MirandaNet Newsletter No 20. 26th February 2017
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MirandaNet at BETTSource: Christina Preston

Video conferencing has become an important aspect of many jobs and community activity, not to mention families who can keep in touch despite the geographical distance between them. But in the end relationships need the cement of face to face communication. In my opinion, and I think everyone knows this, I believe there is little to beat eating and drinking together. So I hope MirandaNet members will aim to come to at least one of our events in 2017!

First is the 2nd Global Teacher Education Knowledge Mobilisation Summit for the UNESCO Education 2030 Framework for Action in London on May 4th. There are a few places left for MirandaNet members at this important event which is organised in partnership with UNESCO, ITTE and MESH. More information and link to booking form in the event listing on the MirandaNet calendar.

Next we have the ITTE/MirandaNet conference in Hull, the UK City of Culture 2017. The conference is Wednesday 21st June with a dinner in the evening. Keynote speakers are Lord Jim Knight and Bob Harrison. See the Events section below for more information.

Third is the  World Conference on Computers in Education (WCCE 2017) at Dublin Castle, Ireland 3-6 July. Some of us have already booked and I am hoping to submit a symposium if enough members get in touch with me by Wednesday 28th February. Deadline for papers is 3rd March.

The overall conference theme is “Tomorrow’s Learning: Involving Everyone” and Professor Don Passey, Chair of the Programme Committee, has said that speakers are encouraged to present ideas relating to the following topics:

  • Future of technology for learning and education
  • Research and business solutions transformed into educational best practice
  • Computer Science Education and its future focus and development
  • Inclusive and adaptive technologies
  • Innovative practices with learning technologies
  • Examples of global and mobile opportunities used in developed and developing countries
  • Strategy and policy in education contexts and settings
  • Shaping the future for ‘Digital Citizens’
  • Learning analytics and ethical issues
  • Critical concerns about how and whether technologies support or extend learning
  • The blurring boundaries between formal, informal and non-formal learning.
This year’s event builds on the rich legacy of WCCE dating back to 1970 when the first WCCE conference was held as a special activity during the UNESCO International Year of Education. 

For more information visit the WCCE website.

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IRIS Connect partners with Erasamus Plus' ITELab Knowledge Alliance
The “ITELab” Knowledge Alliance, funded by the EU’s Erasmus Plus Programme, has been formed to address the lack of training on the pedagogical uses of ICT during initial teacher education (ITE) and to bridge the gap between ICT and on-going professional development.

The 3-year co-creation project partnership between IRIS Connect and ITELab Alliance will pull together expertise from 7 European countries (UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Norway) including Teacher Education Faculties from 6 Universities, European SchoolNet and 4 industry partners. IRIS Connect will provide the basis for one of the modules that is planned for a new MOOC which will take an experiential and collaborative blended learning approach. These will be piloted across the project partner universities, with the aim of disseminating it across 60 universities and 5000 teachers across Europe by year 3. Thee is more detailed information on the IRIS Connect website.

Senior Fellow: Dr Neelam Parmar

Dr Neelam Parmar gave a presentation at BETT 2017 of a collection of best practices and new innovations in the classroom from her travels during 2016. It was an eye opener and a global perspective in terms of what qualities, competencies, knowledge, skills and character traits are required to help cultivate 21st century learning for the children of today.

The presentation focussed on keeping an open mind and how to embrace the various opportunities that are taking place around the world. It was mainly a sharing exercise in giving consideration to other countries – Paris Unesco, South Africa EdTech, Singapore Educational Technology and Dubai 21st Century Learning. The presentation ended with a few tag lines for the audience.
"However, if there is one thing that the audience should take away, I would suggest that we pay attention to our children’s’ multiple intelligences and build upon their character traits because that is the goal of true education for today’s times."

Senior Fellow: Tracey Ramage
MirandaNet has been working with Tracey Ramage who has been leading a professional development project supported by Gaia. The work is particularly valuable for those who are leading digital technologies projects in schools: she is aiming to prove impact. MirandaNet is awarding Tracey a Senior Fellowship for publishing a recent presentation about her project to the MirandaNet site.

Fellow: Jonathan Driscoll

Jonathan Driscoll BSc MSc (University of Birmingham) is the Founder and CEO of Ltd. He has been awarded a MirandaNet Fellowship for his paper on the development of an app designed to offer "a media-rich mobile app that combines the social and extracurricular aspects of student life with teaching and learning.”  Read Jonathan's paper: Are we looking at education technologies upside down provides a new perspective 

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Naace Conference Cancelled
It is with great regret that we have to inform MirandaNetters that a decision has been taken to cancel the National Education Technology Conference organised by Naace. Read the full Naace statement online.

