End of Year – A Time for Reflection

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a lunch time Visiting Scholars seminar in the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) in DCU. The NIDL consists of three units– the Open Education Unit, the Teaching Enhancement Unit and the National Digital Research Network. Their website is a very interesting place and you can sign up to follow what is going on and to participate in some of their forthcoming events. So if you have not had a chance to visit take some time to check out the site as there are some great resources there for people interested in digital learning.

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Professor Steve Wheeler photo

On Thursday December 17th they invited Professor Steve Wheeler from Plymouth University to come and speak. Steve is no stranger to Ireland having presented at numerous conferences here in the past and he attracted a large crowd to DCU on a wet December day. His talk presented a wide range of ideas around how we might better engage our learners in today’s 21st century classrooms. Though many of his examples came from HE there were a number of take-aways for primary and post-primary teachers also. So in no particular order here are a few interesting ideas that resonated with me.

He spoke quite a lot about how people learn in today’s world and described this phenomenon as Learning 2.0 and the need to move beyond surface learning to deep learning.

Learning 2.0 flowchart

All too often we seem to focus at the surface level and we never go deeper to engage with more interesting questions. When we move beyond surface learning to Learning 2.0 there is a shift to a more active form of learning where learners learn by making.

He showed a YouTube video entitled, The Future of Publishing by DK, that I had not seen before.


If you have not seen take 2 minutes 26 seconds to watch it through and see what you think? It certainly got me thinking a week out from Christmas when many of us, including our children, will receive a book for Christmas. So take a few minutes and listen to the video and see what you think?

In today’s world we have a range of technologies, that includes books, and we as teachers should decide which technologies are best for the job at hand and this will always include books. The trick for us as teachers is to design learning activities that allow our learners to use these tools to engage in deep learning and that for me was the main take-away from a very interesting talk.

At the time of writing his slides were not posted on the site (they will be) but here is a link to a talk he gave earlier in the year where many of the same points were made. All in all a very enjoyable and thought provoking lunch time event.

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