MirandaNet Newsletter No 14,10th July, 2016
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Mirandanet workshop - ladies studying
Sarah Younie and David Longman present at ITTE Conference 2016: Image Credit Jon Audain @itteorg
Professor Christina Preston

image credit Michael de Groot CC BY
In the past MirandaNet has received funding for EU projects ranging from developing the Digital Literacy Skills of Senior citizens with the Czech Republic, Ireland and Portugal to the development of a MOOC with Catalonia, The Netherlands, Greece, Slovenia and the UK. We have made many colleagues from this work and learnt so much from different approaches to innovation.

In the light of the EU Referendum result UK universities are worried because there have been no research funds from the UK government since the Coalition in 2009 which also closed down Becta. (You can find our reassembled Becta reports here)

It is estimated that the UK gave £4 billion to EU research funds and gained back £7 billion in return. European colleagues have also said that if the UK leaves then English will no longer be the common language of the EU. We can see no advantages for academics in leaving the EU and believe that our research reputation will not be maintained by the Conservative government which has often expressed its contempt for experts. You probably know that Michael Gove has, in the past, described UK teacehrs and academics as 'Marxists, Enemies of Promise and The Blob' (Mail on Sunday).

I object particularly to 'The Blob' :-)

European Union Women of Humanitarian Achievement Award

 Christina, Bozena & Lenka @ ITTE , Image Credit Jon Audain

In 1998 Božena Mannová of the Czech Technical University and Christina Preston, Founder of MirandaNet, won the European Union Women of Humanitarian Achievement Award for the community of practice we set up between the Czech Republic and MirandaNet's international members after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

We have since worked on many EU projects together and here we are pictured at the ITTE conference in London last week together with her daughter Lenka Zerzanova. presented  about teaching digital literacy to senior citizens and Lenka Zerzanova was speaking about teaching SEN pupils in Prague - all very relevant to us in the UK.  I hope that we will be able to build on relations like this across Europe despite the Brexit vote. 


Digital Futures: Transforming Practice, Raising the Bar

MirandaNet partnered with ITTE at their 30th International Conference  in London on July 2nd.  We are grateful to the ITTE Vice-Chair Dr Sarah Jones who has  provided us with the following summary of the day.

Image credit: Jon Audain

30th ITTE Annual Conference
Well what a conference! Speed networking, Pecha Kucha’s, workshops on mobile technologies in teacher education and film making, a Skype presentation from Pakistan …. it all went on last Saturday at the 30th annual ITTE conference in London. We got off to an exciting start with Seán Ó Grádaigh, our keynote speaker from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He both provided us with a new lens through which to view our subject area and introduced us to some innovative ideas around immersive learning. He gave what was probably one of the best explanations I have seen of the SAMR model as it is put into practice and will be my lasting memory of his talk which was both interactive and thought provoking around technological innovations: “when you are designing re-sources, your are thinking pedagogically”.

Speed networking - a first for the ITTE conference - was well received and will definitely be in the programme next year, with some slight modifications regarding the ringing of the bell and tinkling of the chimes! The winners of our annual Knowledge Mobilisation Awards came to present, updating us on how their research is progressing and we had a full range of papers on offer on topics such as ‘e-Inclusion in the Information Society’ and ‘From Computational thinking to Computational Participation’. What did the delegates think? Well this feedback pretty much sums it up, "I had a fab day at the conference on Saturday and met so many interesting people and have so much to follow up!”

The conference archive with copies of slides nad other details will appear here on the ITTE website

Next year, the 31st ITTE Annual Conference will be at the University of Hull on Wednesday 21st June 2017. Co-badged with MirandaNet, the ITTE conference is being run in association with two other conferences - the international Mobilisation and Transforming Teacher Education Pedagogies Conference. It is already shaping up to be an unmissable event. We will be issuing a call for papers in due course. Please keep an eye on our website or follow us on Twitter @itteorg. If you have any queries about the conference, please contact ‘’.

Dr. Sarah Jones Vice Chair, ITTE

      Image credit :Theo Kuechel, CC BY

The Roehampton Festival of Computing was held at the historic Froebel College of Roehampton University on Friday 17th June 2016. This innovative conference covered all aspects of Computing in schools, combining ICT, Digital Literacy, Computer Science and Humanities. The varied sessions and hands on workshops, covering all school ages, included computing across the curriculum, coding, making games, literacy, equal opportunities and more.

MirandaNet Fellow Theo Kuechel gave a workshop on using open content in the context of the Computing curriculum, his slides are now available here under a CC BY Licence.

 Images courtesy Imperial War Museum, IWM Licence link

This month's image is actually a collection of Images from the Imperial War Museum on Flickr Commons. It shows the faces of some of the men who lost their lives on 3 July 1916.

These portraits were automatically retrieved using a search algorithm from, a website developed by James Morley, that taps into the library of thousands of images on Flickr Commons, Europeana and other archive collections using an API. You can try it out now using this link in order to search for other interesting images related to any given date. This is another wonderful example of how computing can benefit the humanities. Note  - not all dates will return images. 