Christina asked for members views about "latest development in technology and attainment" on Miranda Link in February which resulted in some interesting feedback. It is encouraging to read the diverse thoughts of our community. 

"My view is that hopefully people have come to their senses and realised that digital tools are just one of many routes to support effective learning."

"While edtech may be categorised as “tools” there are other considerations – in a future of large scale education systems the only solutions to meaningful personalised learning [at scale] will necessitate computation, data science and digital “tools

"Technology is an excellent tool for monitoring cognitive skills and development and empowering people to manage their own cognitive development"

Newsletter update
We are delighted to report that we have now passed the 1000 subscriber mark. If you like our Newsletter why not share it with colleagues. You can catch up with past issues at the archive.

"'This new style of Mirandanet newsletter is so good. It provides a well thought out editorial,  reviews and all the dates that I need to add to my busy diary. Thank you.'
Richard Smith founder of 

 Image Credit: Wikimedia, (remix) PD 
What's That Painting?
Something slightly different for this month's image slot. Made using the Cubomania tool developed by John Johnston to automatically create a Cubomania image from this well known painting. It's up to you to guess artist and title.

"Cubomania is a surrealist method of making collages in which a picture or image is cut into squares and the squares are then reassembled without regard for the image, automatically or at random or a collage made using this method, a "rearrangement... suffic[ing] to create an entirely new work." It has been described as a "statistical method".Robert Hirsch has seemed to imply that this process can be done with digital photography. Wikipedia .

Cubomania is a brilliant tool for developing visual literacy. By reconfiguring an image, one encourages the viewer to discover the (not always obvious) detail and hidden elements in an image, and this can help them see the 'bigger picture, It is also really useful for making visual quizzes and puzzles based on art, album covers, photographs of buildings people or places.... in act anything. Have fun!

Imaginary Cities: Darran Anderson 
Influx Press 2015, 556p

This work of creative non-fiction is not an educational book, per se, but should be of interest to all educators. Anyone who has an interest in the evolution of human culture will unearth valuable insights and perspectives. Imaginary Cities identifies the connections between architecture, history, art, sociology, politics, science and philosophy using the city as a prism.

The book is a creative tour de force that joins those dots as it it moves at breakneck speed between historical and contemporary examples. Real places and fictional visions are seamlessly interwoven. The author extrapolates how they may have influenced our lives and culture. Originating in prehistoric caves, Imaginary Cities acknowledges the fantastic tales of Marco Polo and leads us through the subterranean cities of the military, we relive Joyce's Dublin, and encounter citadels of science fiction and modern high-rise architecture. IT does not linger long at any point or place. You might get lost but even if you do there is always something fascinating and revelatory.

The seven chapters are divided into themed short sub-sections - each providing a new insight or anecdote. Copious footnotes on most of the 565 pages provide scope for extra study and research. Keep Wikipedia close at hand! The Futurists and and Surrealist would have loved this book, and I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't on Dylan's bookshelf. I am proud to own one of the signed limited edition of 200 and can highly recommend it to MirandaNetters Follow Darran on Twitter @oniropolis an account which shares some superb images related to his work.

Review: Theo Kuechel
Where to buy,  Influx PressAmazon

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:


31st ITTE Annual Conference

The 31st ITTE Annual Conference will be held on Wednesday 21st June, 2017 at the University of Hull.

What a great year to have the ITTE Annual Conference in Kingtson-upon-Hull which is the UK City of Culture for 2017! There is a wide range of associated events happening all over the city. The University of Hull (a key partner for the City of Culture) is also playing host to a variety of national art exhibitions, being held in the Brynmor Jones Library.  I graduated from Hull and thought that members might like a tour on the 22nd June, Thursday. Accommodation is at the University and very reasonably priced, so it seems a good idea to take advantage of seeing a town that is so far on England’s Eastern extremity that generally speaking ‘only relatives and salespeople go to Hull’. A memorable quip by Philip Larkin, a Poet Laureate who was chief librarian at the University.  

This year our ITTE Annual Conference theme is 'Helping the 21st Century Educator to use technologies’. The conference is co-badged with MirandaNet and run in association with the International Mobilising & Transforming Teacher Educator Pedagogies Conference and the Digital Technologies Network Conference. The conference is open to teachers, teacher educators, academics, policy makers and other relevant professionals interested in information technology in teacher education.  During this one-day conference, equally balanced between networking, sharing of best practice and presentations, we welcome our two keynote speakers: Lord Jim Knight (TES Chief Education Advisor & Patron of ITTE) Bob Harrison (Chair of the Teaching Schools New Technology Advisory Board) We also welcome the winners of our competitive ITTE Fellowship scheme who will be reporting back on their early research project findings.  

