Dr Alastair Wells

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Senior Lecturer

Phone: 021 211 2572

Email: Alastair.wells@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:
1/33 Kay Drive
Blockhouse Bay
Auckland 0600

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Association for Learning Environments

Research Areas:

future focused teaching & learning, design, creativity, innovative pedagogies, technology, cognition, educational psychology, educational environments. 

Research Summary:

Alastair’s research critically examined notions of space, power and agency as implicated in the development of modern learning environments designed for the implementation of 21st century teaching and learning. The study drew on theoretical and empirical inquiry into two kinds of practice, namely practices of designing environments for twenty-first century learning, and practices of teaching for learning within these environments. It brought into view three significant concerns, discursive spaces, non-discursive spaces, and spatial ontology as a theoretical mechanism for engaging with the empirical findings gathered from designers and occupiers of the new learning environments. This analysis demonstrated that there are multiple agencies and spatial representations that exist but are hidden from casual observation. By carefully attending to the multiple accounts of those users of new learning spaces through several theoretical lenses, it becomes evident the ways they take advantage of opportunities to make new spatial meanings. This research has revealed the potential for the reordering of spatial codes embedded in relations of space, power and practice in educational environments and reveals new understandings about engaging with spatial design and teaching and learning practices.

Current Research Projects:

Co-constructed learning spaces in a virtual environment.


WELLS, A. W. J. Jackson, M, L., Benade, L, W. (2017) Modern Learning Environments: Embodiment of a disjunctive encounter. Book Chapter in Transforming Education: Design & Governance in Global Contexts. Eds Benade, L and Jackson, M., 2017

WELLS, A. W. J (2017) Programmatic Spatialisation: normalisation to emergent learning. Learning Environments Symposium. AUT, North Shore Campus. February 2017

WELLS, A. W. J (2016) Making Connection: Technology, design, social enquiry and flexible learning environments. Graduate Seminar conference, AUT North Shore Campus. July 2016

WELLS, A. W. J (2015) Clashing with Pragmatism: Exploring spatial democracy as a metaphysical commitment to critical pedagogy and transformative practice. Symposium submission and published paper. PESA conference, Melbourne. December 2015

WELLS, A. W. J (2015) Confusing messages: Is the modern learning environment an example of idealised curricula or disruptive innovation. Melbourne School of Design. Terrains - Mapping learning environment evaluation across the design and education sector. June 2015, p 72-78.

WELLS, A. W. J (2014) Ornament or implement: How effective are modern learning environments? Invited symposium, Educational Provocations 2015, Auckland University of Technology. p60-70

WELLS, A.W.J. MCGLASHAN, A.A. (2012) The Road less travelled: a pre-service approach towards the technology teaching professions. International Journal of Design and Technology Education. Springer Publications 2012: ISSN 0957-7572

WELLS, A.W.J. & SPENDLOVE, D.  (2012) Revisiting Creativity for a new Generation. UK book chapter in ‘Debates in Design and Technology Education. Edited by Prof. Gwyneth Owen-Jackson. CREET, The Open University, Milton Keynes. MK7 6AA. – Publication September  2012

WELLS, A.W.J. (2012)The Importance of Design Thinking For Technological Literacy: A phenomenological perspective. International Journal of Design and Technology Education. Springer Publications 2012

WELLS, A.W.J. & BATTRICK, A. (2012) Looking in the Mirror for Creative Potential. – International conference paper, Innovative research in a changing and challenging world, 16-18 May Barli 2012.

WELLS, A.W.J. (2011) The Force: Shifting the Power. Paper delivered at the PATT conference London July 1-5 2011, Published in proceedings: p345-352.

WELLS, A.W.J. MCGLASHAN, A.A. (2011) Off the Beaten Path: Programme planning for effective pre-service teacher experiences. Paper delivered at the PATT conference London July 1-5 2011. Published in proceedings: P237-245

WELLS, A.W.J. (2010) It Happens Anyway: The place of creativity and design thinking in technology education', Technology Learning & Thinking Conference, Vancouver, 16 June  - 21 June 2010, p106-120. http://www.learningcommons.net/

WELLS, A.W.J; MCGLASHAN, A.A. (2010) Road to Employment: Trainee teachers, perception of their pre-service technology education courses. Technological Learning and Thinking: Culture, Design, Sustainability, Human Ingenuity conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 17 June  - 21 June 2010, Published in proceedings: p153-162, http://www.learningcommons.net/


Outstanding Teaching Award – University of Auckland, Faculty of Education
Wolf Fisher Scholarship – Wolf Fisher
Excellence in innovation – University of Auckland, Faculty of Education
Excellence in collaboration - – University of Auckland, Faculty of Education

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