Shoeless Learning

Stephen Heppell @stephenheppell threw out a comment yesterday during his keynote advocating ‘Shoeless Learning.’ On his website Stephen highlights that

many Scandinavia children learn with their shoes off. In many schools worldwide shoeless learning has taken off, despite a lot of scepticism.

I do not think the why has been formerly explored and invested, but why wait. What harm would it do if I tried it with my classes? Exactly. Yet I could not help but question whether my low ability Yr11 class go with me on this slightly odd request? So here is today’s findings and questions.


Not all students wore socks, in this class it was only girls, so those girls that were not wearing socks were less inclined to participate.

If you are going to take part, and you should, your sock choice will be interrogated. Pink toed / heeled socks were much a do about nothing.

Period 2 – Yr11a3

My Year 11 low ability class were intrigued by the request and as a result it took a little more time to settle, joking about the request and my socks. I also I took a closed jar of toffees with me – I didn’t elude to the toffees, just placed them on the desk. The suggestion was, compliance may be rewarded.

What are those toffees for Sir?

All will become clear at the end.

Period 4 – Yr7a3

Again, the initial suggestion was met with questions although the students were happy to accept the request. There seemed minimal impact on group tasks however, I do not recall much between group movement. Calmer? I can not firmly support this assertion. One student did get his shoes as he felt awkward.


Does it matter what activities you are teaching. Does shoelessness benefit some activities more than others.

Can shoelessness impede learning?

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Three Men and a Big IF

Another opportunity to discuss Interactive Fiction with teachers, educators and education types was grasped with both hands, as I meet up again with iO’s Andy Goff. Together with Alex Warren and Tom Cole (@ehesynapseuk), we gave a three part introduction to Interaction Fiction.

Headlining with ‘What is IF? Why educators should take note?‘ I covered the big picture. Tom Cole demoed his fantastic IF for Science game through an incredibly simple Prezi. Tom neatly, and visually, exampled how game design knowledge could be applied to a four room IF game, where the player could only ‘win’ if they applied their KS3 Science knowledge. Complete with guard dog and talking hamster it presented a strong case both Science and creative writing. Alex wrapped it up with an actual Quest demo, then the current web, iOS and Android opportunities before finishing up with a glimpse of what the future of Quest might look it. Feedback was very promising with interest from Honda, the BBC World Learning Service, Edexcel (Quest for assessment) and a handful of interested teachers. All in all a very positive event for IF.

(taken by iO)

I am hoping to introduce IF to the teachers of Wolverhampton, so if you are interested and are in the area, let me know.

The rest of my time was spent looking at the exhibits, dropping into sessions, and the afternoon’s Keynotes. A worthwhile day for sure. This morning, my students will be shoeless in English. We will see how that goes.

For the record, Tom is a teacher and MA Games Design student.

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