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The MirandaNet Fellowship takes a broad view of the social, political, cultural, technological and vocational changes that impact on teaching and learning. Oracle leads a consortium of companies who partner and resource these activities. The MirandaNet community encourages teachers and industry representatives as well as researchers to publish their findings in journals, proceedings, educational computing magazines and on the web.

MirandaNet Fellows are responding to the need for new communication and organisational structures by taking ownership of advanced technologies, as well as preserving the best of traditional approaches.

PELRS: Transforming the way we learnDeveloping Pedagogies for E-learning Resources (PELRS)

Bridget Somekh was the first academic that MirandaNet invited to run a workshop in 1994. Her PALM project in the early nineties provoked our interest in action research which we now call practice-based research. Bridget has sent us the summary of findings of her latest project called Developing Pedagogies for E-learning Resources Project (PELRS for short).

This was a 3 year project exploring the innovative uses of ICT in teaching and learning, based at Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Education. For the first 2 years of the project 4 case study schools developed, tested and refined new pedagogic strategies to maximise the potential of e-learning resources.

The 2003 context in which the project began was that schools in England had invested heavily in new technologies recently. Many schools were now equipped with computer suites, high speed internet connections and had access to digital equipment such as laptops, interactive whiteboards, digital still cameras, digital video cameras, and scanners. Research suggested that schools were now looking for ways of using this technology to maximum effect to provide high-quality interactive learning experiences for pupils. But the culture of schooling, and the daily routines and procedures which structure the school day were slow to change, with the result that much of the potential of this technology was being wasted”.

The report praises teachers for their keenness to challenge a narrow and transmissive model of teaching and learning. The results provide some thoughtful pointers about the 'innovative' pedagogy which is possible if teachers are well supported in making changes in classrooms.

[Download Bridget's Report] (Word 176KB)

[Go to the PELRS Website]

MirandaNet Research Fellows have made a distinguished contribution to MirandaNet development. Jane Field's understanding of adult learning and communications technology has been influential on the MirandaNet mentoring process (Field 1997).

Research in progress includes a study by Margaret Cox, from King's College, London and Christina Preston which extends Cox's work on the motivation of students using ICT (Cox 1997).

Using MirandaNet as a control group in, Teachers as Innovators, Preston and Cox are exploring the factors supporting the continued use of ICT in teaching by experienced users. (Cox and Preston 1999). This on-going study, funded by the Teacher Training Agency includes the IT co-ordinator's experience, the implications for professional development and the potential impact of ICT on the professional culture of teachers. Cox and Preston will use the findings to produce suggestions for effective and sustainable training models for teachers. A comparative study is being conducted in the Czech Republic by the Czech Technical University and in Finland at Helsinki University. Dr Lara Lengel, Richmond University, is interviewing MirandaNet Fellows to explore the issues of Culture and Technology in the New Europe (Lengel 1999).

Bozena Mannova, Czech Technical University is using the Anglo-Czech links to publish on 'The revolution in collaborative lifelong learning for teacher educators across cultural boundaries' (Mannova, Preston 1999). Mannova and Preston won the European Union Women of Achievement Award award for Anglo-Czech professional development model in 1998. This model is now being funded by EU Tempus to be extended into Bulgaria. Dr Michelle Selinger, Centre, Warwick, is active in the development of on-line facilties and moderating skills (Selinger 1996).

John Meadows, South Bank University, has been advising on monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as researching other aspects of teacher motivation (Meadows 1999).

Dr Marilyn Leask, De Montfort University, has contributed to the political and organisational understanding of the Fellowship through their involvement in the development of the independent teachers' organisation TeacherNetUK. She has also encouraged publication by the teachers in a Routledge series about using ICT in primary and secondary classrooms (Pachler and Leask 1999).

The publication and paper presentations of the Academic Fellows, practitioners in schools and libraries, has increased since 1995 when Professor Bridget Somekh, Huddersfield University was instrumental in establishing the principles of management of change and action research (Davis and Somekh, 1998, Day, Elliott, Somekh, Winter 1998).

For example, MirandaNet teachers published in the proceedings for Virtualisation in Education: subject range from autonomous learning (Cuthell 1999), to Intranet development (Copley, Cuthell, O'Hagan 1999), professional development issues (Ellis 1999) and teaching sick children (Sosna 1999).

Encouraging the teachers to tell their own stories is an aspect of action research methodology which is essential in building a website that other teachers find attractive. (Thomas 1995, Evans 1998)

Ben Franklin who writes the newsletter also publishes in Interactive, the professional magazine for teachers.

First action research studies from MirandaNet Fellows on the impact of ownership of technology for teachers were influential in the DfEE's decision to use departmental underspends on equipping teachers with mobile computers from 1996. (Preston 1995, Preston, Barber 1996, Preston 1996) Developments at MirandaNet have been cited in discussion of the BECTa, SENCO forum (Parker and Bowles 1998).

For the government agency, BECTa, Preston is consulting on industry education partnership and moderating on-line communities. Since the publications of the chapter, Building on-line professional development communities, (Preston 1999) the MirandaNet community has been developing closer links with the industry Fellows who support school and college based projects.

MirandaNet Fellows are additionally exploring the value of websites in learning gains. Another action research project is studying the impact of display technologies on teaching resourced by Matrix Display systems.

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