MirandaNet Newsletter, No 31, October, 2018 
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East Building Of Central Market, London, by Stevekeiretsu, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
Welcome to the MirandaNet Newsletter

Dear MirandaNetters,
Have you ever wondered why the MirandaNet Fellowship has been free to join since we started in 1992? A proportion of our research and development project income is used to sustain MirandaNet which will be much harder now that European Union projects are not open to us. So, an even greater proportion of our income has to come from the generosity of edtech companies who pay a subscription in order to share their product or service with professionals and to gain views about its efficacy.

Being a company associate of MirandaNet is a validation in itself as we would not be willing to endorse a product or service that is of doubtful value to learning. Even more importantly almost all our associates engage in our innovative qualitative practice-based research programme, iCatalyst. Over the years these projects have come up with some inspiring findings from the classroom that also are used to improve the tool we are researching. Classroom teachers as co-researchers define, measure and report on the impact of innovation on learning with the guidance of their school leaders, MirandaNet researchers and education technology companies. This programme that has included many MirandaNet members is designed to support teachers in taking ownership of changes inspired by education technology both in teaching their pupils and in teaching each other.  

You can look up teachers' findings about the impact on learning of education technologies like audio technology for special needs pupils, video coaching, virtual reality, adventures, science simulations, e-books, the role of digital media in learning, home school links, online homework systems, the role of digital devices and many more. 

One important findings from the Gaia research is that since Academies do not have to follow the national curriculum, they are dropping Computing that they cannot staff and is not popular with the students - especially girls. One exam they are moving to is Digital Media. Let me know if you can recommend others.

Regards to you all,
Professor Christina Preston,
MirandaNet Founder

TPEA – closer MirandaNet/ITTE partnership
TTE and MirandaNet are working on a closer partnership in 2019 that will be called 
the Technology, Pedagogy and Education Association (TPEA). This is intended to strengthen our voice because the English school system is currently 8,000 computing teachers short.  As a result too many of our children are not receiving adequate education in computer science, information technology and digital literacy to prepare them for life’s challenges. 
Information Technology and Teacher Education Association, (ITTE founded in 1986) agreed to continue their long term partnership with the MirandaNet  Fellowship (founded in 1992) under the new name Technology, Pedagogy and Education Association (TPEA). This restructured learned society, to be formally launched in 2019, aims to continue the work of the partners in influencing policy and practice in education technology. The TPEA name was chosen to align with ITTE’s well established international journal, Technology, Pedagogy and Education ( published by Taylor Francis, and one of the top-ranked international journals in educational research. Together the two organisations publish widely in professional journals, newsletters and in the education press and write most of the standard course books used in teacher education published by Routledge. 
You will be hearing more but this will not affect your membership of MirandaNet and your access to the information we share. 
What has Damian Hinds been saying about edtech?
Damian HindsEdtech is a subject that has languished in political circles since 2010 and we are delighted to see it back on the agenda in the Department for Education through the Schools Strategy Unit. In particular an article in School Week this week, However at the moment it is mainly all about workload, recruitment and retention because Secretary of State Damian Hinds has acknowledged that the teacher drain is of major concern.
These speeches and announcements give a picture of current government thinking. An alternative view is provided by Don’t look back in anger? Really? a blog post by Bob Harrison. After 8 years of government failure to support learning with ICT, Bob Harrison is more inclined to the words of John Osborne than Oasis. Read the whole post at over on Medium
Please tell us your Digital Story.....
We invite you help in writing the third section of our book about the future; Digital Revolution through community initiative: the social politics of education futures
In the first section of our book we tell the stories before we met about our professional lives teaching about computers and with computers  in the Czech Republic and England.
In the second section we describe all that has been achieved in the Anglo-Czech MirandaNet community we have developed from 1994 - 2018, often with the support of  many companies, charities and government agencies as well as the EU.
In the third section we would like you to tell your story about how computers have impacted on your life and education, work and leisure and about how you see the future.
Contribute here
Prof. Christina Preston, Dr. Bozena Mannova, Ed. Prof. Sarah Younie
New Fellow
Penny Rabiger has just become a Fellow for her paper Social Media: handle with care. Here’s a taste:
“The long and the short of it is that it all came to a head, and we ended up that evening having a three hour, very intense and deep discussion about what it is to be a teenager nowadays. She was distraught, bursting forth hearty wails and gasping tears. She had reached an extremely dark and painful place. It was frightening for me to see her like that but it was important to unpack, together, how the intensity of feeling had been fuelled by this relentless online interaction and screen time.”
 This is a powerful and personal piece of writing and can be found here

