Open Thinkering


Month: March 2016

Weeknote 12/2016

This week I’ve been:

Next week I’ll be taking Monday off as it’s a Bank Holiday in the UK, and then down in London working with City & Guilds on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m trying to work a little less over the next couple of weeks as my wife and children are on Easter holidays. 

Are alternative approaches such as gamification and badging effective in increasing engagement, retention, and achievement?

Today I’ve been in Birmingham presenting at the AoC Learning Technology conference on behalf of City & Guilds. I made an audio recording of the 20-minute presentation to go along with my slides. You’ll have to manually advance, but it should be fairly obvious when to hit ‘next’!


No audio above? Click here

Weeknote 11/2016

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #206 of Doug Belshaw’s Thought Shrapnel, my weekly newsletter loosely focused on education, technology, and productivity. This week it included links about neuromyths in education, encryption, and work chat anti-hype.
  • Recording and releasing Episode 42 (‘Neuromyth Anti-Hype’) of the Today In Digital Education podcast, my weekly podcast with co-host Dai Barnes. This week we talked about the nature of knowledge work, a new book about ‘sprints’, gun control, Chinese education, Kanye West, and more! You can discuss TIDE in our Slack channel.
  • In London for a couple of days working with City & Guilds. My wife, Hannah, came down with me this time. I worked on the Open Badges project that I’ll hopefully be able to talk about soon, gave some advice about digital skills qualifications, worked on the slidedeck for a presentation I’m giving next week, and recorded a voice over for an upcoming trio of badge videos.
  • Buying some new kit. While I’m going to keep my trusty Lenovo ThinkPad X220 running elementaryOS for our children to use, I’ve made a couple of eBay purchases. For £400 each, I picked up a 2011 Mac Mini Server i7 to use in my home office, and a 2013 Chromebook Pixel. On the latter I’m planning to run both ChromeOS and Ubuntu. I’m hoping this setup gives me the best of both worlds!
  • Running the last Computing Club of the term at my children’s school as there’s no clubs in the last week. I’m waiting to hear back as to whether it will continue in the summer term. Either way, the school has now got Code Combat on the curriculum, and some code warriors to help novices!
  • Caught up with John Bevan to discuss co-operatives, with Bill Gibbon for some advice and guidance, Wayne Skipper from Concentric Sky about badges, Safwan Hak about his company’s upcoming sponsorship of my newsletter. I also met with a solicitor to start drawing up some contracts….
  • Reading the excellent new book from Google Ventures: Sprint: how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. Highly recommended!
  • Updating the Dynamic Skillset website with a placeholder image from Bryan Mathers. New site coming in April, once I’ve made sure I’ve got my ducks in a row self-organising ducks.
  • Looking after my children on Thursday afternoon after their school was being used for council elections (really, in 2016?). I don’t know what the voters did, but on Friday there were ‘severe drainage problems’ meaning that school was also closed on Friday. We went climbing trees and I challenged my five year-old daughter to go higher than she has before!
  • Discussing the logistics and details of my upcoming keynote at the Groningen Declaration meeting in South Africa in May. I’ll be representing the BadgeChain group.
  • Pondering some of the great insights in the latest issue of New Philosopher. It’s focus is on technology, and it’s made me think carefully about some of my own practices.
  • Visiting Studio West school in Newcastle. It was actually good that my won was off school, as it gave him a chance to see a different way to do education from the age of 13 onwards! I wrote a brief blog post about my visit here.
  • Finishing Season 4 of House of Cards. Hannah and I are looking for our next series to watch, if anyone’s got recommendations? Otherwise, we’ll default to Season 5 of Homeland.
  • Writing:

Next week includes Good Friday, so I’m only going to end up with half a ‘Doug day’. I’ll be working three days for City & Guilds, speaking on their behalf at the AoC Learning Technology conference in Birmingham on Tuesday, before heading to London for an RSA summit on their City of Learning project. I’ve got a meeting with John Bevan and a representative of Co-ops UK. I’ll be in London until Thursday night.