htaccess files work…
  • Replacing the back-end of my Discours.es blog with WordPress, related to the above (and the fact that Ben Werdmuller has moved on from working on Known)
  • Sending out Thought Shrapnel, my weekly newsletter loosely structured around education, technology, and productivity. Issue #245 was entitled ‘The Long and Winding Road’.
  • Travelling to and from Geneva, Switzerland. As part of Safer Internet Day, I ran three 90-minute sessions for 72 students each in Years 10 and 11, and then for just over 90 in Year 12. Afterwards, I presented to, and had a bit of a chat with, around 20 members of staff. The resources I used can be found in this post.
  • Listening and advising in a critical friend role for a client. I very much enjoy these sessions, as they’re almost as beneficial for me as they are for those who pay me to help them!
  • Discussing potential work with people and organisations in Ireland, London, Gateshead, Nairobi, and Toronto.
  • Switching to Brave, a web browser created by the company headed up by ex-Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich (you know, the guy who invented JavaScript). Firefox is almost unusable on Linux for some reason, it’s so slow. Brave is great, and cross-platform. It has lots of tracking protection and privacy features built in by default.
  • Securing sponsorship of a new offering from me and my colleagues at We Are Open. This will launch next Wednesday, so stay tuned!
  • Making final preparations for the Open:2017 conference next week.
  • Enjoying my ‘Doug day’ on Friday by going out for a walk with my wife (and a pub lunch) in the snowy hills of Northumberland. I had to squeeze in a bit of work, but most of Friday was spent outdoors, which is good.
  • Writing:

Next week, I’m working from home on Monday and Tuesday before travelling to London on Wednesday for meetings in the afternoon. I’ll then be at the Open:2017 conference on Thursday and Friday.


I make my living helping people and organisations become more productive in their use of technology.  If you’ve got something that you think I might be able to help with, please do get in touch! Email me: hello@nulldynamicskillset.com

Weeknote 05/2017

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Thought Shrapnel, my weekly newsletter loosely structured around education, technology, and productivity. Somewhere in amongst the tsunami of links in Issue #244 was some information about privacy, productivity, and… deranged cannibal hamsters.
  • Getting confirmation of work in Calgary at the beginning of May. If everything comes off, I could have a two-week working trip that covers both east and west Canada!
  • Planning activities and input for Safer Internet Day next week. I’ll be working with staff as well as students in Years 10, 11 and 12 at an international school in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Catching up with Sheryl Grant about Open Badges, finishing her PhD, and more. She was the main author of a report that came out this week entitled Promising Practices of Open Credentials: Five Years of Progress. I’m looking forward to reading it next week!
  • Flying to Jersey to work with staff at Victoria College around digital learning. I’m delighted that they’ve been able to appoint a Head of Digital Strategy for Easter, so that was  my last trip. My final report, after working with them for six months, outlined how far we were able to shift the overall staff baseline digital competency due to some intensive training.
  • Putting together proposals for potential clients after initial 30-minute meetings.
  • Attending the Open Recognition Alliance community call, although the hotel wifi stopped working halfway through, so I had to bail…
  • Registering for the Thinking Digital conference in May. I count it as part of my CPD as I always meet interesting people and learn lots of new things.
  • Curating and sending out Badge News Issue #003 on behalf of We Are Open Co-op.
  • Agreeing to facilitate (with my co-op colleagues) more sessions at the Open:2017 conference in a couple of weeks’ time.
  • Recording and releasing Episode 74 of the Today In Digital Education (TIDE) podcast with my co-host, Dai Barnes. This episode was entitled  ‘A Safer, More Private Internet (Part 2)’ and followed up from last week’s discussion about Data Privacy Day. Next Tuesday is Safer Internet Day, so that was our main focus.
  • Sending out my monthly Dynamic Skillset newsletter. I wrote a lot of newsletters this week…
  • Restoring this blog after it was hacked sometime on Thursday. I had in place the usual precautions, but I’ve now added Wordfence after being recommended it by Reclaim Hosting (who were incredibly fast at responding to my cries for help on Twitter)
  • Writing:

Next week I’m in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday, then I’ve got a few meetings on Wednesday. On Thursday I’m planning and writing, then on Friday I’m doing anything other than work. If the weather is OK I might go up a mountain, but it’s probably still too early in the year.


I make my living helping people and organisations become more productive in their use of technology.  If you’ve got something that you think I might be able to help with, please do get in touch! Email: hello@nulldynamicskillset.com

Weeknote 04/2017

This week I’ve been:

Next week, I’ll be working from home on Monday and Tuesday, and then heading back to Jersey to work with Victoria College.


