iCatalyst is an innovative Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme, developed by the MirandaNet Fellowship, that is relevant to the whole workforce. It is based on research that MirandaNet Fellows have undertaken into CPD in digital technologies since 2004 and focuses on the educators taking ownership of change through action research and collaborative decision making.
Bespoke course can be run as one day events or modules that last one term or one year. Modules can be linked together if required to do a Masters or a Ph.D. This way of working is particularly valuable in helping a group of professionals to reflect on changes that they wish to make to their working practices. Members of the group can make different decisions about whether they want to work towards accreditation or not. If they decide on accreditation they are mentored in deciding the level of accreditation that will be most appropriate.
This approach to CPD is supported by the first UK Department of Education research report, The Case for Change, that draws on international practice in CPD. In this context iCatalyst programmes have been developed with MirandaNet chapters in China, Czech Republic, England, India, Mexico and South Africa. iCatalyst participants have access to each other across national boundaries and to the range of experience in the MirandaNet Fellowship.
At the core of this model is:
- a mixed-methods or blended learning programme which provides mentoring and resources to scaffold learning about subjects that are relevant to the challenges in schools;
- personalised programmes negotiated by the educators based upon their own practice and the vision of their institution. Several staff members may work together;
- the use of online digital technologies to maximise flexibility of where and when the programme is accessed and what kinds of knowledge creation can be achieved;
- the development of a sustainable Knowledge Hub where all resources developed are made available to the community of practice and where new knowledge and evidence-based theory can be created as a result;
- a choice for educators in the ways in which they wish to be assessed as well as the mode in which they want to present their assignments;
- the creation of mature sustainable e-communities of practice where views and knowledge both of teachers and of students, can be shared to the benefit of all;
- access to professionals in other national and international communities of practice through the MirandaNet Fellowship.
Potential project foci identified by stakeholders in consultation:
- whole or cluster school improvement;
- change management, including impacts on and changes for the workforce;
- implementation of changes to the curriculum agreed by the teachers;
- improved teacher engagement and extending learning and facilities with the community;
- the use of technology as an enabler of personalisation, communication and collaboration.
MirandaNet Fellows have developed this management of change programme in partnership with universities, colleges, schools, regional groups and clusters in England and abroad, and often as courses in which senior Fellows mentor teachers who are less experienced. The programme is always modified for the groups who are commissioning the courses. New subjects are added as the demand arises. The course can be taken at any level including Masters. Case studies are peer reviewed by Fellows and published in the MirandaNet Braided Learning Ejournal.
All enquiries can be made by using our contact form.
Some Exemplar Modules
The basic programme that can be mixed and matched consists of 6 one day courses with a theoretical introduction if required, and 6 one day skills based courses. Each course is standalone and can be modified to suit. Each day course will cover three strands that can be used as the basis for a certificate, a diploma or a Master module if the student has elected to take their studies further.
Strand 1: What the literature says
In the first strand practitioners will critique the literature relating to the module topic and use this to shape their professional perspectives and pedagogical application of digital learning technologies.
Outcome for educators : an understanding of the overview of literature and methods for further investigation if the student wants to convert to Masters’ level.
Strand 2: Digital learning technologies
Practitioners will explore the appropriate and available technology for their educational context in the second strand. The relevant technologies will be critically evaluated. An essential and integral set of collaborative technologies used in this strand will be those employed in the digital debates where teachers and experts join in discussion that values the teachers’ contribution. The communications technology involves: streamed video; Twitter streams; group videoconferencing; online collaborative concept maps and face-to-face participation. The resources are stored afterwards as a means of developing the professional knowledge base. These events are more democratic than a webinar which tends to involve experts talking to an audience. Generically they are called unconferences. The MirandaNet Fellowship has developed a version of the unconference called a MirandaMod.
Outcome for educators: practical involvement in the processes that are required to implement this innovative mode of collaborative learning that can enrich professional practice.
Strand 3: Pedagogical application
In the third and final strand practitioners for Masters and Diploma level students will develop an action research plan about applying the selected technologies in their classroom or school system planned to extend over one term. This topic is best chosen in relationship to the school’s development plan. If the students elect to take the subject further during the action research period they will critically evaluate the effectiveness of the technologies for teaching and learning and present to the other students who are also doing extensions to an introductory one day course. At appropriate levels the findings will be related to the existing literature. The results can be used in staff training and in OFSTED reports where this is appropriate.
Outcome for educators: practical involvement in applying digital technologies in their workplace in order to produce findings that impact on change management.
(Strand one and strand two could run concurrently in a day course which concludes with a MirandaMod in the late afternoon/early evening. Strand three is designed to be complete in one term).
Six one day courses within the framework
Course 1: Creating a digital identity for students, educators and schools
The demands of the learning environment and the pervasiveness of digital technologies place educational practitioners in a position where they need to understand the value and the challenges of establishing digital credibility – the knowledge, expertise and skills required to advise young people and apply digital technologies in their practice. This one-day course gives teachers the information and tools to build personal and professional learning networks, to understand the value of professional identity and how to promote it. From classroom practitioners to academics, from school leaders to advisers –professionals need the skills and knowledge that allow them to establish, promote and maintain their own digital credibility and value in the educational marketplace. With this practical experience professionals will be supported in transferring this knowledge to learning situations where students need similar support. E-safety will be an element of this course.
