• Julia Reeve

New year, new horizons

Updated: Mar 2

As we say farewell to another year of change, challenge and ongoing uncertainty, I'm sharing some positive gems from the worlds of learning, wellbeing and creativity to look forward to in 2022.


Here are a selection of upcoming events and resources offering some optimistic pedagogic inspiration for the year ahead. I hope these will give you a warm, creative glow to brighten the January gloom.

3 Dates for your 2022 diary...


January QAA Embedding Mental Wellbeing - Open Educational Resource Launch


White LEGO bricks, candle, coffee and meditation instructions
Mindful LEGO Meditation

What better way to start the year than by focussing on the increasingly pressing issue of mental health and wellbeing issues within higher education. This QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project, led by my De Montfort University colleague Zoë Allman, looks at ways that mental wellbeing can be embedded into all aspects of higher education. On 'Blue Monday' 17th January 13.00-14.00 there will be a launch event to showcase a range of open educational resources designed to embed positive mental wellbeing into the curriculum. My contributions are resources for A Mindful Lego Meditation (see image above) plus a reflective worksheet to promote discussion around this recent article: Compassionate Play: why playful teaching is a prescription for good mental health (for you and your students).


March Book Publication

Arts Based Health Care Research: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Hands cutting out printed icons with paper and pens
Hand-drawn Infographics in action

This book, edited by Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith , Parveen Ali and Julie McGarry , is the first to describe different uses of the arts as a medium for conducting healthcare research. It offers real-life examples plus practical resources and learning opportunities from a range of arts based perspectives. My chapter, 'Hand-drawn infographics: a tool for reflection and creativity in healthcare research and beyond' outlines my pedagogic practice using hand-drawn infographics within teaching and researcher development contexts. It includes visual examples and learning activities illustrating the benefits that taking an infographic approach can offer to both practitioners and researchers.


July Playful Learning Conference 20 in 2022

hands cutting out and sticking collage materials
Swollage workshop at Playful Learning 2019

What better way to put a spring in your step in 2022? The Playful Learning Conference is back, and celebrating 3 years in 1 (2020, 21 and 22) between 6-8th July in Leicester (and online). This fabulous event is a place to meet other playful educators, try out new ideas and generally have fun. Sign up now, or even better respond to the call for contributions! You can keep an eye on playful preparations via #playlearn202122 .


3 inspirational learning recommendations for 2022


Blog series The playful academic


Front page of playful academic blog series with people playing a game

Looking for some stimulating reading to refresh your pedagogic palate for the new year? Look no further! This new BERA blog series explores the benefits of play and playfulness in higher education learning from multiple perspectives including that of the student. It is edited by Maarten Koeners, and features contributions from a number of leading lights in playful learning including Alison James. Highly recommended.


Playful Online Courses



Or perhaps you are looking for some professional development to prompt fresh thinking? If you would like to further explore the world of playful learning, Futurelearn has some offerings that may fit the bill. Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life is delivered by Sheffield University's School of Education, and covers a wide array of historical, social and cultural aspects of play. There is a cost, but you can sign up for a free taster to 'try before you buy'.



If you work with visually impaired learners and/or have an interest in using LEGO® for learning, you may find the free Learning Through Play with LEGO® Braille Bricks course of interest. This has been developed by the LEGO Foundation, and takes a play-based approach to teaching Braille skills using the newly-developed LEGO® Braille Bricks. This one is definitely on my list of new year's learning resolutions!


Creative Online Courses


Front page of OpenLearn website

If the above has whetted your appetite for some professional development in 2022, do take a look at the range of free courses offered by the Open University under the OpenLearn banner. There are a fascinating range of topics to choose from, including creative writing, mental health and leadership, and plenty with a teaching and/or creative focus. The course that particularly appealed to me was The power of infographics in research dissemination , a subject close to my heart. This short introductory course aimed at researchers covers essential aspects including visualising your data and getting your research noticed. A useful taster, which can be used as a stepping stone onto further OU study.


I do hope these suggestions have given you some positive food for thought.


Wishing you all the best for 2022,


Julia

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