New Professor
Warm congratulations to Andy Connell at Chester who has just been made a professor.  Andy is the Chair of the Council for Subject Associations, the Head of Initial Teacher Education at the University of Chester and a long standing executive committee member of the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (ITTE).

He has been on a number of national subject expert groups for Computing and advisory groups on Teacher Standards. Before moving into the training of teachers Andy was a teacher and head of Computing and Business in secondary schools and also taught in primary schools. He is passionate about educating beginning and experienced teachers to help them provide the best possible learning experience for young people. When he has time, he likes walking the hills, real ale and live music.
Danny Young offers some news about features they are adding to their popular JIT program. Check out this is a video that illustrates the changes.

IRIS Connect

The Chartered College of Teachers are using a version of the IRIS Connect Video enabled platform in a pilot to link members. 
Helen Tyreman says, “ Our pilot is the start of fulfilling our mission to connect Chartered College of Teaching members within an inclusive and respectful online community. We hope this community will help to develop the teaching profession through collegial sharing of effective, evidence-led practice and expertise.  The pilot is explained in this video.
Raising Digital Aspirations – Winchester Forum 7th – 8th June 2018. MirandaNet and ITTE
Reports and reviews are still coming in about our extremely successful joint conference. Read more about it here and here

Theorising Technology in Teaching and Learning. 4th July - University of Warwick
Michael Hammond reports: We were pleased to see several MirandaNet and ITTE members at our second seminar looking at the way we theorise technology in teaching and learning held recently at the University of Warwick, 4 July 2018.

We became interested in theory as technology research is often seen as very under-theorised. We do not have to accept entirely this criticism for there is a lot of theorising going on.  However there are two key problems. First, a lot of research is giving us snapshots of, say, who uses what in respect to technology, but this is not providing us with explanatory frameworks to help us understand the process by which certain technology gets picked up and then how it is channelled into certain directions. Second, there is often a mis-match between ways in which researchers speak about take-up of technology and how they speak about pedagogy with technology. The take-up is often is discussed using positivist or behaviourist frameworks while pedagogy is almost always, one way or another, rooted in social constructivist thinking. We think we might be able to have a go at addressing these two problems by trying to create a more interdisciplinary approach to researching how technology is used.  For example one presentation from Neil Ingram in our second seminar was on the use of Bernstein's idea of visible learning and he helped to explain how the use of technology is limited when the teacher's role is to be the voice of authority and controller of the discourse. On a related theme, Cristina Costa, in our first seminar, found Bourdieu's idea of habitus to be a useful concept to discuss what was durable in academic practice using technology.
As part of our work on theorising we are editing a special issue for the journal Technology Pedagogy and Education. We have been surprised at just how many people responded to our call for papers and how much interest there was in theorising when it comes to technology and learning. We were also pleased by how eclectic that interest is and how interdisciplinary researchers are aiming to be. We hope the special issue will keep the debates going but meantime let us talk about more about theorising. 
You can find out more about the seminars  (see seminars 7 and 11) here

Predicting Our Future

During the 1970s the NASA Ames Research Center conducted some studies which explored the possibilities of humans living in giant orbiting spaceships. Colonies  that would house  about 10,000 people were designed and this is one of a series of artists interpretations created at the time. These high quality images can be used in many areas of the curriculum and  all are in the Public Domain and you can download the full set here 

achine learning and human intelligence,
Rosemary Luckin
Reviewed by Terry Freedman

