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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

Dirty tricks

August 18 2018

Image from Wikimedia Commons
It's the silly season. With thousands of places still not taken at universities in England, marketeers are scrabbling frantically to recruit as many students as they can. When everyone else is sunning themselves on the Costa, the poor admissions tutors (I know ... I was one) and their beleaguered marketing teams are chained to their telephones, straining a gut to grab every last school leaver they can possible lay their grubby little mitts on. Extraordinary lengths are being taken to gain an advantage over rivals.

Two universities in particular are laying into each other just like a couple of lads in a school playground. Dissing each other in a social media slanging match are the pre-92 University of Essex with 14,000 students (whose Chancellor just happens to be the somewhat vociferous Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow) and post-92 university Leeds Beckett University - a much larger, northern university with 24,000 students, but less history and prestige.

Essex it seems, took exception to the fact that Beckett was using Amazon's Alexa to get down with the kids this year. A series of social media snipes followed from both sides, much like a conversation between a teacher refereeing two little boys caught in a school yard brawl. It went a little like this:

Essex: 'Beckett started it Miss. He was using a whizzy new technology called Alexa to recruit his gang. So I stamped on it.'

Beckett: 'That was expensive kit Miss, and he trashed it, so I flicked him with a V.'

Essex: 'Well 'cos .... Beckett's just a show off, so he deserved it. Then he poured a can of coke down my neck.'

Beckett: 'Essex hit me Miss, he punched me right in the stomach when I wasn't looking. Then my big bro got involved.'

Essex: 'He hit me Miss, and anyway he started calling me names.'

Beckett: 'He's a liar Miss, and his pants are on fire.'

Essex: 'You leave my pants out of this!'

Miss (exasperated): 'Alright alright, I've heard just about enough of this. Why did it turn into a mass fight? There are several children waiting to see the school nurse.'

Beckett: 'Essex shouted "pile on everyone" and they all jumped on. He's a $@%&!'

Essex: 'It was all Beckett's fault. He started it, and he's the $@%& Miss!'

Miss (angry): 'That's it - detention for both of you! Go to the Headteachers office NOW!'

All's fair in love and war. Welcome to Higher Education in the UK, circa 2018.

Creative Commons License
Dirty tricks 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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State of play

August 15 2018

Photo via Pexels 
Those who play video games discover that failure can be a common theme. Because it's a game, it doesn't really matter. Gamers can constantly reiterate moves and decisions to try to reach the next, higher level. Often, a move has to be repeated many times before a solution is found and the gamer can legitimately move to the next stage of the game. This aligns neatly to the idea that we can learn through failure. In this way, learning for gamers is a journey from novice to expert.

Game based learning should be one of the most important strategies for 21st Century education, but there is resistance from certain quarters. Humans have enjoyed playing games since time immemorial, and are hard-wired to do so. Now in the age of technology, we have opportunities our ancestors could not even dream of. Video arcade games such as Asteroids and Space Invaders of the 1970s were just the start of the rise to prominence of digital games. They were simplistic, but none the less compelling, and players like me spent hours honing their dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

As video games developed, so emerged a realisation that they could be designed to educate. In the last few years, through the development of handheld controls such as the Nintendo Wii, 3D screens (e.g. Nintendo 3DS) and non-touch gestural and voice controls (Microsoft's XBox 360 Kinect) games have become increasingly captivating, and have an immersive quality. Go further, and the visor equipped games in recent years have taken immersive experiences to another level. Games, whether digital or analogue, handheld or immersive, have the capability to motivate, challenging players to improve their dexterity, problem solving and reasoning skills, encourage teamwork and collaboration. 

Teachers who appropriate games into classrooms and learning contexts need to do so carefully, but once implemented, and with the game integrated into learning, we discover that they have a huge role to play in 21st Century learning. As Mark Grundel argues: 'Creativity, problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, decision making, risk taking, all (are) found in game-based learning.'

How long will it be before educators accept that games based learning is a legitimate pedagogy and not a waste of time?

Creative Commons License
State of play 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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