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Last updated: December 2019


Doug Belshaw

I’m Doug Belshaw, an open strategist with a deep background in education and also in organisational change. In other words, I’m an educator, technologist, researcher, and advocate for openness and transparency. I now work full-time with my We Are Open Co-op colleagues after spending two years taking the MoodleNet project from zero to one.

In previous guises I’ve worked on Open Badges and web literacy for Mozilla and on mobile learning, digital literacies, and Open Educational Resources for Jisc. Before that I was a History teacher and Director of E-Learning across a nine-site, all-age Academy.

My doctoral thesis (2012) was on digital literacies and I’ve written an e-book and given a TEDx talk on the subject.

I write here mainly about education, technology and productivity. Other places I write include (commentary), (new literacies-related), and (more philosophical).

You can get updates to every blog post I publish via RSS, by following me on Twitter and LinkedIn, or by subscribing to BelshawBot on Telegram.

I use a private Slack channel and Mastodon to talk to other like-minded people online, as I’m kind of done with providing data to ad-supported social networks that only serve to enrich venture capitalists and shareholders.

I’ve got a newsletter called Thought Shrapnel which goes out every Sunday to around 1,500 people. The links I come across for that newsletter get pushed out to my Telegram channel called ‘Thought Shrapnel Live!’

Until the untimely passing of my co-host, Dai Barnes, we recorded a regular podcast called Today In Digital Education (TIDE). The archive of the episodes from 2015 to 2019 remain available.

If you’re interested in my daily routine, I wrote about it in March 2017 here.

My most popular posts from each year since 2006 can be found below. For the last couple of years, these include ones from Thought Shrapnel.


  1. #RIPDai: in memory of a good friend
  2. What we need is an Open Badges community renaissance, free of IMS involvement
  3. The best place to be is somewhere else?
  4. Let’s (not) let children get bored again
  5. If you change nothing, nothing will change


  1. Bullshit receptivity scale
  2. The fate of private social networks
  3. On the death of Google/Apache Wave (and the lessons we can learn from it)
  4. Social internet vs social media
  5. Living an antifragile life


  1. 3 reasons I’ll not be returning to Twitter
  2. Friends don’t let friends use Facebook
  3. So it turns out that you can pretty much do whatever you like on your own website
  4. Against mass consumption of ‘already certified’ credentials
  5. How to build an architecture of participation


  1. 3 things I’ve learned from 200 weeks of sending out an email newsletter
  2. Utopia, pedagogy, and G-Suite for Education
  3. 7 approaches to educational technology integration
  4. Open Badges, BlockCerts, and high-stakes credentialing
  5. A new dawn for Open Badges


  1. Why I left teaching five years ago
  2. HOWTO: use GitHub Pages to host a bootstrap-themed website
  3. Today is my last day at Mozilla
  4. The three biggest (perceived) problems with Open Badges
  5. HOWTO: Trello Kanban


  1. Why I’m ditching Evernote for Simplenote (and Notational Velocity)
  2. HOWTO: Ditch Gmail for self-hosted webmail
  3. FirefoxOS v2.0 is possibly the easiest-to-use smartphone operating system I’ve experienced
  4. My morning routine
  5. The Web Literacy Standard is dead (long live the Web Literacy Map!)


  1. What I learned from turning my ‘Out of Office’ auto-replies on for a month
  2. Why I’m saying goodbye to Dropbox and hello to SpiderOak Hive
  3. Announcing the Web Literacy Standard (specification)
  4. A tribute to Chris Allan (@infernaldepart)
  5. Answering your questions about Open Badges


  1. Using Raspberry Pi and XBMC to build an ultra-cheap HTPC
  2. This is why teachers leave teaching
  3. Platforms as standards? 10 days with the Nokia N9.
  4. How I use a MacBook Pro (October 2012)
  5. How to make #openbadges work for you and your organisation


  1. How I Use a MacBook Pro (May 2011)
  2. What’s the opposite of ‘digital Taylorism’?
  3. The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies (#digilit)
  4. #ukedchat #fail: TES attempts takeover cover-up whilst Pearson muscles-in on grassroots Twitter teacher CPD
  5. 30 things I’ve learned in 30 years


  1. 5 characteristics of successful organisations
  2. 5 genuinely useful Twitter tools
  3. Google Apps (Education Edition) vs. Microsoft [email protected]
  4. 7 things the Bible taught me about productivity
  5. Things I learned this week – #1


  1. HOWTO: Add an RSS feed to Google Sites
  2. Are organizations like brains?
  3. Daniel Goleman on Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
  4. HOWTO: Present full-screen using Prezi and an Apple Remote [OSX]
  5. HOWTO: Tether an iPhone to a netbook running Jolicloud


  1. Page peel script
  2. How to upgrade your Nokia N95 to v12.x firmware and make it a whole lot better
  3. 5 ways to make ‘textbook lessons’ more interesting
  4. 4 reasons you should jailbreak your iPhone 3G
  5. What is a VLE?


  1. Nokia N95 tips, reviews and software all in one place
  2. Demotivational posters
  3. Apple iPhone vs Nokia N95
  4. My favourite LOLcats
  5. How NOT to upgrade your Xbox


  1. The purpose of education? It isn’t this…
  2. Some ideas about the structure of my thesis proposal essay
  3. Managing Organizational Change – diagram
  4. Barriers to teachers’ use of ICT
  5. Ed.D. Thesis Proposal Outline

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  1. Hi Doug, I was taught by your Father at Hirst High, he was a really important figure in my school life. He had huge faith in me on the sportsfield and I was captain of his very succesful school football team.
    i moved away from Ashington at 17 following a career in the Royal Navy.. I often think of the good times at school, and particularly the annual trip to Manchester.
    Please pass on my best wishes to you Father, and thank him for the positive effect he had on my teenage years. Im enjoying life!

    • Thanks Rob! I’m delighted to hear that. My Dad’s retired now, and still living in North Seaton. It’s great to think of the positive effect he’s had on so many people’s lives – including yours!

  2. Hi Doug, I am working on a project in a rural village in India, in association with barefootcollege (NGO).My work is inspired by your 8 Essential Elements of Digital Literacy.I am trying to empower the Children, who belong to very poor families and cannot afford school and also to children who don’t have the privilege of attending schools because of lack of infrastructure in their rural community.I am trying to imbibe in them these 8 essential elements through a proper curriculum, using digital tools like Ipads and portable projectors.As you had said I am remixing according to the context to give them the best.But I badly need help in the evaluation part.To measure as to what level do the children have these elements in them.Please, could you help me out!

    Thanks in advance!

  3. I was reading your post about using Slack for book groups, Do you have a paid version?

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