Because obviously I’m a male chauvinist pig.

Last week I keynoted the DeFT OER dissemination conference. I enjoyed the event, received good feedback afterwards and thought it was well-received. Certainly no-one raised any major issues either in the opportunities for question-and-answer, nor during the rest of the day when I was visible and around to talk to those in the audience.

That’s why this blog post (on the official JISC-funded project blog) caught me by surprise. Now, I know that what I probably should do is ignore or perhaps downplay it. But I’m not going to, because I’m actually outraged that the author feels like she can get away with misrepresenting me in this way. You can find out what I actually said (I recorded it) by going to my conference blog.

I now have the ‘my mother test’. My mother reached the grand old age of sixty a few months ago and now if I can explain it to my mother, then I think that the average person can understand it. So I thought how could I explain ‘openness’ to my mother in a way that she could understand? Because ‘Open Educational Resources’ is kind of a supply-side term.

Note that I equate my mother with ‘the average person’. The author fails to quote me at any time in the post, claiming that I’ve ‘dissed’ my elders (particularly my mother). Why, she wonders, did I use a female example here?

I’ll tell you why.

I used my grandmother as an example of a digital refusnik because both my grandfathers died before I was five, and she’s the only person of that generation that I know well enough to comment upon. I used my mother as an example not because she’s female but because my father has perhaps slightly more advanced skills than others of that generation. I also showed a video at one point showing the (male) rapper DMX as an example of someone who’s less than digitally literate. But he’s black, so presumably I’m a racist as well as a misogynist.

Using the not-so-subtle device of rhetorical questioning the post goes on to ask whether it was fair that I implied that my mother was intellectually challenged. Really? Is this not just a case of someone getting on their hobby horse and riding it off into the distance (whilst I’m left stranded on a scapegoat)? I’m genuinely shocked that, if they felt so strongly about the issue, they didn’t raise it with me on the day.

So I’m not overly-deferent to my elders. So I don’t venerate academia. So I don’t engage in hand-wringing over the gender of the examples I give.

So what?



Yesterday I emailed some people who I thought would be interested in the Mozilla Festival. But then I realised, pretty much everyone who reads my blog would be (or should be!) interested in it.

Seeking Educators Who Get the Web: Let’s work together at MozFest!

If you’re an educator, instructor or student working at the intersection of learning and the web, Mozilla wants to work with you at MozFest. Education and digital literacy are a key focus of this year’s Mozilla Festival in London, Nov 9 – 11.

The goal: unlock the full educational potential of the web, help learners move from digital consumption to digital creation, and grow a global movement for teaching web literacy to the world. You can learn more or register at

Key sessions and themes for educators:

What are we inviting you to do?

1) Bring your expertise, curriculum and content

  • Contribute your educational expertise to MozFest themes like badges, mobile, coding for kids, hackable games and digital literacy.
  • Bring your existing digital literacy projects, curriculum and content. Connect with colleagues and  leaders to refine your project, further your educational goals, and  share resources.

2) Bring students and youth

  • This year’s Festival includes an entire theme of sessions and activities just for youth, including a game arcade and content from Hive NYC, WYNC’s Radio Rookies, DigitalMe, O2 Think Big, Global Action Project and more.

3) Help build Webmaker tools and resources

  • Collaborate with Mozilla. We want to build a “big tent” of like-minded edudcators to teach the world the web.
  • Learn more about and help shape the future of Webmaker tools, projects and curriculum.

How do I get involved?

You can register here now:

There are also complimentary tickets to the Festival available for educators or instructors who:

  • bring youth or students with them
  • bring specific ideas, projects or lessons they want to share and work on at MozFest
  • volunteer to run mini-sessions at the Festival
  • spread the word about the Festival and Webmaker to your networks
  • volunteer to act as a youth manager for a few hours

Interested? Get in touch here:

I’m looking forward to seeing you at MozFest! 🙂


Coming to an event near you…

Doug presenting

I’m not even three weeks into my role at the Mozilla Foundation, but it looks like I’m going to be spending a good deal of my time next academic year travelling, speaking and meeting people.

