The Pedagogy Wheel

For a little over a year now I have had the Pedagogy Wheel V3.0 hanging up outside of my office.  I have seen a few of you stop to look at it from time to time.  If you walk by today, you may notice that I have changed it to the new and improved V4.1.  The pedagogy wheel is based on the work of Allan Carrington.  In his most recent role Carrington served as a Learning Designer with the eLearning Team at the University of Adelaide in Australia.  While working there, and after leaving, he was thinking about the connections between Bloom’s Taxonomy and the SAMR Model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition – check out a previous post on SAMR here – Or check out a 2 minute video review of SAMR here), and how to integrate technology that would support different levels of thinking.  As he was thinking about that, he thought about the importance of pedagogy being the driver of technology, not the other way around.  Sometimes in educational technology we start with an app that we want to use.  Maybe we heard about it from a colleague, or our students told us about it.  Other times we might have seen the app in use in another person’s classroom, and we decide we want to use that app to accomplish a task.  If that is the way you are thinking, you might be doing things backwards.

Pedagogy wheel 4.1

To truly understand the Pedagogy Wheel, and therefore be able to use it to support the teaching and learning in your classroom, you have to begin at the middle of the circle.  When you look at the Pedagogy Wheel above, you will notice a QR Code in the middle.  If you scan that code in your favorite QR Reader, you will go to this page:

If you want to read the whole post, great, but as a brief rundown there is a reference to something that Carrington calls the Graduate Attributes and Capabilities.  One of the presenters at a conference that Carrington attended in 2012 was talking about research that had been done within the business sector on what skills employers look for.  In the results of this study, they found that the top 15 attributes are:

  1. Having energy, passion, and enthusiasm
  2. Being willing to give credit to others
  3. Empathizing & working productively with diversity
  4. Being transparent and honest in dealings with others
  5. Thinking laterally and creatively
  6. Being true to one’s values and ethics
  7. Listening to different points of view before coming to a decision
  8. Understanding personal strengths & limitations
  9. Time management skills
  10. Persevering
  11. Learning from errors
  12. Learning from experience
  13. Remaining calm when under pressure
  14. Being able to make effective presentations to different groups
  15. Identifying from a mass of information the core issue/opportunity.

What you may notice is that most of these attributes are attitude and values based.  The next thing you may notice is that they are skills that may not often be explicitly taught in most classrooms.  For our students’ long term success, this list of 15 things is something we need to think about at the beginning of our planning.  Once we have reflected on these things, then we can begin thinking about our learning outcomes, activity design, and choosing the technology the works best, which will in turn lead to better engagement and learning.

As you work your way out on the pedagogy wheel, you will notice that the next ring talks about Daniel Pink’s TED Talk on the “Puzzle of Motivation.”  Two of my previous posts have been on that topic, so I’m not going to review them, but you can check each one out here: Motivation Part 1 and Motivation Part 2.

Next we work our way out to the Bloom’s Cognitive Domain Categories, with rings for the action verbs and activities that relate to each.  In the next to last circle we see how Carrington has placed the 122 apps that are included on this version of the Pedagogy Wheel.  In the final outermost ring of the wheel you see how the SAMR model is connected to all the other pieces of the wheel.

So, now that we know what the Pedagogy Wheel is, how can we make use of that knowledge?  Ultimately, the Pedagogy Wheel is something that can be used as a tool to help us plan for the activities that are happening in our classroom.  Start at the middle thinking about the attributes & capabilities that you’d like students to gain, think a little about how to motivate your learners, and then work your way out on the wheel to meet the needs of your lesson. By starting in the middle, you will be putting the pedagogy in the driver’s seat, and using tech as an added piece of the activity.  If you are working towards higher level thinking skills, the Pedagogy Wheel will help you find some apps that may modify or redefine learning in your classroom.

You might also like pdf version of the pedagogy wheel (found here: because you can click on the apps you see and go to an iTunes Preview page to learn more about the app (in case it is an app you aren’t aware of).  I will warn you, not every app on here is free.  If you find an app that is not free that you think would be great, check around, there may be free apps that will do similar things.

What are your thoughts on the attributes and capabilities above?  How do you help our students to learn those skills?  What ideas do you have to strengthen those areas in our students so that they are better prepared for the future expectations of the workforce?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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