An axiological perspective of ‘Walking in the Air’

I reckon there’s nothing better than walking the 4 or so miles to university campus on seminar and research days . The time helps me to focus on the next iteration of questioning and I know how much it contributes to my own health and wellbeing. I’ve got a stack of data to back that up!

Over the last few years I’ve placed a lot of focus on the benefits of walking through green spaces in the city. Maker education programmes have become interlinked with home life and academic research, as personal and societal awareness about mental health and wellbeing have increased, strategies tested and benefits have started to be recognised.

There’s a fundamental problem though, and that’s around when a car-free commute comes with detrimental health effects.

If you know me well, then you’ll realise that I’ll never cycle on a road in Leeds until we have segregated lanes and safety for cyclists comes before the voices of health advocates. That goes for the helmet wearing discourse, too. I’ll be ruled by my head and medical advice until the day when I’m confident that urban planners put cyclists towards the top of any list. I’m with you on the intention to wear civvies and have my hair flowing as I pedal across the city too, but let me know when it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting to hear from a household that feels the effects of related injuries and living with PTSD after an incident involving a car and a cyclist.

Back to the benefits of a walking commute, then.

Mapping green spaces and plotting personal routes has taken me away from the congested roads and onto paths where nature has become a catalyst for ideas. It’s been a real eye opener and definitely another perspective of the city that I’ve lived in now for over 20 years.

Sometimes it’s the small things in life that make a difference

But I know that I’m privileged to be able to take those maker and technical skills and link with an understanding of the science behind air quality to make a difference to my world.

That difference is a positive change in the quality of air that I’m breathing every day by making decisions based on data. And that data is personal to me and my chosen routes.

Which brings me to my axiological positioning when it comes to vocalising thoughts on empowering more people to make their own choices.

I spend my days exploring the links between digital making, health, wellbeing and effects of the great Yorkshire outdoors, not always at the same time, so here’s a few links:.

  • Professional
    • From teacher to teacher training, and supporting teachers with the emerging pedagogies of the transition from ICT to Computing, I’m mindful of how we can promote diversity in the digital talent pipeline. Social and experiential learning linked to the UN Sustainable Goals gives relevance to physical computing and can help to change perceptions about ‘Computing as a difficult subject’.
    • As an educator planning, leading and delivering MakerEd learning programmes I’ll generally revert back to Dewey, Vygotsky and Papert as learning theorists who have influenced my own thinking and personal learning. I really do think there’s something about thinking and learning by making that helps to construct knowledge : )
    • Working with industry and education at a time when ‘democratising technology or innovation’ are phrases heard most weeks, it’s an exciting time to be equipping students from KS2 – undergraduate courses with the knowledge and skills to make changes.
    • Our work with the Foundation for Digital Creativity and curriculum model at thingQbator Manchester includes supporting young people to digitally respond to local problems.

How can you use the internet of things to create the building blocks for a sustainable future? Join us next on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th March for:
The thingQbator EcoHack: Building a Sustainable Future https://t.co/tCfrXWihS4 @EventbriteUK#CISCOthingQbator #Manchester #IoT pic.twitter.com/s6WUYhaOwq— thingQbatorMCR (@thingQbatorMCR) February 26, 2019


  • Personal
    • I’m a parent and a city-dwelling citizen, prioritising a quality of life and the air that we’re breathing, life – work balance and the right to an exemplary, broad and balanced education curriculum (more an ontological perspective, that’s another post!)
    • Experience and awareness of managing our own mental health and wellbeing as a continuum.

What triggered the post?

Visibility of the news about air quality this morning and time to mull things over and clarify my thoughts whilst walking. I wish I could help more people to make the data-driven personal decisions that help me and my health on a daily basis.

The plan is to support more people to make changes and their own positive differences that will also benefit others. To give options for change.

Making change. In the constructionist and behavioural sense.

Pollution map reveals top hotspots for unsafe air quality including Yorkshire @guardian @friends_earth https://t.co/8118BRPo5v pic.twitter.com/kM3VitWTfx— Sustrans Yorkshire (@SustransYorks) February 27, 2019

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