Luckin's thesis may be summed up as: before we can understand artificial intelligence, we need to understand human intelligence. At the moment, we seem to be in thrall to the wonders of AI, but all AI does is learn and crunch through data very quickly. It is, in short, pretty one-dimensional. 
Although the book is chatty to an extent, and draws on personal (childhood) experiences), it is not an easy read. This is an advantage: to get the most out of the book you need to keep stopping and reflecting. Luckin discusses different forms of knowing, and gender differences in this. I mention this because one thing leaps out from this book: nothing is as simple or as straightforward as you might think.
Luckin reminds us more than once that information is not synonymous with knowledge. My only beef with the book is that it doesn't come with a copy of the program the author wrote to simulate politicians' responses to difficult questions!
Read full review here 

This review first appeared in a special AI issue of Digital Education. Read the entire issue  
Terry Freedman is a freelance consultant, trainer, speaker and writer.  He blogs at 

Buy on Amazon

Becoming an Innovative Learning Environment: The Making of a New Zealand Secondary School

Noeline Wright. University of Waikato. Hamilton, New Zealand.
Reviewed by Dr. Daithí Ó Murchú. International Consultant in education, technology and business.

‘Becoming an Innovative Learning Environment -The Making of a New Zealand Secondary School’, is a wonderful story, written and told to challenge, inspire and encourage other schools to focus on the true etymological and holistic meaning of ‘education’ and ‘leadership’. It firmly places the ‘whole-school’ community, front-and-centre, in nurturing the unique genius of every student in an envisioned way. 

From the outset, Noeline Wright clearly states that the intention of this book is to be highly readable by ‘knowledge workers’ interested in the journey undertaken by Hobsonville Point Secondary School (HPSS), New Zealand. Its focus is a very ‘personal’ voyage, surrounding the school’s transformation in becoming an innovative, 21 Century learning environment inside New Zealand’s education curriculum and regulatory system. 

This is a book about vision with action. It portrays a school ‘making itself’, changing its ‘whole-school’ world in an envisioned manner, centring on significant aspects of the school’s nascent development. It is about democratic citizenship, leadership, ownership and mutual respect where everyone in HPSS is seen as a ‘vital, inclusive and proactive partner’ in the ‘becoming’ of the school community, in a modern learning environment (MLE).

This book is not written for the theorists, it is a truly personal story of one school’s honesty, bravery, resilience and envisioned action. It concerns itself with the manner in which a whole-school community nurtures excellence in an inspiring and ever evolving fashion, preparing its students for the society which does not yet exist! As Plato wrote, in the purest sense, it is about true democratic citizenship and leadership. As Noelene Wright states, “This book is a moment in time…”, which encapsulates the process of a school ‘Being and Becoming Itself’.

“When you drop any new idea in the pond of the world, you get a ripple effect. You have to be aware that you will be creating a cascade of change”. Joel A. Barker

Full review here
Buy the book on Amazon
Digital Anthropology
This essay from the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Anthropology moves the debate beyond whether digital technologies have good or bad consequences, it explores the subject area within a much wider cultural and social context and  examines the complexities that arise from using digital technologies in different cultures.

Digital Literacy - 10 essential reads
Misinformation and distrust are the characteristics of our time. They make the question of how to promote critical digital literacy particularly important. In this post, Gianfranco Polizzi suggests ten key texts that offer a framework for thinking about how to approach it.” LSE Blog. Gianfranco’s selection covers...... Media Literacy in Early Childhood, Media lIteracy and the Internet, e-safety, pedagogy, creativity and much more.

Images where you can slide between before and after, in one picture are being increasingly used on the web. Such interactive tools usually require som programming or plug -ins or can be expensive. Juxtapose is a free, easy to use open source tool that lets you compare, and embed two pieces of similar media, including photos, and GIFs online. It’s ideal for highlighting then/now stories that explain slow changes over time (growth of a city skyline, regrowth of a forest, etc.) or before/after stories that show the impact of single dramatic events (natural disasters, protests, wars, etc.) Here's an art example from the author. 

