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I have been a longstanding fan of femedtech – some might say I have been ‘lurking’, or worse still, suffering from a case of ‘legitimate peripheral participation’ since its inception – but you’ll be pleased to know that, all the while, I have been silently watching and learning… This has resulted in the co-creation of a brand new Splot – Refugee Learning Stories – together with fellow femedtech follower, Gill Ryan (@Gill_ie).

Gill and I recently set off on a quest to find out how adult refugees and asylum seekers are learning using mobile and online technologies, as part of a collaborative research project we are doing. We are particularly interested in stories about learners and educators creating new learning spaces and approaches, where learning is a two-way street, where traditional hierarchies are challenged, and where both the learners and the educators are changed through the encounter. (This project arose out of our collaboration on the panel on Enabling equity and inclusion for asylum seekers and refugees through open education at OER19.)

Screenprint by George Sfougaras of a tree surrounded by calm water

Refugee Learning Stories logo: ‘Tree of hope’ by George Sfougaras

We debated where to start: there isn’t (yet) much academic literature published on this topic, and it’s difficult to get direct access to large numbers of displaced people using traditional research methods such as surveys or interviews. However, we know anecdotally of many initiatives taking place where refugees and asylum seekers are doing online courses, are learning from online resources such as YouTube or Wikipedia, or are using mobile technologies such as WhatsApp to support their learning. A Splot – just like this one set up by femedtech – seemed to be the perfect way to gather stories and resources from learners, teachers and other frontline workers who work in organisations that support displaced people.

And so today, at the start of #RefugeeWeek2019, we are thrilled to announce the launch of RefugeeLearningStories, where anyone can contribute their stories, reports, newsletters, videos and other resources related to adult refugees and asylum seekers learning online using mobile technologies.

Many thanks to @francesbell and @LornaMCampbell for the inspiration, and to @cogdog (Alan Levine, Splot creator) for the tools that enabled us to create this interactive, open space on the web. We hope that Refugee Learning Stories will become a resource and an inspiration, not only for displaced people and the frontline workers who support them, but also for the whole (fem)edtech community. Please pop over and visit us – we’d love to see you there!

Refugee Learning Stories can be found at