I make my living helping people and organisations become more productive in their use of technology.  If you’ve got something that you think I might be able to help with, please do get in touch! hello@nulldynamicskillset.com

Weeknote 03/2017

This week I’ve been:

  • Ill. Mostly over last weekend, really, but I felt pretty rough on Monday. Just a cold (I can’t pretend it was ‘flu’ given I always get my shot) but I was glad to get rid of it!
  • Sending out Thought Shrapnel, my weekly newsletter. Ostensibly it’s about education, technology, and productivity, but really it’s me trying to make sense of the many and varied things I’ve ready over the past week. Issue 242 included many things, including why ‘screen time’ is a useless concept.
  • Supporting a webinar, the second of a series from We Are Open Co-op and Educators Co-op. This one was on designing an effective badging website, led by Steve Regur, with help from Laura Hilliger and me. You can catch the recording and a short write-up via this post.
  • Travelling for the first time in 2017, this time to Jersey. I’ve got plenty coming up over the next few weeks…
  • Working with staff at Victoria College on their digital strategy. The staff are lovely there, they really are.
  • Reading more of Deep Work by Cal Newport and starting Luc P. Beaudoin’s Cognitive Productivity. I’m more impressed with the former than the latter.
  • Announcing a BADGE BOOTCAMP  in London on February 15th. Spread the word!
  • Making changes to, and launching the WordPress version of, our new church website. Straightforward stuff, but just takes time.
  • Putting the final things in place around upcoming trips to Geneva and Rome with new clients.
  • Sending out Issue #002 of Badge News, a roundup of news for the Open Badges community.
  • Writing:

Next week I’m working from home, setting up my new laptop (which should arrive on Monday) and then heading to London for BETT. I’ll be there on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. If you’ll be there, send me a tweet! (@dajbelshaw)


I earn my living helping people and organisations become more productive in their use of technology.  If you’ve got something that you think I, or the co-op I’m part of may be able to help with, please do get in touch! Email addresses below:

Image CC0 Tomo Nogi

Weeknote 02/2017

This week I’ve been:

  • Inundated with requests to run workshops, deliver keynotes, and become a critical friend to projects. From London, to Rome, Toronto, Belfast, and a place I’d never previously heard of in Germany, it would seem that everyone’s back to work and wants my services.
  • Putting together proposals for the above. Pricing is hard, especially when the client only sees the delivery and not the preparation.
  • Getting back into rhythms, including sending out the latest issue of Thought Shrapnel, my weekly newsletter. I was delighted when so many people kindly bought me a coffee in recognition for the value they get from it. Dai Barnes and I also recorded the first episode of the Today In Digital Education (TIDE) podcast of 2017.
  • Trying to take it a bit easier, partly because I’m still getting up-to-speed after Christmas and my digital hiatus, but also because I’m travelling on and off for the next few weeks.
  • Helping a client through our ongoing relationship where I provide critical friend services. I find these conversations extremely valuable, and it seems my clients do, too.
  • Finalising the details of the I HAVE A DREAM ABOUT BADGES webinar we’re running with Educators Co-op next Monday at 16:00 UTC. Details can be found on We Are Open’s webinars page.
  • Following Nigel Slater’s spiced lentil soup recipe, which actually turned out quite well. Along with practising the piano most days, I’m trying to cook at least once a week this year.
  • Celebrating my grandmother’s 93rd birthday and my daughter’s 6th birthday. They were quite… different in the energy levels required, shall we say!
  • Making minor tweaks to my Dynamic Skillset website.
  • Planning an upcoming ‘Badge Bootcamp’ workshop that We Are Open is running in London on February 15th. We’re not officially launching this until Monday, so I can neither confirm nor deny that clicking here will help you get one of the Early Bird tickets.
  • Trying to retain my Zen-like calm when dealing with PayPal, who have placed obscure, Kafka-esque restrictions on our co-op account in recent weeks, for no apparent reason. We’ve finally got it sorted. Hopefully.
  • Creating a ‘what is a co-op?’ page for our We Are Open website. I need to update the placeholder kitten images, but you can see what I’ve done.
  • Re-drafting the script for Chapter 3 of #uppingyourgame: a practical guide to personal productivity. I actually wrote the original back at the end of November, but Google Keep lost it due to a syncing conflict. Suffice to say, I am now no longer using Google Keep.
  • Writing:

Next week, I’m working from home on Monday at Tuesday, travelling on Wednesday, and then working with Victoria College in Jersey on Thursday/Friday.

If you’ve got something that you think we might be can help with, please do get in touch! Email addresses below:

Image CC0 Christoffer Engström

Weeknote 01/2017

I had a great hiatus and have begun the year fully refreshed and ready to get on with stuff. December is an important month for me each year, as it not only features my birthday and Christmas, but my self-imposed absence from usual routines means I get to reflect more deeply on who I am and what I stand for. I’ll write more about what that means in practice (if I don’t, nudge me!)

