MirandaNet Newsletter No 15, 4th September, 2016
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Mirandanet workshop - ladies studying
 Is there really anything to beat a traditional library? 
Image By Diliff , CC BY-SA 3.0,

The summer holidays were a good opportunity to consider the implications of the Brexit decision particularly because since 1992 MirandaNet has built up a strong network of international colleagues, mostly funded by the EU. During the break I visited some of our MirandaNet Fellows, Carsten Trinitis in Munich, Jan Lepetak in The Netherlands, and Bozena Mannova and Lenka Zerzanova, in the Czech Republic, who were all surprised and perplexed by the decision to leave the EU. I am not as convinced as Brexiteer Boris that all will continue as before and I have real concerns about the funding of classroom research.
L to R; Jan, Lenka, Christina, John Preston, Bozena, Carsten, Christina (again), Hans Pongratz, Vice President of Technical University of Munich
Nevertheless, Brexit had one silver lining: the fall of the House of Gove with overtones of Macbeth! We will need to wait to see what Justine Greening brings to the party. 

Hail, (Queen Justine), for so thou art: behold, where stands
The usurper's cursed head: the time is free.

Our Associates continue to step into the research breach with two new publications about in-ear coaching (IRIS-Connect) and a study of the classroom value of digital media, 3D and literacy tools (Gaia Technologies). We are also completing a report on eye tracking equipment for those with learning difficulties funded by Leicester Council. MirandaNet will be presenting at the ResearchEd conference 10th September in London, at BETT in January, ITTE in June in Hull and WCCE in Dublin in July. Hope to see some of you there. 

Meanwhile De Montfort University (DMU) has launched a campaign, #LoveInternational, redoubling the fight for tolerance, compassion and an international outlook. The Vice Chancellor Dominic Shellard has written to our new PM to explain that the university has  more than 300 international staff of whom 120 are from the EU and that the value these individuals bring to this country is incalculable. The letter affirms that these staff deserve at the very least to feel welcome and secure in the UK and asks that, as a matter of urgency, permanent residency rights for all university staff from the EU be enshrined in law as part of any negotiated post-referendum settlement. Meanwhile De Montfort has risen 12 points in the league of teaching quality at the top 50 universities and is recruiting exceptionally well. 

We have not yet fixed a date for the next MirandaNet unconference but meanwhile don't miss the Gaia video of our May event at the Innovation Centre in the following news item. 
Christina Preston, Sept 2016
MirandaNet UnConference 2016: Pupil Achievement and Teacher Innovation
MirandaNet Unconference 2016: Pupil Achievement and Innovation
This video, produced by Paris Wharton of Gaia, includes Professor Christina Preston explaining what MirandaNet is about. It describes MirandaNet's role as a Community of Practice where teachers can share their work with other professionals including researchers and software developers. It shares succinct interviews with practitioners and features some stunning 3D and green screen video work with schools.

Christina, Dr Sarah Younie of DMU and Bernard Dady of Gaia Technologies will also be speaking at the ResearchEd conference on 10th September at Capital City Academy in London.
A couple of reports that should be of interest to members have been published since the last Newsletter 

Developing behaviour management content for initial teacher training (ITT)
Commissioned by the DfE this report (pdf download) by Tom Bennett (aka the Behaviour Czar) sets out recommendations for the way behaviour management training should be delivered during initial teacher training. It states that lack of training in this field disadvantages new teachers.

 ‘But don’t you get this kind of stuff before you become a teacher?’ she said. And the honest answer I had to give was, ‘Er...sometimes."  Bennett

OECD Report
There has been plenty of controversy about the Latest OECD report that seems to imply that traditional literacy should come before digital literacy particularly when children come from a poor family with limited access to computers outside school: "Ensuring that every child attains a baseline level of proficiency in reading will do more to create equal opportunities in a digital world than will expanding or subsidising access to high-tech devices and services."

But the findings were criticised as "simplistic" by Mark Chambers, chief executive of Naace, the UK body supporting the use of computers in schools and a MirandaNet member. He rejected the idea that it should be a choice between either improving reading or focusing on digital skills, as both were mutually beneficial. Mr Chambers said it was no surprise that the wealthy would have the most confidence and take the most advantage of new technology. He questioned whether internet access at home was really the same for rich and poor, suggesting that it did not mean that all young people had equal access to broadband and their own computer.

"In the UK, homes of students from a low economic, social and cultural background often don't have landline phones and internet access through them relying instead on mobiles. Schools should work to reduce social divisions rather than "retrenching to Victorian approaches".
Download the report (pdf)

Prospero & Miranda. This image is part of an amazing online collection launched this week. The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive is a wonderful resource created by Michael John Goodman. Michael has digitised, enhanced and curated over 3000 images illustrations from the four major Victorian era illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s Complete Works. These should be an ideal resource for students studying Shakespeare in the current school year. All content is made available under a CC BY Licence.

There is detailed post outlining some of the issues raised in creating this resource here in Michael's blog. 

A tribute to MirandaNetters 

Lubna Malik is a MirandaNet Senior Fellow and runs the MIrandaNet Pakistan chapter. She visited the UK again this year.  The following is a summary of Lubna's visit - you can read her full journal on the MirandaNet website.