Call for papers We are inviting proposals, which relate to the conference theme, 'Helping the 21st Century Educator to use technologies' or have other relevance to members of the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education. Proposals are welcomed in a variety of formats including research papers, workshops, Pecha Kucha presentations, and posters.  

Tickets There are a range of different conference tickets available. The conference ticket is for the conference itself and includes access to the conference venue and all refreshments during the day. You will also see further options if you would like B&B accommodation and a place at the Conference Dinner with drinks reception, being held the night before the conference.  More details and ticket information here. Booking will be opening soon. 

National Conference of University Professors (NCUP) conference has two events:    

Research Excellence and Publishing
Seminar, to be held at King’s College, Open Access, Data, Copyright Impact The River Room, King’s College London  April 3rd, 2017. Book here

NCUP House of Lords Luncheon
The National Conference of University Professors (NCUP) Luncheon hosted by Lord Inglewood with NCUP Patron Baroness Perry of Southwark, discussing Future Prospects for Higher Education. Taking place in the historic setting of the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace of the House of Lords.
Tickets and Details here

Anyone can come - not just here

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Look No Lights!
Meskel Square, Addis Abeba
Rush Hour, Meskel Square, Addis Abeba
This (and other similar) video-clips of traffic, apparently self regulating without traffic lights have been been circulating on Twitter and other social media for a while now. It's interesting most commentators take it at face value and commenting with OMGs! However one only needs to look at the walking pedestrians to realise the film has been speeded up.  Play it around 0.5 speed to get a better feel for what is actually happening. It does raise the serious question do we really need traffic lights or roundabouts. Some research has already been done in this area. New variables that will come into play are AI and self driving cars.

Oxford University set to open overseas campus in France
University College Oxford
In an interesting development, as a result of Brexit, there is speculation that Oxford University might open a satellite campus in France. "As part of the plans, British universities would “relocate” degree courses and study programmes and create joint degrees and research laboratories." Oxford has been informed that such campus could well have French legal status and would continue to receive EU funding. Source Telegraph

British teacher denied entry to US on school trip
In another worrying development  A British schoolteacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from south Wales was refused entry to the United States.  Trump's travel ban is certainly having a wide impact around the globe. One wonders whether any schools may be reviewing their visits to US, and does it mean Muslim pupils need not even bother applying for such a trip.

Google and Bing plan to bury pirated content
Sophos reports that from June 2017 the major search engines Google and Bing will attempt to de-prioritise unlawful sharing sites, pushing them further down search results. This covers torrents of movies, audio, and of course live streamed sporting events. There is some debate as to whether this tactic will actually be successful.

'Downing Street & DfE developing twin-track – and unrelated – education policy slates?
Ed Dorrell of the TES has picked out some significant differences between Downing Street policy and the DfE.  Here is a quote from his thesis. 

"The first, high profile, media-friendly policy platform is being driven forward by Theresa May and her Downing Street operation. It’s this that makes up the meat of the Green Paper published before Xmas (the consultation report for which we’re expecting to be published in March). This also takes in elements of the draft industrial strategy such as a specialist maths school in every city. And then there’s the education policy that most teachers – and most DfE officials – would like to see: the one articulated by Greening yesterday. This is the one that concentrates to teacher training, on CPD, on empowering the profession". Read more here

Some items from around the web which may be of interest to MirandaNetters. 

Free StoryTelling lessons on Khan from Pixar

Pixar is teaming up, once again, with Khan Academy to offer a free online course about Storytellling. Storytelling is a fundamental element in many learning  scenarios so this should be of interest to all teachers, not just those working with digital media. This is part of the Pixar in A Box series, a free online curriculum that shows how Pixar artists use computer science and math concepts to create their innovative films. source Techcrunch

Mindstorms available as a free download online

Thanks to the generosity of Seymour Papert’s family, the MIT Media Lab is able to offer a free download of Mindstorms, Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert, a groundbreaking book which he argues for the benefits of teaching computer literacy in primary and secondary education.
First published in 1980, Mindstorms outlines Papert's vision of children using computers as instruments for learning and the book remains as relevant now as it was when when it was first published almost forty years ago. It is also worth mentioning the Lego Mindstorms programmable construction set is named after the book. You can download Mindstorms here.

ESA announces new Open Access Policy for Images & Data

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced an Open Access policy making its superb images, media and data  available with a Creative Commons BY-SA license. ESA has made various moves toward making data and images more open in the past, but this announcement is a major milestone for the organization’s commitment to openness. Search and download these superb high quality ESA resources from here
See the MirandaNet Calendar for forthcoming events.  If you are organising, or know of any events you think would be of interest to MirandaNet members please let us know.
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