Presentation Templates
If you create presentations using either Powerpoint or Google Slides then Slide Carnival offer a range of varied professionally designed templates, covering a range of themes and styles that you can fully customise. The templates are free and are licence using a Creative Commons CC BY Attribution Licence

Postcard Remix Tool
You can have hours of fun with the Postcard remixing tool from Bryan Mathers - @Visualthinkery.   
All the remixing is actually done in your browser. So unless you choose to share it, your remixing is completely private. It works by applying creative constraints to an image in SVG format. The data model and the image view are kept separate, allowing the remixed data to be shared in a simple URL
You can explore some of more of Bryans tools here at his Remixer site. All use a  Creative Commons  BY SA licence.

by Rob Ellis
Two more free resources online. These might cause some controversy - I’m not saying they’re the best, simply that I’ve found them valuable and able to enhance learning.

The first is Khan Academy found at This American resource with its video demonstrations and exercises is growing by the day. It’s not something a non-specialist can ‘plug’ a learner into and hope that it removes the need for teaching but it provides a structure of activities and as one learner is reported to have said, “You can watch the videos again and again but you can’t ask your teacher to repeat 19 or 20 times.” 
It has material for all ages and covers an increasing range of subjects but was, I believe, created to support a relative of founder Salman Khan’s need for maths help.
It now covers learning at all levels and nowadays also the arts and humanities
On a personal note I love the more recreational stuff about maths through doodling. I know I’ll never use it but I can’t stop revisiting Infinity Elephants


The Geogebra app is available on a number of platforms including  iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Chromebook  Linux and enables the teacher or learner to model and interact with mathematics. I came to it simply because I was tired of trying to show young children that vertically opposite angles are always equal by holding together two slippery rulers. It’s fair to say that it’s more sophisticated than that though.

Use already created tools or make your own. There are some great facilities available but beware that some might use a foreign language because this app really is international and also that to create your own there is a learning curve.

Websites for learning
Rob Ellis has just realised that over the years he has made a lot of small websites to support or enable learning. This blog post highlights six created for different purposes. 
GDPR Guide
This is a very useful concise  guide to GDPR from the School Education Gateway. It clarifies the differences between Personal and Sensitive data and suggest strategies for developing good practices in this area.

Photography in Museums
Visitor photography in museums can prove invaluable. Wikipedia is undertaking a major project to create a digital archive of over 20 million artefacts that were lost in the recent in the Brazilian Museum Fire. It is asking users to upload  any photographs of artefacts they may have taken in the museum and add some consistent data.
Already many  contributions  have been uploaded and you can see some of them here

Is Scientific and Academic publishing a rip-off?
George Monbiot discusses the emergence and impact of Sci-hub  and it’s impact on, (often, publicly funded) paywalled knowledge and research. One of the most profitable form of publishing in existence. Although most research is still paywalled there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Ofsted A commercial or ideological agenda?
In this article, education journalist Warwick Mansell poses the question whether Ofsted’s recent statements on the curriculum have been shaped by ideological interests.

Apple’s latest IOS update 12 includes a tool which allows users to check on their phone usage and restrict it if  necessary. It also allows parent to set time limits for different apps on their kids devices. 

Salisbury Cathedral 

An Early Gothic Architectural Masterpiece

Salisbury cathedral has been featured heavily in the news recently. Perhaps if our Russian tourist friends had viewed this video they could have learned much more than in their brief visit. This knowledgeable well researched, yet informal  conversation between Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris of SmartHistory contains a wealth of information. 

  • IFIP TC9 Conference: This Changes Everything. 19-21 Sept 2018.  Poznan, Poland. Submission deadline 15th January 2018
  • 11-13 Sep 2018: Bera Annual Conference 2018. Northumbria University, Newcastle. Submission deadline 31st January 2018
  • Practical Pedagogies; Cologne  1-2 November 2018
  • Digital Literacy, MirandaNet, Prague, March (dates to follow.)
  • Winchester Forum, TPEA, June 2019 (dates follow)
  • Global Summit with TPEA and EFC with UNESCO September 2019 (More details to follow.)

We are always keen to review books, videos, blogs or podcasts by members. Let us know if you have anything in progress. We would also like to extend our panel of reviewers. Please get in touch with me if you would like to be a reviewer:

Our previous book reviews are here:

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