During my three weeks visit to the UK in May - June 2016; I had various opportunities to attend educational events. The main purpose of my visit was to participate in the unconference at The Innovation Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. In addition, I was honoured to observe or attend a number of other ICT activities. I began with a tour of De Montfort University then to Mellor Community School, Leicester with Atisha Parmar where I observed their ICT resources in use for teaching and learning. I discovered we are facing the same challenges.

At Avanti House Community School, Brockley I attended a session about esafety presented by ChildNet. I hope to be able to arrange a similar session at The City School, Pakistan. 

Finally; an amazing tour of Redbridge Primary School where we were welcomed by the ICT teacher, Ms Katherine Steel. I observed the technology arrangements in the classes and the ICT suites. I was inspired by the performance of the Year 4 ‘Digital Leaders’ who enlightened me about various digital happenings in their school. They talked about MacBooks, Green Screen, iPads and Beebots. They had also shared their learning through presenting their work about the ‘Classroom of the Future’ at BETT 16.

As a result of my discussions with Katherine we agreed to share resources, software, curriculum and assessment tools. Following Christina's suggestion we also agreed to explore links between students in Leicester and Lahore, perhaps to create a group of ‘Digital Leaders’ in Pakistan Schools.

I brought home a bundle of learning experiences and happy memories as a way forward. Amazingly, on the way back to my country, the person sitting next to me was connected to educational projects in the EU and was willing to work with Pakistan in future where available.


The online newsletter format is becoming increasingly popular with educational thinkers, bloggers and writers. Here are a selection that MirandaNet suggests may be of interest to members.
  • Thought Shrapnel: Doug Belshaw; Doug describes this as an off-beat weekly newsletter focused loosely around education, technology, and productivity;
  • QuinlearningOliver Quinlan produces  "a weekly newsletter on learning, digital and education";
  • Digital Education Newsletter:Terry Freedman's newsletter is "aimed at teachers, advisers, Principals - anyone, in fact, who has a professional interest in educational ICT and Computing or education technology";
  • Revolution: Graham Brown-Martin pull no punches in his newsletter which provides an investigative insight into, amongst other things, technology and global education.
Anyone can become a better photographer using commonly available equipment. 
Most of us use take pictures on a regular basis, often with our camera-phones. This video show how just opening our eyes to our surroundings can help us create better pictures without needing a lot of sophisticated photographic kit.  

College of Teachers
Dame Alison Peacock is to be the CEO of a newly formed College of Teachers (CoT). The College of Teachers is certainly dividing some commentators on social media in recent weeks as evidenced in this interview which outlines some of the ideological fault lines between the so called 'trad' and 'prog' points of view.

You need a TV licence to use iPlayer  
From last Thursday (Sept 1st) anyone viewing or downloading BBC content on iPlayer will be required tol hold a TV Licence to view the programmes. However, (for the moment at least), the BBC will not be tracking you! Source: Ars Technica

Drop in number of UK children studying creative subjects
The Creative Industries Federation has warned that the UK could face a creative skills shortage after the latest GCSE results revealed a drop of almost 10% in students studying Design and Technology. Link

Terry Freedman, a MirandaNet Fellow, mentions the value of joining MirandaNet in a couple of articles that are worth reading. The first article reflects on the key issues of teacher shortages and professional development and Terry pinpoints the value of practice-based research. The second article is from Terry's blog, and asks 10 questions arising from 'Lazy Thinking in ICT and Computing in Schools'

We are delighted to highlight and recommend to all MirandaNetters the Professional Learning Blog  by Charlotte Curl, over at our Associate Iris Connect. It features some excellent posts which should be very useful for your professional development and learning.
A few quick snippets of interest from web sites and blogs

Drone Pilots Wanted

Image credit Peter Linehan CC BY 
An interesting take on the hackneyed meme "jobs that don't exist yet meme"  is  the job of drone pilot, which is now becoming a reality. One would imagine that some of the professions which would benefit might include architecture and planning, archaeology, security, search and rescue, environmental sciences, logistics and many more. Source: Huffington Post

Push Button World
Amazon have released a small wifi enabled 'button' that enables consumers to automatically purchase mundane products such as condoms, coffee and mouthwash. Source BBC News

Robot Lawyer Contests Parking Tickets
London developer, Joshua Browder, 19, released a chatbot tool in September  2015 with  3,000 people using it in the first month to appeal their parking tickets. One assumes this technology could be put to all sort of other uses. Source Business Week

Interactive Commuter Map
You can follow the journeys of commuters in most of the large conurbations in England and Wales using this amazing interactive commuter map developed by Michigan data visualiser Mark Evans. The map is based on data from the UK  Office for National Statistics. Just another example of 'stuff we couldn't do without digital technology.' See Guardian Cities for the link

Khan Academy adds mobile apps 
Khan Academy is adding apps to its educational platform. Duck Duck Moose, an award-winning developer of educational apps for young children, is now part of Khan Academy. The 21 apps for mobile devices will be available on the platform for free. Read more

Periodic Table of Computing Resources
Liane O'Kane from has created an interesting Periodic Table of apps and resources for Primary Computing that you can download as a poster here.
See the MirandaNet Calendar for more forthcoming events.
If you are organising, or know of any forthcoming events you think would be of interest to the MirandaNet members please let us know.
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