Tag: blogging (page 1 of 2)

An experiment in using LinkedIn Pulse for blogging

Last year I rather publicly deleted my LinkedIn profile and then, just before launching my consultancy business, hastily resurrected it. This was entirely for pragmatic reasons in the same way that I also using Google Apps for Work and continue to use Twitter despite their IPO-induced shenanigans.

However, since their acquisition of Lynda.com in April, I’ve actually been pretty impressed in (what seems like) the new direction LinkedIn are heading. Instead of being a glorified, shiny front end for a digital address book, they’re actually making life easier for professionals. I can honestly say it’s providing value for me that I don’t get elsewhere.

Take LinkedIn Pulse, for example. I was pretty unhappy when they pulled the previous iteration of this, as I found it a useful place to search on specific keywords. However, what they’ve replaced it with (‘up to speed in one news feed’) is a pretty decent blogging platform and discovery service. It allows you to serve up content specifically tailored for a particular audience in a place that they’re more likely to see it.

On my train journey home from London just now I wrote a post on LinkedIn entitled From Open Badges to learning pathways. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while it’s nothing earth-shatteringly new. But for those new to badges, or for those not from a learning/education/teaching background, it may be of help. Sometimes it’s explaining things that seem almost self-evident that can be most useful.

I’ll be curious to see how it goes down. LinkedIn Pulse seems like a useful tool to target a specific audience. But you needn’t worry about this blog: I certainly won’t be stopping my posts here anytime soon!

CC BY Sheila Scarborough

I may not be subtle, but I am now @Svbtle

Hurray! I’ve started a new blog!


You should go and subscribe to the RSS feed.

Don’t worry, I’m not abandoning this blog! I’m using the literaci.es domain and blogging on the Svbtle platform mainly to get outside of the echo chamber a bit. I want to take edtech-related stuff (and specifically my Mozilla-related work) to tech people who may not have heard of it yet.

Stay tuned. 🙂

What I Learned at #MobilityShifts last week in NYC.

I spent last week in New York at the Mobility Shifts conference. No, I wasn’t there on JISC business; I took some annual leave and got there thanks to the generosity of Scott McLeod, Director of CASTLE. In return, Scott gets my undying gratitude and the following blog posts:

I’d usually put this on my conference blog but, well, I spent longer than usual crafting these posts and they constitute a body of work that (albeit predicated on the thoughts of others) I think you should go and read.

Only got time to read one of these posts? Try Day 5 featuring my interview with Cathy Davidson! 🙂

Why I’m starting to blog at DMLcentral


In two weeks’ time I’ll be in Dubai with my Dad and sister for a final celebration of his time in the UAE working for the SSAT. It should also, all things being equal, be a celebration of my having finished my doctoral thesis, having started my studies over six years ago.

The thesis is on the subject of digital literacies and, I believe, not only is a useful overview of the development of the digital and new literacies arena, but contributes a model of how to develop digital literacies which should be pragmatically useful. Since 2007 I’ve been updating dougbelshaw.com/thesis as I have written and updated each chapter. Recently, I also started a new blog at literaci.es.

One blog that came at some speed onto my radar in the last couple of years is DMLcentral, a project funded by the McArthur Foundation in the US:

DML Central is the online presence for the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub located at the systemwide University of California Humanities Research Institute and hosted at the UC Irvine campus. Digital media practices are fundamentally reshaping society in far-reaching ways, especially in how people all around the world are learning and connecting with one another.

Across the globe, an ever-expanding number of researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, industry, scholars and youth are exploring the boundaries and possibilities of digital media and the networked world of the twenty-first century.

At DML Central, we want to do all we can to fuel that exploration – to enable break-through collaborations and evoke illuminating conversations that lead to innovations in learning and public participation.

There’s some well-known individuals in the field of new literacies and media who blog for DMLcentral – you may have heard of danah boyd, Howard Rheingold, and Aleks Krotoski for example. The About page also demonstrates the partnership between DMLcentral and Futurelab, and organization with whom I’ve worked before.