Outcome for educators: a broader and more detailed understanding of the ways in which digital identity can be established, protected and exploited for the benefit of the educational establishment.
Course 2 : Building Learning Communities face to face and online
Develop the knowledge and skills in using tools for collaborative Continuing Professional Development in schools and clusters and building a personal learning networks. Learn how to develop innovative online ways of learning in which students, teachers and experts interact on topics of mutual interest. Collaborate with other teachers in developing e-facilitation skills. Learn how to build Communities of Practice with Web 2.0 technologies and how to store the information in order to develop a professional learning base.
Outcome for educators: a broader and more detailed understanding of the ways in which digital identity can be established, protected and exploited for the benefit of the educational establishment
Course 3 : Integrating 21st century skills into the classroom
Learn and apply the concepts in using resources for learning, and finding and using digital resources for learning and teaching. Explore cultural archives and maximise their real value for learning and teaching. Practice and apply accessing artefacts and culture through mobile and hand-held technologies. Teachers publishing: creating exemplars for sharing; project learning: all these are ways of building 21st Century Skills into the classroom and developing project Learning through ICT. Use Digital Video as a curriculum tool and explore the affordances for learning of moving images. Increase your understanding and appreciation of visual learning, and what is meant by visual digital literacy.
Outcome for educators: a detailed understanding of how digital learning tools can be used to enrich teaching and learning in the classroom and in the professional learning
Course 4: assessing the value of social networking and gaming in learning
Social networking: blogging for teachers: blogging as newsletters and community exchange all connect teachers with their colleagues across the word. No longer are classroom wall barriers to collaboration! Explore the ways in which educational games can transform the learning dynamics and outcomes in the classroom and increase student motivation and attainment. Use immersive worlds in education as a way forwards in extending the classroom for learners. Learn how to use elements from the video gaming community in your own teaching and learning, and explore how this will reinforce your learners’ digital literacy and digital safety. These are just some of the ways for keeping safe without limiting students’ creativity.
Outcome for educators: gaining a practical understanding of the potential learning involved in social networking and gaming as well as how to guard against the dangers .
Course 5 : revisiting summative, diagnostic and formative assessment from a digital perspective
The course will begin with collaborative definitions of the assessment terminology and the attitudes that underlie the applications of these different methods indifferent educational establishments. Attention will also be given to the fact that the majority of educational assessment is based on written artefacts. The participants will consider the value of multimodal resources created by learners and what kinds of new and effective assessment tools are available to assess them. Participants will:
- use a range of tools to assess multimodal artefacts;
- evaluate the effectiveness of the tools and their assessment utility;
- take away a multimodal assessment toolkit for use with learners.
Outcome for educators: an opportunity to revisit the meaning of different forms of assessment and how they impact on the culture of a learning institution with a particular emphasis on the influence of digital tools for assessment.
Course 6 Concept mapping: building and disseminating collaborative knowledge in personal and professional contexts
Most educators have been trained to work at high levels in reading and writing but their capacity to communicate ideas visually has not always been developed. This course offers a practical introduction to a different way of investigating, storing and sharing knowledge using concept maps, sometimes called mind maps. Participants will also learn how to use concept maps as tools for assessment and as a means of encouraging learners who prefer visual modes of learning. On this course educators can explore and develop concept mapping approaches: in action research, in classrooms and in learning communities. Concept mapping can also be used as a means of sharing knowledge between staff members, creating collaborative reports and for gaining genuine consensus in meetings.
Outcome for educators: exploring a mode of visual communication to use experimentally in professional contexts as an alternative, or an addition, to traditional writing techniques.
Additional short courses
Colleagues can develop a bespoke CPD programme that includes other short courses as well. The titles include:
Leadership and change management; Using video as a curriculum tool; Publishing memoirs for family, communities and school projects; To ban, or not to ban? Social networking in learning;
Building 21st Century Skills into the classroom. Project Learning through ICT;
The Autonomous Learner:building a personal learning network;
Tools for multimodal assessment;
Chocolate-coated broccoli? the value of educational games and modelling;
Skills for virtual environments: developing e-facilitation skills;
Un-What? Making unconferences work for your organisation;
Web 2.0: 50 tools, 50 great ideas on how to use them;
e-Safety; planning the strategy, minimising the risk;
ICT and getting what you want;
Closing the Gap: Industry Education partnership in digital resource design;
Doing research in the classroom: a means of learning enrichment;
Raising Attainment and Bloom’s Taxonomy.
The designer and director of this programme is Professor Christina Preston who will lead on some of the six central modules. Dr John Cuthell who has also contributed to the overall design will lead others of the six modules. Leon Cych is one of the Fellows who will lead in some of the skills courses.More course tutors and mentors can be found in the team of consultants.
For more details about these courses as well as group rates email email@example.com
Dr Christina Preston, Professor of Educational Innovation
The learning community
The course members would be expected to share their knowledge in online communities in Moodle designed by MirandaNet Fellows.