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MirandaNet Fellowship is not associated with any political grouping, but we support many of the aims of organisations such as Amnesty International and urge members to look at the AUUK site and see if they agree with these aims as well.

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Mark Ellis

Personal Statement | ICT Details | Recent Projects | Case Histories


Personal Statement

My first 'portable' weighed about forty pounds and would have crushed your lap! A carpenter made the wooden jacket it lived in. Happy days! I liked the way a primitive Options application gave us the power to process the actual choices of students rather than give them a fixed menu. We couldn't possibly do it by hand, because we couldn't try the permutations the computer could. We weren't automating what we already did, we were exploiting the new possibilities to do better.

This is what we all look for today. This is what excites me; that ICT can open new collaborative routes, new possibilities,  and empower us all. I have been inspired by the perception and presentational skill of many. This is an exciting time to be in education. We are all learning from each other and supporting each other as we could never do before.

My personal interest at the moment is in Moodle and the development of the school's VLE. I am privileged to work with people who have passion, and a common vision. It doesn't get better than this.

ICT Interests

I am currently interested in Web 2.0 tools. The use of handheld devices suggests possibilities and inevitably changes the way in which learning can happen. I like the Interactive Whiteboard and struggle to prevent it reinforcing medieval methods of teaching. The VLE is a big job at present. We are trying to side-step the constraints of building and timetable in an acceptable, productive way.

Recent Projects

Recently for BECTA/NATE project, I experimented with Blogging. I know that blogging is not new, of course it isn't, but I was looking for what the 'extra' was. I think it is the sense of audience, which, to English teachers, is the Holy Grail. I have not yet written it into the Miranda Net Journals.

Case Histories

I would be happy to use the full version of the case study about blogging, a cut-down version of which was submitted to BECTA/NATE and was reported as part of the Teaching the Hard Things in English with ICT project in January. The purpose was to explore the Web 2.0 potential of blogging for creating a sense of audience, responding particularly the the new English National Curriculum instruction to provide REAL audience for students in English.

The outcome was particularly encouraging, with a high standard of work from 16 year-olds which had unusually pronounced audience awareness.

Currently, the school is developing the Open Source VLE (Moodle) but with an eye to the Managed Learning Environment of the future we have been careful to make all our data accurate and efficient. We now have a system, ready to roll in September, where a child comes in with a UPN (Unique Pupil Number) and from that we populate the timetable, create Active Directory entries, assign email and online space, but MOST IMPORTANTLY we then interface with the timetable software and populate the student's classes on Moodle. This is in real time and live. We are quite proud of this and have been working with a couple of companies to provide the solutions. For those committed to the Moodle route, this integrated system - which, of course, puts strenuous pressure on the accuracy of your initial data and the integrity of all the systems you have - is very efficient.


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