Year in Review
Christina Preston, MirandaNet Founder, and Sarah Younie, MirandaNet Director of Research and Innovation, have had a busy year exchanging ideas and inviting people with interesting views about innovation to join us and publish. We now have over 1,000 members in 80 countries.

During this academic year we have been speaking about MirandaNet Associates and research at a range of events at events in the UK and abroad including BETT, the House of Lords and the Future EdTech conference in London, Cambridge University where we spoke about Innovation in Professional Development based on the second stage of our research. We ran seminars about research for Naace members in November, March and June and joined the ITTE conference in July. In addition we presented at a Business Technology conference in Portorosa, Slovenia, a Colloquium on Innovation in Brescia, Italy and a symposium at Munich University. 

We already have events lined up for the next academic year: BERA 2016 in September and Bergen, Norway, BETT and at the ITTE conference at Hull University.  We have also been invited to attend the World Summit funded by UNESCO in Bulgaria where we will be participating in developing policy documents on Innovation. Look out for our White Paper on Innovation from the MN workshop on May 21st that we are building from the opinions of our membership at the workshop

Forthcoming Events
The Mobilising and Transforming Teacher Educators’ Pedagogies project ( is developing an online course for teacher educators and anybody else involved in preparing and/or training teachers to use mobile technologies in their day-to-day practice. This course will be free and will introduce participants to the mobile learning toolkit (again free) which the project has produced. In order to prepare a bespoke course that meets what participants want we are running a short online survey and would be delighted if members could complete this or pass it on to your respective members and colleagues. Link

MTTEP is also running a two day conference/workshop about the project in Bergen, Norway in September (21-22) which include a €200 subsidy towards costs. If you are interested, you can find out more here.

We have now reached a 1000 Subscribers,
We are delighted and honoured to find that we now have 1000+ subscribers to the newsletter. If you are not already a subscriber and have enjoyed the newsletter we invite you to join our growing numbers by subscribing. We are delighted to have so many 'Friends'. We also have many Friends who upgrade to 'Scholar' with the right to join our debates and to publish with us. Your profile comes up on Google as well as an expert in education innovation. All the joining details are here.
Project Bloks
Google's Bloks is a research project which builds on the programming ideas of Seymour Papert to create an open hardware platform which will enable developers, designers, and researchers build the next generation of tangible or physical hands on programming experiences for children.

Because Google Bloks combines physical interaction with cognitive processes it will be ideal for children of all ages including children with educational needs. It can be used to draw, control robots and toys, make music and build sensing system.  
Information on Computing Qualifications from Terry Freedman 
If you teach ICT or Computer Science at GCSE, then I have some good news. I’ve updated my list of approved qualifications in this area. It’s fairly comprehensive, and includes some viable-looking alternatives to ICT itself. (For some reason, ICT is still on the list, but it’s probably safer to ignore it, as the Department for Education seems pretty intent on scrapping it.)  To obtain this seminal document, all you need to do is let me know what subjects you intend to offer at GCSE come September. You can do so via a very short survey, after which you will be sent the list automatically. Here’s the link with more information,

Click for YouTube video
MirandaNet colleague Richard Smith (Web: Twitter:  @amazing ICT) introduces a robot head that students can program and bring to life. It can talk and listen to commands. Children can learn programming and computational thinking using the 'Scratch like' drag and drop programming language

Ohbot! was created by Mat Walker, a roboticist who created the Inkha robot receptionist at King’s College, London and Dan Warner, a primary teacher and ICT specialist who advises schools and local authorities on educational technology for learning. Richard  as  AmazingICT is the training partner in England for the Ohbot. You can find out more about the Ohbot including videos, papers and CPD: here.
A few quick snippets of interest from web sites and blogs

Google Maps
Google has updated Maps and Earth with substantially improved high quality images provided by LandSat 8 launched in 2013. This satellite captures images with greater detail, truer colours, and combines them, to create a cloud free image. The difference in quality is clear. See, for instance, the difference between the Landsat 7 and 8 views of New York City  in this article from Data Driven Journalism

Berlin School
The innovative philosophy of a Berlin school featured in the Guardian has been making quite an impression amongst educational folks on social media. With no grades, or timetable and a limited number of set subjects, pupils choose their own subjects and projects motivate themselves, as in the case of a 14 year old boy who was given €150 which he used to travel to the South Coast of England and improve his English. Other schools in Berlin are now trying out the ideas and some say this approach should be extended across Germany. 
DMU Year 3 Games, Art & Design, Showreel
Inevitably #Brexit has been a main topic in all recent news  - here are a few  that specifically reflect on the implications for education covering a spectrum of opinion.
  • Writing in SchoolsWeek, Professor Anand Menonm  suggests a smaller economy means more difficult choices and perhaps a smaller education budget
  • The TES notes that School funding & Teachers Pay rises could be affected
  • An Investment Banker in the Evening Standard suggests poor educational standards due to lack of investment resulted in Brexit
  • The Schools Improvement news service highlights the fact that many pupils are fearful they may have to leave the country. There has been nothing in the way of re-asssurance from the government.
  • Research: BBC Newsnight policy editor Chris Cook reports on early evidence which suggests that research at some universities is already being impacted by the UK's Leave vote in the EU referendum.
Discover more news and items of interest here on MirandaNet
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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