Anyway, this week has been a four-day week due to the public holiday in England on Monday. I’ve been:

  • Re-connecting with people, both on Twitter and in our Slack channel. It’s been good to be away, but it’s also great to be back among familiar faces.
  • Sending out Issue #240 of Thought Shrapnel, my weekly newsletter. I’d considered changing the frequency of this, but I settled on just changing the layout and format a bit. It includes links to posts I wrote on other people’s sites during December.
  • Selling lots of stuff on eBay, as I transition away from proprietary, locked-down stuff. Gone is my Chromebook Pixel (eBay), my Mac Mini (eBay), Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (to my son), and Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (to my wife). In their place I’m using a OnePlus One (as it has an unlocked bootloader), a bq Cervantes Touch Light (Linux-based, accepts SD card to store my DRM-stripped Kindle purchases), and my trusty Lenovo X220 Thinkpad until I decide which Linux laptop to get next…
  • Putting together Badge News, a brand new, bi-weekly newsletter from We Are Open Co-op. It’s made possible thanks to some foundational sponsorship and includes the latest updates on the Open Badges specification, featured articles from the community, and details of upcoming events. The first issue went out today!
  • Collaborating and planning with Educators Co-op for an upcoming webinar on badge platform/website design (16:00 UTC, January 16th).
  • Testing out and finalising an automated Open Badges course that Laura Hilliger and I  started after the We Are Open Co-op meetup in December. More on that soon — we don’t want to launch it at the same time as Badge News, as that would just confuse people. We’re also discussing the possibility of sponsorship for this, too.
  • Attending the first community call of the Open Recognition Alliance.
  • Discussing potential work with a UK government department. More on that soon, hopefully.
  • Finalising plans for trips to Jersey, London (I’m at BETT on the Friday afternoon and Saturday), and Geneva over the next month. I’m hopefully heading to Canada towards the end of April, too.
  • Changing the avatar I use online, as I do at the start of every year. You can see it on my Twitter account or start here page if you’re interested. Whereas the one I used in 2016 was ‘business Doug’, this one is ‘on top of a mountain Doug’.  I also took the opportunity to update my description of what I do: “help people and organisations become more productive in their use of technology”.
  • Writing:

Next week I’m at home for my grandmother’s and daughter’s birthdays. I’ve got plenty of stuff to get set up for this year, and from the week after I’m travelling every week for a few weeks.

I’m very much looking forward to this year! April will mark two years of my becoming a consultant, and 1st May will be the first anniversary of We Are Open Co-op. If you’ve got something that you think we might be can help with, please do get in touch! Email addresses below:

Image CC0 Neslihan Gunaydin

Weeknote 47/2016

This week I’ve been:

Next week I’m working from home on Monday morning, and then travelling to London in the afternoon. From there, I’ll be working with Sussex Downs College on Tuesday, then heading to Jersey again on Wednesday to work with Victoria College on Thursday/Friday.

A reminder that #BelshawBlackOps16 Pt.2 begins next week. That means that this is my final weeknote of the year!

Weeknote 46/2016

This week I’ve been:

  • Missing my Kindle Paperwhite, which I left on a flight last week. I was so keen to get home, I left it in the pocket of the seat in front of me. That’s really thrown out my daily reading regime, which has had a knock-on effect on the rest of each day this week. It just goes to show the power of routines!
  • Reading, writing, and thinking about things that aren’t quite ready for public consumption yet.
  • Meeting with various people, including a representative of the Education department in Jersey, Sarah Horrocks from London CLC, Wayne Skipper of Concentric Sky,  my We Are Open colleagues, and Steve Regur from Educators Co-op.
  • Sleeping more than usual. I’m tired. It’s that time of year. I prefer the weather in the UK during British Summer Time, to be honest. I’m looking forward to my December hiatus.
  • Pitching a newsletter to potential sponsors. I’m either retiring, or re-imagining my Thought Shrapnel newsletter in 2017 as I want to focus in on key areas rather than provide one ‘general’ newsletter.
  • Recording and releasing Episode 69 (‘Liar, Liar, Facebook on Fire’) of Today In Digital Education, my weekly podcast with co-host Dai Barnes.  This week we discussed Facebook, the US election, and algorithms (main topic) as well as encrypting your life, Elon Musk, co-operative schools, and Finnish education. You can join the community to discuss this episode of TIDE in our Slack channel!
  • Sending out Issue #237 of Doug Belshaw’s Thought Shrapnel, my weekly newsletter loosely focused on education, technology, and productivity. It featured, among other things, taking election results like a Stoic, and competing with yourself. Many thanks to Makers Academy for sponsorship!
  • Setting up a Google Hangout for our Why badges? webinar next Tuesday. It’s We Are Open’s first collaboration with Educators Co-op!
  • Leaving Facebook. I’ve had enough. Again. I’m also looking at moving my personal email to ProtonMail and generally protecting myself in the wake of Trump’s impending control of the NSA.

Next week looks like this: On Monday I’m drafting my monthly posts for DML Central and The Nasstarian, as well as writing posts for the management section of NewCo Shift. Tuesday is ‘co-op day’ for We Are Open, so Laura, John, Bryan, and I will be collaborating all day on projects and plans. We’re also running the webinar mentioned above. Then, on Wednesday, I head to Jersey, visiting a school on the island that afternoon. On Thursday and Friday I’m working on digital strategy stuff with Victoria College.

I’ve got some availability week beginning 12th December for workshops, writing, and coaching. Get in touch if I can help!

Weeknote 45/2016

This week I’ve been:

Next week, I’ll be mostly at home, writing. Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with!

Emailhello@nulldynamicskillset.com

Image CC BY David Blaikie

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