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MirandaNet Fellowship Profiles (MirandaNet Archive - as of March 2015)
Dr Christina Preston, Founder of MirandaNet, has long been an advocate for using advanced technologies both as a catalyst for change in teaching and learning and as a force for international understanding between teaching professionals. Since the 1980s Dr Christina Preston, Professor of Educational Innovation at the University of Bedfordshire, advocates the application of digital technologies as a catalyst for enriching teaching and learning. Developing stimulating programmes for teachers and senior managers that ensure ownership of change is the main focus of her research and her teaching. MirandaNet Fellows have established linked professional development e-communities in countries like China, Chile, Czech Republic, Mexico, South Africa and Friesland. More information about Christina is found on the Founder page, where there are further links to the MirandaNet Vision and to Christina's CV and Current work.
View www.mirandanet.org.uk/researchexchange for recent research
Christina Preston’s main research publications in educational innovation focus on four topics that all relate to professional development for educators: action research; building communities of practice; concept mapping as a research tool and ethnography with particular interest in critical incident methodology. Most important has been the establishment of the theory and practice of Braided Learning , an emerging analysis of how professionals build knowledge together on line.
You can click into our publications and into a series of research subjects on www.mirandanet.ac.uk/researchexchange that have been developed by MirandaNetters. These are: action research;building communities of practice; and, concept mapping as a research tool;
See below for a short outline of these subjects
Action Research: the main principles In this space we discuss the how you set about action research and the MirandaNet and World Ecitizens publications by teachers and pupils who are engaged in curriculum exchange across the world. There is also a section on the courses we run for educators where we use action research as the main process for learning.
Building communities of practice In this space the methods we have used to develop the MirandaNet Fellowship and sixteen other communities of practice is the topic of dicussion. The aim of these community, that take many ideas from the medieval trade guilds, is to support colleagues who want to make greater use of opportunities that digital technologies offer to make teaching and learning more enriching for students. Becta called the community the ‘Facebook’ of ICT professionals in international education although the aims are more than social- it is about sharing knowledge. UNESCO called MirandaNet the Robin Hood of ICT CPD because teachers teacher each other at no cost. Etienne Wenger (1998) first defined this kind of informal learning group as a ‘community of practice’. He said to MirandaNet members, in an un conference called a MirandaMod , that he sees our efforts to apply our knowledge as a means of influencing educational policy at local national and international levels as the next logical stage in his own developing theory.
Concept mapping as a research tool MirandaNet fellows have been exploring the hypothesis that an analysis of a Multi-dimensional Concept Map (MDCM) provides educators and researchers with different and possibly richer and broader insights into understanding of an issue – in this case that of digital technologies in education – than written responses alone. ‘Multi-dimensionality’ refers to the characteristics of multimodal hand-drawn or digitally produced concept maps, namely multi-layering and (remote) multi-authoring.
Critical incidents: experience as research data This is a space where we would like you to contribute a short anecdote in the comments section about an incident that changed your attitude to computers- for any time from your youth. We have quoted some examples so you know what to do and some information about ethnography which is the overall research strategy where critical incidents can be identified.
One MirandaNet venture is the MirandaNet e-journal written by teachers for teachers The MirandaNet e-journal is designed to provide practising teachers with a professional platform where they can publish their evidence and create a knowledge base This e-journal that is peer reviewed has been popular with teachers on practice-based courses and is a significant factor in raising the standards of course work (www.mirandanet.ac.uk).
An other venture is World ECitizens, a charity which has been established by the Fellows to provide a web-space where young learners can map the world they dream about. The project is called Etopia - mapping the world WE want (www.worldecitizens.net). World Ecitizens (WE) has a website for children’s publications - a response to global upheavals caused by the War on Terror. It aims to encourage understanding between people’s cultures and communities and to share across the world the fascinating diversity within nations. (www.worldecitizens.net).
MirandaNet members publications can be found here
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