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Steve Wheeler

Steve Wheeler has spent his entire career working in educational technology. He is currently Associate Professor of Learning Technology at Plymouth University, where his research interests include social media and mobile technologies in education. He has conducted research into learning technology in all sectors of education and training and, having been invited to present his finding at conferences in more than 30 countries, he is truly a global educator.

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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

Celebrate a teacher

October 15 2016

World Teachers Day is the day we celebrate those dedicated professionals who spend their time inspiring children and shaping future generations. Frankly, we should celebrate our teachers every day. Every time you read or write, remember how you learnt and who helped you.

I qualified as a teacher back in 1990, and realise now that it is the best profession I could possibly have entered. Teachers make the difference. We all remember teachers from our formative years. Mostly we remember our great teachers, the ones who made the most impact on us - and sometimes the ones we would really like to forget.

Today I would like to celebrate two excellent teachers who inspired me, and helped shape me into the person I am today.

The first was Mr Handel (pictured above - I'm immediately in front of his right hand), a primary school teacher who took me under his wing when I was struggling to make sense of school. He encouraged me, and spent a significant amount of his time supporting me as I came to terms with learning. He was always calm and spoke softly to everyone. Mr Handel was also a scout leader, and encouraged me and others to pursue learning outside and beyond the classroom. I will not forget the tremendous efforts he put into making his teaching accessible to all, and the empathy he showed to every one of his students.

The second was Mr Domagne, an American educator who was my music and drama teacher in my last two years at school. Larry, as he wanted us all to call him, was a gifted musician and actor, who put on plays and musicals, and ran the school choir. He turned a blind eye when I sometimes appeared at the back of his lessons, although we both knew I should have been elsewhere. Larry was always passionate and excited about his subject, and this transferred to all those students who fell under his spell. He taught me that it was OK to explore, fail and learn from that failure.

Do you have any teachers from your past you would like to celebrate? What did they do that inspired you, or challenged you? I'm looking forward to reading your comments below.

Photo courtesy of Cherhill Primary School

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World Teachers Day 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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Making sense of digital

October 14 2016

I learn a lot from discussions on social media channels such as Twitter. Some might be aware that I established a chat for the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) a couple of years ago, which is dedicated to discussions around technology supported learning in all sectors of education, learning and development. Known as #EDENchat, it has hosted over 30 one-hour discussions, and the entire list (and archives) can be found Storified on this website.

Our most recent #EDENchat focused on digital competencies and digital literacies, and the conversation was dynamic and fast moving. I have already written extensively about digital literacies and have presented several keynotes at international conferences where it features heavily. Everyone in education it seems, is interested in what teachers and students need to acquire, to make sense of our digital world and to use digital tools effectively.

One of the key questions I posed on #EDENchat was to determine the difference between digital competencies and digital literacies. A number of thoughtful responses came back, but the general consensus was that literacy is about understanding, while competency leads to a mastery of that understanding (thanks to Alastair Creelman for that response). This was further simplified by Simon Lancaster who remarked: Digital literacy is about knowing how to do it and competency is about doing it well.

The follow up question was 'what digital competencies/literacies do you consider essential for university students? The responses came in thick and fast, including collaborative competence (probably a blog post in itself), identity management, self presentation, and navigating digital sources, filtering, selecting and assessing content for accuracy and veracity (thanks to Kandy Woodfield). Digital reputation management was also discussed as well as critical reading and curation of content (via Sue Beckingham).

Perhaps the best part of the discussion arose when I asked whether there was a specific 'best time' for digital literacies to be taught. Many responses said the same thing: If a child is using technology, they need to know how to manage their presence online, for safety and security reasons, as well as to make sense of the digital world. Conclusion: The best time to begin teaching digital literacies is when the child begins to use technology.

#EDENchat continues with a discussion around the future of universities, at 1900 UK time, on October 26th. The full schedule of #EDENchats is here.

Related posts
What digital literacies?
3 things you should know about digital literacies
Digital literacies in the age of remix

Photo by Steve Wheeler

Creative Commons License
Making sense of digital 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

Read Blog