I want to tell as many people as possible about:

If they sound like the sort of things that you’d like to hear about it’s probably a good idea to tell me about your event sooner rather than later! 🙂

My Lanyrd profile

Image from an original CC BY-NC-SA foto_mania


Two presentations (#TELIC1 & #iDragon) [VIDEO]

[If you’re reading this in an RSS reader or by email you may need to click through to view the embedded media]

TELIC1: The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies from Doug Belshaw on Vimeo.

I was asked to do virtually keynote for Sheffield Hallam University’s TELIC student conference. You can see the result here or embedded above. Slides can be found here (over 10,000 views in 24 hours after being featured on the Slideshare homepage!)

In addition, I presented on Open Badges at the JISC RSC Scotland conference on Friday. It was livestreamed so I’m guessing there’ll be a video recording somewhere. Until then, slides here or embedded below!


DML Conference 2012 (#DML2012) – my highlights

danah boyd at #DML2012

I’ve spent the last week in that weird and wonderful place that is San Francisco. Weird because, well, the number of homeless and obviously mentally ill is quite staggering. Wonderful due to the weather, friendliness of the people, and the obvious unstinting commitment to liberal democracy.

My reason for being there was the Digital Media and Learning Conference 2012 (#DML2012), something I was invited to attend as a writer for the DMLcentral blog. Whilst I was there I also helped judge the DML Competition around Open Badges, which was a privilege and a pleasure. More about that another time, perhaps.

I wrote a day-by-day overview of my experiences at #DML2012 over at my conference blog:

However, I wanted to take 500 words or so here to go through my highlights. I’m all about convenient hypocrisies when their useful so, for the sake of this post, I’m using a ‘Top 5’ construct. Here’s my top five takeaways from #DML2012.

1. Meeting people

The whole point of conferences is to meet other people and talk about important stuff. I was delighted to meet people I’ve interacted with online for years for the first time face-to-face, such as Bud Hunt, and people who have come onto my radar over the last year or so like Audrey Watters, Rafi Santo, Jeff Brazil, and Richard Scullin. The Mozilla crowd (Mark Surman, Erin Knight, Matt Thompson, Jess Klein) were there, of course, as was Cathy Davidson.

I managed to snag an enjoyable conversation with Howard Rheingold, but didn’t dare approach danah boyd or Henry Jenkins. Thankfully I got to hang out with Richard Mills, a PhD student who is being funded as part of the DML Badges research strand, as well as Jamie and JP from BuzzMath, which more than made up for it. 🙂

2. Launch of the DML Connected Learning initiative

DML launched their Connected Learning initiative at the conference along with Spigot (a news aggregator). I could attempt to explain these in detail, but it’s probably easier if you just head over the respective sites to take a look and get involved!

3. John Seely Brown’s keynote

I thought it started slowly, but by the end, John Seely Brown’s opening keynote had me captivated and buzzing with ideas. You can watch Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Learner in the 21st Century below:

4. Connie Yowell’s eloquence

As I currently work for an organisation that is part of a larger one that funds projects (JISC), I’m always interested in the rationale behind how money is distributed. Connie Yowell from the MacArthur Foundation, a philanthropic charitable organisation gave a wonderful, lucid, coherent and incisive display on the panel during Day 2. Her reasoning was so fantastic it put the other panellists in the shade, I thought.

More on that panel in my Day 2 write-up.

5. Ignite presentations

Having put my name forward for an Ignite talk at #DML2012 I was surprised and delighted when first of all it was accepted, and then second, I was to present to the entire conference. Wow. There must have been close to 1,000 people in the room when I gave the following talk:

My fellow Ignite-rs (20 slides, 15 seconds, auto-advanced) were just delightful. A highly recommended format!


As you can probably tell, I had a ball at #DML2012 and can’t wait for #DML2013 in Chicago. I’m going to get there by hook or by crook! I’d like to thank DML very much for making it possible to be there, and HASTAC for inviting me to be on the judging panel for the DML Badges competition (which is another blog post in itself!)