Seeing a synergy between my own research and DMLcentral, I sent a speculative email to the team expressing a desire to contribute to the blog. I’m delighted to say that they were enthusiastic about the idea and after some discussions I’ll be contributing my first post next month.

I’ll still be blogging here and the other various places online I mentioned in this previous post (which also details an easy way to keep up with all of my writing and research!)

[INCOMING] Personal digital hiatus.

Three years ago, at the end of 2007, I took a hiatus. Inspired by Stephen Downes, I realised needed a break from the stream. It’s time I took another one, but for different reasons. This time I’m taking a cue from danah boyd who explains her position well:

Years ago, I realized that there was no way to take a vacation and manage the always-on, always-in-contact lifestyle that technology affords. Initially, I thought that it’d be possible to simply ignore email while on vacation and deal with it afterwards but I realized that this was untenable. It takes months to catch up on thousands of emails and I’d come back and immediately burn out again trying to catch up.

She goes on to add that “disappearing without properly making certain that everyone has what they need is irresponsible and disrespectful.” That’s why I’m giving advanced notice that I’m going on a personal digital hiatus from Friday 17th December 2010 until Monday 10th January 2011.

In practice this means that during this period:

  • I won’t reply to any email (and any email I do receive will be deleted).
  • I’m uncontactable via Twitter.
  • I won’t be blogging or moderating comments.

If you need to get hold of me, there’s two options: phone me (if you haven’t got my numbers already, you don’t need them) or contact me at work (until 21st December / after 4th January)

I’ll keep on clipping the occasional article I come across, but I’m intending to swear off Twitter, email and blogging for three weeks, during which time my wife will almost certainly give birth to our daughter. If that isn’t reason enough, I’ll also be doing the following:

  1. Getting back into shape. The snow has knocked my exercise regime for six.
  2. Producing ‘Best of Belshaw: 2010’
  3. Working on my Ed.D. thesis
  4. Thinking hard about the future.
  5. Spending time with my Dad (back from the UAE for Christmas)

So, if you’ve got something to ask of me, best ask before Friday. Please. 🙂

Blogging: 5 things I’ve learned in 5 years.

5 Years

I realised at the weekend that it’s been about 5 years since I started blogging properly, having got into my groove sometime in November 2005. Back then, as a classroom teacher, I wrote at teaching.mrbelshaw.co.uk about education and educational technology. What got me started was reading and commenting on the high-quality blogs of a small number of international educators, the dilution of which I lamented a few years later.

In the past 5 years I’ve gone from History teacher to E-Learning Staff Tutor to Director of E-Learning to working at JISC infoNet. I’ve also cultivated increasing amounts of stubble, as this video of me as a 24 year-old demonstrates! Hopefully, as I’ve read, learned and understood more about the world, my style of writing has improved. Well, one can hope.

The following are the things that I think anyone with a blog would do well to heed. I’d be interested in your take. 😀

1. Comment count != quality

The quality of a blog post has almost nothing to do with the number of comments you get – and everything to do with the zeitgeist, the way you phrase questions and how you structure your blog.

2. How to get more readers

To get more people visiting your blog, go and comment on other people’s and autotweet your blog posts via Twitter. This works up to a point, after which you can either keep it real or become a cynical marketing machine. I prefer content over style. Most of the time. 😉

3. WordPress and Bluehost rock

I’ve tried lots of different blogging platforms and webhosts, but have found WordPress to consistently do what I want of it and Bluehost [affiliate link] to be cheap, feature-filled and rock-solid.

4. Have an ‘ideas garden’

I’ve blatantly appropriated this term from someone who used it in conversation with me a while ago. Sorry if that was you – I try to credit the sources of ideas I share as well as images I use. An ideas garden is simply a collection of draft blog posts that you come back to, adding pictures, further ideas, etc. until they form whole posts. It can also stop you ranting when you’re in a bad mood. :-p

5. Digital footprint

I used to have a link to my curriculum vitae on my blog but, in fact, the whole thing is a digital portfolio, with my last three positions secured to a great extent because of my online presence. SEO is important, as is attempting to control the first page of Google search results (so that they’re all positive): my digital footprint is more important to me than my credit score. Fact.

