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Every now and again I come across an academic quote which I spend numerous hours trying to interpret. This is not because of the academic vocabulary being used or the difficulty of the subject matter of the quote. The reason I reflect on it for so long is that I am trying to bring it from the pages of the book into my everyday practice. 

From book to practice

Neil Selwyn is a prolific writing about technology and education. I have read much of his work and there is one quote which really stands out for me. I actually have it on my office whiteboard, right next to the door and as I leave my office I see it and reflect on it.

It's not about using technology to do things differently. It is about using technology to do different things

Doing different things...

Despite some people’s objections, I like to consider myself as an innovator. Supporting this claim, I actually wrote my thoughts about allowing innovators the opportunity to spread their wings and, well, innovate! 

What I have been considering recently is am I actually doing different things or am I just doing things differently? In order to see whether I am actually on track with Selwyn’s quote, I thought it would be beneficial to examine some of the current projects and see which part of his quote I actually correlate to.

My different things

In my professional life, I currently have two podcasts which I record, edit and produce. The first is one I co-create with students and tutors. This is a monthly podcast which is recorded with students and tutors and discusses educational issues. This does not exist in any other form, apart from the podcast. This means that it can’t possibly be something done differently, and so must be a different thing. I am claiming that as a positive!

The second is what I call a ‘seasonal’ podcast. What I mean by this is that it does not actually go out on a regular basis but is only produced when a certain thing is happening.

Every year the students go on placement and in order to support and stay in touch with them I record a weekly podcast for them to listen to on a Friday, preferably on their way home from placement. Although we always support our students on placement, the podcast serves this and additional purposes. Often I feel that it is just providing a friendly voice to hear from university, especially if the student has returned home for their placement.

As well as a weekly update on tasks that need to be completed, I answer questions, provide some teaching ideas and, at the end of each episode, I provide some motivational talk.

Again, this only exists in the podcast form so I consider this a different thing as well.

It would appear that I am actually doing different things with technology rather than just doing things differently. 


I have a confession to make. When I first started writing this blog post, I was resigned to the fact that I was not doing anything differently. However, the more I thought about things and reflected and wrote, the more I realised that I am fulfilling Selwyn’s quote within my everyday practice.

I have more examples to share with you as well as the possible impact that doing different things could have on learners themselves.

If you are interested in reading about these, then why not bookmark the blog or sign up for the monthly newsletter? And don’t forget that I have an active twitter and Facebook page – just follow the links in the header.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!


being different
Supportive and Motivated

"As an educator, Ian is highly supportive, motivated and passionate. Over the past two years as a student, I have been inspired by his teaching, enthusiasm and skill and have loved working with him on a couple of different projects.  Ian has also offered copious emotional support over the past few months; I have relied on him to help me and he has."

UG Student

Categories: General


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