MirandaNet Newsletter No 17. 6th November, 2016
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Source:  Peter Leth, CC BY

Dear MirandaNetters, 
A new report by Crest has been published this month about the government's November 2015 decision to scrap information and Communications Technology (ICT) at GCSE and A-Level. Computer Science replaced ICT at GCSE in 2016 in an attempt to prepare pupils better for their future at work.

Yet this not-for-profit body representing the technical information security industry has collected opinions arguing that scrapping basic ICT was "a mistake" and that the education system would be best served with qualifications to allow for two exams: specialised, coding-based knowledge as well as the wider level of accessibility the original ICT studies allowed.  

Those of us who were involved in the design of the old ICT curriculum already knew that the  decision to disapply ICT betrays the politicians’ misreading of the original ICT curriculum which already required specialist knowledge to teach certain aspects such as control and modeling or datahandling. Ironically too, when the ICT curriculum was first designed industry asked the government not to make the computing science elements compulsory because they were concerned that there would not be enough teachers available to fulfill this aspect of the curriculum.  

Well, MirandaNet have joined with ITTE, MESH and other specialist UK groups to respond to calls for advice in the hope that Justine Greening, and others, will be taking more notice of the professional experts than has been fashionable in political circles recently. We have worked on two responses that we will be posting soon: A response to Royal Society/British Academy about educational research and a report from our 21st April Global Teacher Education Knowledge Mobilisation Event in London about making a difference to teacher quality. This report outlines a knowledge mobilisation strategy enabling Teachers and Teacher Educators to become “change agents” for UNESCO SDG4. Well done to all the colleagues who have worked so hard on the drafts.

Download the CREST report here.


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Collaborative learning at the San Francisco Exploratorium

This wonderful image (CC BY) by Fabrice Florin is one of a set of photographs he took during a visit to the Tinkering Studio at the San Francisco Exploratorium, an interactive museum where visitors can get hands on experience investigating scientific phenomena, whilst at the same have an opportunity to make something based on their own ideas or designs. 

New educational podcast

MirandaNet Fellow Leon Cych and Physics Teacher Alex Weatherall have launched a new podcast, The Edfiles "A fortnightly podcast about UK education for and about teachers, teaching, government policy and other things "presented in an informal style" which is scheduled to be broadcast every other week. It includes book reviews, banter, interviews and feedback from the audience. You can listen or download the first episode here. MirandaNet wishes Leon and Alex every success with this venture.

Wikimedia Foundation

MirandaNet founder Christina was delighted to be able to contribute to Wikimedia and receive the above acknowledgement for her contribution to the foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation provides accessible, public spaces to access knowledge online. Wikimedia is such a space with millions of open and free media files. Wikipedia delivers free knowledge to people, by people, in hundreds of languages around our planet.

Everyone is a potential Wikipedian. If you don't find what you're looking for on Wikipedia, you can start by contributing yourself. The articles, words, pictures and data are created by a diverse community of people who volunteer to share their knowledge with the world.  If you would like to join Christina you can donate here

Purpose of education and edtech
MirandaNet member Crispin Weston is a regular and valued contributor to Mirandalink. He has written a series of 10 blog-posts, with possibly more to follow, whose "focus at present is an analysis of the problem that technology can help us to solve and the preconditions which will allow it to be effective"  Start here with part 1 "The Select Committee conference and the Chief Inspector" and navigate through the series.

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AROUND THE WEB  (Digital Literacy)
Some items from around the web which may be of interest to MirandaNetters. This weeks selections focus on various aspects of Digital Literacy. 

Mapping Digital Literacy

There is no shortage of diagrams, maps and rubrics pertaining to Digital Literacy, and also no consensually agreed definition. We liked this interactive map from the All Aboard Irish Digital Skills roadmap because it combines, tools, strategies and processes. It accompanies their Digital Skills report which can be downloaded here.

Do children need social media lessons?
Peter Coe, Senior Lecturer in Law, Aston University looks at the misuse of social media and r the resulting consequences and suggests this is as important a subject to teach children as sex education. Source: The Conversation

Fact Checker or Googler?
EducationWeek carried a report about some recent research which highlights why 'googling' is not enough when it comes to checking the accuracy and provenance of information. Various search strategies are needed. The results of the research are worrying with "...middle school students unable to tell the difference between an advertisement and a news story; high school students taking at face value a cooked-up chart from the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee". Digital Literacy is nowhere near as established as we might assume. The research paper is here.
Making professional learning enthralling and effective

IRIS Connect film clubs are low risk, high impact and don’t cost a thing - you don’t even need to be an IRIS Connect customer to join!

Born out of their project with the EEF, years of research and feedback from thousands of schools, film clubs give teachers time out to reflect on, analyse and discuss teaching and learning. 

Through film clubs you can think about the notion of 'best' practice,  analyse learning behaviours and discuss effective strategies. Thanks to Kate Herbert Smith, Senior Content & Marketing Executive for sharing this resource with us.

Find out more about film club and sign up here, it's free
A new way to knit
A new way to knit; Computing meets Craft
Computer artist Petros Vrellis generates these amazing artworks with a combining algorithms and craft techniques.

"The knitting is done by hand, on a primitive circular loom; a few thousand meters of continuous black thread are knitted as straight lines across the circumference, in a pattern dictated by a specially designed algorithm. Note that there is a lot of computing involved in the process of making, but, the final artwork carries absolutely no technology."

All is revealed in the video. Read more about the process here.
What's in a name?
As you may be aware both Apple & Microsoft released new computers this week ostensibly aimed at Professional or Studio use. But are they really suitable for professional use? Jack Schofield writing for ZD net is not convinced.

iPhone Photography moves up a gear
The latest iOS10x upgrades now enable iPhones and iPads to capture images in RAW (DNG) format, and there is also a new Portrait mode on the Camera menu. Being able to Photograph in RAW means you can edit using professional tools such as Adobe Lightroom whilst the Apple Photo app also supports editing in RAW. The gap between professional and consumer photographic devices is closing fast!

Professor Dame Alison Peacock
Professor Dame Alison Peacock was appointed as CEO of the Chartered College of teachers in August 2016.  She will take up her role from January 1, 2017 and will act as CEO designate until that time. Source Schoolsweek. You can get a feel for Alison's thinking in her recent Guardian article.

Ofsted head praises England's schools
The sometimes controversial Head of Ofsted has praised England's schools for their policies and work with immigrant children. He stated that they "receive no recognition for their 'incredible achievement' in helping immigrants integrate successfully into society". A sentiment which I think most of us will echo. Source Guardian
  • BETT 2017: 25th - 28th January, EXCEL London
  • OER17, The Politics of Open: 5th-6th April, 2017, London
  • NAACE, National Education Technology Conference: 28th-29th March, 2017, Leicester
  • Northern Rocks, Reclaiming Pedagogy: June 17th 2017,Leeds

    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 MirandaNet members please let us know.
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