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Steve Wheeler

Steve Wheeler is a Learning Innovations Consultant and former Associate Professor of Learning Technologies at the Plymouth Institute of Education where he chaired the Learning Futures group and led the Computing and science education teams. He continues to research into technology supported learning and distance education, with particular emphasis on the pedagogy underlying the use of social media and Web 2.0 technologies, and also has research interests in mobile learning and cybercultures. He has given keynotes to audiences in more than 35 countries and is author of more than 150 scholarly articles, with over 6000 academic citations. An active and prolific edublogger, his blog Learning with ‘e’s is a regular online commentary on the social and cultural impact of disruptive technologies, and the application of digital media in education, learning and development. In the last few years it has attracted in excess of seven million unique visitors.

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Publications by Steve Wheeler

Learning with ‘e’s

In an age where young people seem to have a…

Don’t Change the Light Bulbs

Curated by Rachel Jones, Don’t Change the Light Bulbs offers…

Author Blog

Grades are like grenades

June 29 2020

Photo from Flickr 

Grades are grenades exploding in the mind like waves and wounding little children as they try to find a place to avoid the flying shrapnel of sarcasm and hide behind the walls they build and weep within a chasm of silence their faces contorted with confusion at the verbal violence.

Grades are like grenades

With remnants of regret they strive to avoid the bottom set while aspiring to be the teacher’s pet which is something many grasp for but few will reach if the teacher is as cold as polar ice and does little more than teach and preach and throw content about like gambling dice.

Grades are like grenades

The curriculum is dour and should be rearranged but lesson plans pass through many hands unchanged, unrevised and undisturbed which leaves the children unprepared and much perturbed about where their future in society rests while expression and creativity matter less than tests.

Grades are like grenades

Steve Wheeler © 29 June, 2020

Footnote: I have been writing a lot of poetry lately. Correction, I have always written poetry, right back from when I can remember, but in recent times, I have had a lot more time than usual to sit down and think, and write. So here is one of those poems. You can find a lot more of my ramblings about education, life, faith, society and stupidity at this link. Go ahead. You know you want to.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

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Engaging online learners 5

June 14 2020

Photo from Pixabay
This series is about how teachers can improve engagement for online learners (see links below for previous posts in the series). All forms of education require learners to engage, but when teachers and their students are separated by geographical distance, the challenges increase.

This post is about improving student engagement in asynchronous modes - which can be forgotten in the rush to connect with video. And yet asynchronous modes of online learning can be as equally powerful as synchronous methods. For the uninitiated, synchronous communication occurs in the same timeframe, and interaction is more or less simultaneous (think video, telephone or live text). Asynchronous communication is time-shifted - e-mail, text messages and standard mail (correspondence courses were one of the first forms of distance education).

Here are seven ways you can increase engagement in asynchronous online learning:

1. First, and most importantly, keep discussion going! Interaction between students, and with their teacher, is vital to maintain engagement and also to create a learning community. Encourage the group to regularly share their ideas, discuss their hopes and concerns, promote their content and celebrate their successes.

2. Make interaction with content interesting. The use of hyperlinks and hypermedia (e.g. embedded video) give flat content an added dimension, enabling students to dig deeper if they so desire. Encourage additional personal research by adding activities linked to content (see below).

3. Create opportunities for students to ask questions, either via an online forum, or direct to you using e-mail or other asynchronous communication. Don't forget to respond promptly - the immediacy of your reply can increase social presence and motivation.

4. Promote creative writing using blog challenges such as #Blimage or #TwistedPair as visual prompts (the latter involves unlikely pairings of people to provoke imagination. I'm particularly proud of my bizarre combination of Maria von Trapp and Socrates). Give the students licence to write imaginatively to express their ideas, while at the same time developing their thinking.

5. Present students with problems or challenges to solve. A strategically placed quiz, will not only test their memory, but might trigger some additional motivation, and will also give you some indication of their learning. Engaging with problems enables them to apply the knowledge they have gained from the content into direct practice.

6. Set up collaborative writing exercises around course content. This can be done using shared digital spaces such as group blogs, wikis or Google Docs. The negotiation and teamwork required adds a new dimension to the engagement; the smaller the groups/teams, the better.

7. Ask students to produce something that can be performed or shown online. This could be a podcast, video, blog, or multi-media presentation such as a slide show. A number of transferrable skills need to be developed to do this successfully.

Previous posts in this series
Engaging online learners 1: Collaborative spaces
Engaging online learners 2: 5 Phase model
Engaging online learners 3: 5 Step Model
Engaging online learners 4: Synchronous online learning

See also
Free online course: Supporting Online Learners

Creative Commons License
Engaging online learners 5 by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

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