Image CC BY Michael Ruiz

Weeknote #11

This week I have been mostly…

In hospital

First of all we had a bit of a scare with Hannah’s pregnancy. The risk of the baby being born with Downs Syndrome was elevated from 1/1000 to 1/28. She had an amniocentisis (which means she needs to take it easy for a couple of weeks) but everything’s fine. Oh, and it’s a girl! (due late December) 🙂

And then, whilst at nursery on Thursday, Ben decided it would be a great idea to stick a chickpea up his left nostril. Cue my coming home from work early. Two hospitals, three doctors, some pinning down from Daddy and a bloody nose later, it was out! I don’t think he’ll do that again…


They say things comes in threes and that no buses tend to all come at once. It’s the same with me presenting. I’ve got three in the space of a week – yesterday I demoed the OER infoKit at the Open International Resources International Symposium.

Next Tuesday I’m presenting to a JISC Advance comms group about the benefits of Google Apps, then it’s Google Teacher Academy on Thursday. Awesome.


Whilst I’m no longer committed to blogging every day, it would seem that being free to post every day (and not necessarily with images) means I might as well be!

I’ve also been experimenting with Posterous, importing this blog to http://dajbelshaw.posterous.com. It was mainly an experiment (took 5 days, worked flawlessly) but it actually looks great and works really well. Hmmm….


Well, not since the BUPA Great North 10k, actually, but I was really pleased that I managed it in 49:30. That’s underneath the 50 minute target I set myself! My main target was to get around the course in under that time and at the end I felt I could have gone faster. I’m aiming for 45 minutes for the next one (although it’s a half-marathon next according to the plan)

Many thanks to those who sponsored me. Overall, including Gift Aid, UNICEF received over double the target amount! 🙂


To me, productivity is always productivity for something. I see no point in being productive simply for the sake of it. That’s because it’s all about outputs. The thing I love about working at JISC infoNet is that I’m ‘measured’ on what I produce, not how I go about doing it. In other words, I’m treated as a grown-up.
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How I put together ‘Things I Learned This Week’ [visualization]

Last week, Mark Warner asked how I put together my Things I Learned This Week posts every Sunday. It’s a week-long process, really, and one that benefits both author and reader. You get links that you may have missed, whilst it motivates me to read more than I would otherwise (and to bookmark and reflect upon it).

You may recognise the middle part from My Digital Reading Workflow. 😀

So, to summarize in bullet points:

  • I use a template to make sure I lay them out in a standard way (and to make it easier for me)
  • I read things via RSS (email) and ‘favorite’ things on Twitter, add to Instapaper, etc.
  • Interesting stuff is bookmarked with the week’s tag on Delicious (in this case TILTW9)
  • On Saturday evening and Sunday morning I choose the most interesting for each section to share in the post

Hope that helps! 🙂

The new blog order.

(image CC BY-NC Jeremy Brooks)

So here’s the plan. To make blogging every day sustainable, I need a system. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Monday Motivation – hints, ideas and tips about productivity, motivational quotes and the like.
  • Tuesday Tech. – an update on edtech stuff and related musings.
  • Wednesday Wisdom – a mashup of Creative Commons-licensed photos and quotations from Balthasar Gracián’s The Art of Worldly Wisdom.
  • Thursday Thesis – parts of, or ideas, related to my Ed.D. thesis.
  • Friday Fun – some end-of-the-working-week light heartedness, fun and random stuff.
  • Saturday Stats – an opportunity for me to post things related to visualization and infographics.
  • Sunday Scientia – the new name for Things I Learned This Week (‘Scientia’ is Latin for ‘knowledge’)

Thoughts? It may mean I need to change the categories around a bit… 🙂