It’s All About Grey-matter Grids


PadWheel V4 thumbnailDOWNLOAD THE LATEST VERSION: V4 published Mar 2015.  This PDF Poster has links to 122 of the latest and most popular educational apps.  Now these resources are available in 19 different languages.  The poster also has app selection criteria according to Blooms taxonomy.  It could provide the backbone of a complete course or seminar on Learning Design. If you would like help with this please just ask.  It also prints well as an A3 poster. With QR Codes linking to more online resources.  You are also encouraged to print it out for use in your college or school.

GETTING THE BEST USE OF THE WHEEL: The Padagogy Wheel was born out of a desire to help teachers at the coalface of teaching. I wanted a model that could be applied to everything from curriculum planning, development, writing learning objectives and designing student centered activities. Then quickly help teachers access relevant educational technology e.g. individual iPad apps or sequences of apps, to enhance those activities. Finally to help teachers use that technology to redefine activities to include tasks previously inconceivable. I believe this will increase student engagement, improve learning outcomes and empower a student towards transforming into an excellent graduate.

This model is a work in progress … always under review and improvement. Remember its purpose is a reminder to teachers to rethink everything they are doing. A warning: ignoring steps is in my opinion, part of the reason some of our teaching and learning, especially in Higher Education, is so ineffective in bringing about transformation. It is helpful to think about the Wheel as a number of grids through which you filter what you are doing – a way of thinking.

  1. THE ATTRIBUTES GRID: This is the core of learning design. Teachers or Educator/Academics must constantly revisit Graduate Attributes, things like ethics, responsibility and citizenship, as well as Capabilities for employment. They need to do the hard yards of articulating what they expect an excellent graduate of a program is to “look like” i.e. what is it that a graduate is and does that makes them and their communities define them as successful. Some universities at least in Australia and England, and I would expect in the USA, are constantly working on their graduate attributes and are mapping their programs to them. The blog post by Geoff Scott is really eye opening for college educators. Please visit “If you exercise these capabilities.. You will be employed!” If teachers don’t have a clear picture of the qualities and capabilities of an excellent graduate of their program is, then that is a huge problem and they need to set aside quality time to define this. Now when they have this list of attributes and capabilities, they need to look at their courses and pedagogy and ask ‘how does everything I do support these attributes?’ Is there any way I can build content and activities that help students become “excellent”? Have a look at what the University of Greenwich is doing in the UK. Please visit  “Graduate Attributes – Spin or Education?” and the podcast episode “What Does a Xxxxxx Graduate Look Like?
  2. THE MOTIVATIONS GRID: Once they are thinking attributes and capabilities, teachers then need to constantly revisit motivation. Asking themselves “Why am I doing this again?” That is not a joke. I am referring to the choices of learning outcomes, development of activities and design of content e.g. writing text and even making videos. So the wheel introduces a 21st century model of motivation that science has developed. It is so well presented by Dan Pink in the TEDtalk “The Puzzle of Motivation” Thinking through the grid of Autonomy Mastery and Purpose and filtering everything you do from idea-creation to assessment will, I believe, significantly help your teaching be transformational. Consistently asking the question, “How does the learning environment and activity experience I am building give the learner autonomy, mastery and purpose?” Asking that question and adapting what you do could change everything.
  3. THE BLOOMS GRID: The Blooms Taxonomy is really a way of helping teachers design learning objectives that achieve higher order thinking. You start by thinking “cognitive domain categories”. You start with “remembering and understanding” that’s the easiest category to serve with objectives but produces the least effective objectives in achieving transformation. When supporting academics, I recommend they try to get at least one learning objective from each category and always push towards the domain category of Creating where higher order thinking takes place. This is the “By the time you finish this workshop/seminar/lesson you should be able to. . . ” type of thinking. With the emergence of the importance of social constructivism i.e. research showing the effectiveness of student centric and activity based learning, those learning objectives need to be mapped clearly to activities. So a better question is “By the time you finish this workshop/seminar/lesson you should be able to <choose and action verb> BY <then choose an activity or outcome>. Now you are ready for technology enhancement.
  4. THE TECHNOLOGY ENHANCEMENT GRID: With learning objectives and outcomes sorted, now think about technology aka apps. How can this serve your pedagogy? You can choose any app or technology you like, the wheel only suggests apps that can support the learning objectives and activities at the time of publishing. The Padagogy Wheel constantly needs updating with apps as they are released. Teachers also should think customization all the time – is there a better tool for the job of enhancing my defined pedagogy?
  5. THE SAMR GRID: Now is the time to think about how to apply this powerful
    Sievemodel. For more information on SAMR  visit this Queensland Govt. Schools Classrooms Connections website. You need answers to such questions as “How are you going to use the technologies you have chosen”?  Take each of your activities and think through how you will use the technology for each task. Ask yourself “Does this activity just substitute i.e. students could easily achieve tasks without this chosen technology, or can I augment or modify the tasks  to improve the activity and increase engagement”? Finally sieve your curriculum building activities and your teaching practice through the SAMR grid of redefinition. Is there any task you can build into the activity that without the technology would not be possible? You can tell when you are successful with this, as there is bound to be one student who will comment “Hey that is cool!”

Please take the Padagogy Wheel out for a spin every day you are teaching and use it.  Then share your experiences especially your best practice … your colleagues will benefit from your collaboration, appreciate it and together we can build transformational outcomes and help students become excellent practitioners and graduates.




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