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MirandaNet Fellowship Profiles (MirandaNet Archive - as of March 2015)
Božena Mannová heads the Anglo-Czech co-operation linked to MirandaNet. She also held the 1998 European Women of Achievement Award jointly with Christina Preston.
During the six years that the Czechs have been Fellows of MirandaNet, they have established the Czech Miranda which preserves their own identity and diversity. The Czech team has developed a national identity as expert advisers to government based on their international Fellowship experience. An ICT training centre for teachers has been sponsored by Hewlett Packard and Microsoft in Prague.
Understanding the nature of this Anglo Czech co-operation depends on an understanding of the political and industrial context from which the Czech Republic is emerging. A history of Austrian, German and Russian rule since the seventeenth century has created a teaching profession which is not fully confident in Czech approaches and strategies. Incipient national are not yet able to support Czech education as their community contribution. The Government cannot yet prioritise teachers' funding needs and share in redefining their role.
Consequently, when they embarked on this Anglo-Czech enterprise the MirandaNet Fellowship expected to encounter significant diversity between the professional stance on ICT in each country as well as differences in access. However, the Fellows quickly found that the pace of global change is great. Anglo Czech professional differences have been subsumed in a joint endeavour to identify the governmental and industrial context in which teachers can operate best. In order to reach out to more Czech teacher educators, a new stage, Peach Velvet is funded by a Joint European Project (JEP) from Tempus and co-ordinated by the Czech Technical University in Prague.
The Czech Peach Velvet team is encouraging collaborative lifelong learning for teacher educators across cultural boundaries, distributing knowledge about ICT in service programmes more widely in the Czech Republic and developing assessment and evaluation systems with experts from Helsinki University and The Institute of Education, University of London. Through the Peach Velvet three more teacher education ICT training rooms are funded to offer Czech teachers the most current experiences of multimedia including video-conferencing.
The Czech team is basing their programmes on their contribution to a comparative study of the motivation of teachers in using ICT funded by the Teacher Training Agency and Oracle. Other elements that are emerging are reflections on the kind of learner that an effective teacher of teachers needs to be and the role of action research in empowering teachers in classrooms. The Peach Velvet team will also be sharing their multimedia in service programmes that are designed to stimulate constructive and sustained learning amongst teachers and challenge the cultural stance of teachers in both countries.
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