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13 High St Coffee Bar, Garstang

Location Location Location

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Location matters

Writing can be a solitary and lonely activity, but an inspiring location can change all of that. Throughout this LearningWheel journey, Amanda and I have made a conscious effort to meet regularly to discuss the content of the book… erm did I say discuss? ha… what I meant to say was argue, debate, interrogate, fall-out/fall-in!

I conceived the LearningWheel more than four years ago, the concept and theory that underpins it has lived in my visual mind since that time, unsurprising given my professional background in graphic design. Having dominant visual intellect, enables me to articulate complex theories using combinations of shape, space, colour, tone, contrast, composition, textures etc. Although I love words and wordplay, I would admit to a lack ease and fluency in using words to articulate meaning in an academic environment.

Stage left Amanda… contrary to my creative and tactile characteristics, she has a clinical ability to interrogate the truth and translate this in to a journal or a thesis or in this case a book, with what looks like an apparent ease.

The visual gallery of my mind has been picked at, stretched and challenged beyond my comfort zone at times. Thankfully, the choice of writing locations that we have inhabited have neutralised the scrutiny experienced and in fact have been quite pleasurable and enlightening moments for us both.

As alluded to in a previous post, ‘time’ evaporates faster than water exposed to a hotter than a hotter thing. We have lost too much time to the four walls of our homes whilst writing this book and developing the @LearningWheel, therefore we have made a corporate decision as time permits to have some fun by visiting various locations around Lancashire, and beyond with the essential kit: plug, socket, cake, coffee, hot water… oh and WIFI!

Location Gallery

Our gallery above captures some of the locations we have visited. If you happen to pick up this book, hopefully, you will be able to visualise the locations that inspired the words you are reading on the page.

Forthcoming LearningWheel book

The Tweet that made it all real

At 10:33am yesterday I heard  the noise ‘Witwoo’  as I worked at my desk, it was a Twitter notification from my phone.  Shortly afterwards another, then another and another…! It was now obvious that something was happening in the Twittersphere that was beyond the usual. I looked and gasped. Wow! Our book, ‘LearningWheel: a model of digital pedagogy‘ which, Amanda Taylor (@amltaylor66) and I (@DebKellsey) (was @DebMillar24) have been writing had been advertised prior to launch on Critical Publishing’s website.

Forthcoming LearningWheel book

Forthcoming book

Summary of the LearningWheel journey

It was quite an emotional moment for many reasons. The LearningWheel has been 4 years in the making and at times a very rough ride. I initially developed the LearningWheel as a language tool to help educators/trainers align names of emerging technologies to more familiar teaching methods and modes of engagement. When launched within my own institution (at that time) it received mixed responses, some of which were positive, others really quite negative – which I guess was based on difficulties with understanding or accepting the relevance of the LearningWheel.

Compelled by creative instinct and a need for a tool to aid me in my role as Head of eLearning, I continued to develop it and over time I showed it to colleagues at Jisc and other colleges for feedback. Interest grew and I was invited to deliver sessions to educational audiences around the country. A project with LearningFutures enabled the start of a ‘CultureShift: Embedding technology within staff and student practice’ at the college with a conference to showcase the results on June 29th 2015. Keynote and guest speakers included #edtech advocates Bob Harrison, Sarah Knight, Sue Evan OwensDawn Buzzard and Peter Shukie as well as our college staff and student DigiPals.

Collaborate, Collate, Curate and Create.

It was that day that saw the launch of the LearningWheel on Twitter in the hope that casting my net widely would enable me to gather content from teachers beyond my own institution. It worked! Wow! It worked better than I had anticipated. Within 3 months we had communicated, collaborated, collated, curated and created at least ten LearningWheels and in the process, I had achieved a 10.2 million retweet reach with the LearningWheel having been viewed in 46 countries. Blogs were written, invites for more events were received. A proud moment was an invite to produce the  ‘How do you use technology to engage your learners?’ 2016 LearningWheel live at the international education technology Bett Show.

Bett Show LearningWheel 2016

Bett Show LearningWheel 2016

Thanks to those knowledgeable and generous collaborators across mainly UK, America, Australia, Canada and Ireland who added suggestion spokes to each wheel, the LearningWheel momentum grew.

A serendipitous encounter

It was Friday 18 December 2016  that was most significant to the LearningWheel journey… I was invited by Sue Beckingham (@SueBecks) to present at the Social Media conference at Sheffield Hallam university to present the LearningWheel and produce the HE Research Methods LearningWheel LIVE for the first time. Amanda Taylor a stranger to me at the time sat in a workshop and said out of the blue… So you’re that Deborah Millar with the LearningWheel aren’t you? Ha ha, and as they say, “the rest is history!”

Yesterday at 10:33am on Tuesday 2 August saw the beginning of something that will literally be a legacy to our serendipitous encounter. Her ability to understand and translate my ramblings and the enthusiastic ideas of my mind into words in such an articulate and interesting manner, underpinned by innovative research that she painstaking reads and finds usually into the early hours explain the What? Why? and How? of the LearningWheel concept.

Read the details of our forthcoming book…. Oh and join the #LearningWheel Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP) and the Blended Learning revolution.  I can honestly say that it was the best thing that I ever did to develop myself as a contemporary educator and in as much as they say ‘never look back’ I often do just to remind myself of how far I have come…

The LearningWheel: a model of digital pedagogy

Can be found here… http://ow.ly/eOOg302OTvW

Have a look, and when it comes out maybe even buy the book.  If for no other reason than to allow AMLTaylor a lifetime coffee allowance for her favourite writing haunt @13_HighStreet  in Garstang.

Tweet of the Day…

Easter holidays equals writing and debating …and writing, refining, researching, citing, rewriting, …and writing, laughing hysterically… panicking about time and writing again.

Result = Introduction completed and Chapter 1 well on its way.

Really impressed with @amltaylor66 interpretation of the LearningWheel and the depth she is adding from a wider perspective.

Thanks to John Rylands library and TAKK coffee bar for refreshment and inspiration.

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