The BYOD4L Experience

Bring Your Own Device For Learning (hereafter BYOD4L) is a fully open course, that ran from Monday 14th July to Friday 18th July (inclusive) 2014, and which was designed to run fully on smart devices, aiming to present an immersive learning experience that encourages active experimentation and discovery learning (Nerantzi and Beckingham, 2014). During a series of facilitated activities, the participants were encouraged, over the course of the five days, to: connect, communicate, curate, collaborate, and create, by sharing and working with others across a variety of social media platforms.

Participating in BYOD4L as both a facilitator and a contributor, I found the engagement with different learning and teaching practitioners from across the globe to be an extremely beneficial experience that exposed me to a variety of different teaching methodologies, as well as giving me the opportunity to share my own best practices and to further formulate their integration into a learning environment.

As a new academic, I am currently studying for my Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), which I aim to continue into a Masters in Academic Practice. As part of my PGCAP I will be utilising FLEX, which as an open CPD enables me to select and engage in different activities, that are directly beneficial to the development of my teaching and learning practices. I am using my experiences with BYOD4L to contribute towards my FLEX credits, and it is great to be able to “double badge” something that I would have been participating in anyway.

Perhaps the biggest lesson that I learnt from my BYOD4L experiences was that being pushed in at the deep end (as I occasionally was) can result in great experiential learning opportunities. In my own teaching practices this has reiterated my belief that I should not be afraid to place more trust in my students, and to sometimes push them beyond what I perceive to be their relative comfort zones, because as stated by Dewey (1910, pp 340), “the business of education might be defined as an emancipation and enlargement of experience.”

Sam Illingworth is a lecturer in Science Communication and Public Engagement in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. For more about his teaching journey and practices please visit his blog at:


Dewey, J. 1910. (1991 edition) How We Think. New York: Prometheus Books.

Nerantzi, C. & Beckingham, S. 2014. Bring Your Own – Our Magical Open Box to Enhance Individuals, Learning Ecologies. In:  Jackson, N. & Willis, J. eds. Lifewide Learning and Education in Universities and Colleges E-Book. [Online] Available from: – invited chapter



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About truehamlet

Hello! I am a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication. My current research involves looking at ways in which science can be used to empower society. In particular I use poetry and games to help establish dialogue between scientists and non-scientists.

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