The MirandaNet iCatalyst CPD Programme
iCatalyst - an Overview
MirandaNet are offering to merge the existing teachers experiences of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in digital technologies and MirandaNet’s highly successful and innovative iCatalyst ICT CPD model to achieve teachers objectives and create a sustainable model for teacher initial training and CPD that will be scalable and internationally replicable. Unlike previous CPD systems for teachers, iCatalyst targets school development as one entity and enables wide innovation through effective utilization of digital technology. This may have to change with each client to fit in with their culture and needs.
iCatalyst is an innovative CPD programme relevant to the whole workforce that provides a range of accreditation, from Certificates of Course participation, Graduate Certificates, Post-Graduate certificates and Diplomas to full M-level qualifications. Opportunities are available for study at Doctoral level. At the core of the 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 for teachers in schools;
- the learners negotiate personalised programmes based upon their own practice and the vision of their institution. Several staff members may work together;
- the use of internet technologies to maximise flexibility of where and when the programme is accessed;
- the development of a 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;
- personalised learning, with a choice for students in the ways in which they wish to be assessed as well as the mode in which they want to present their assignments;
- leadership development for ACADEMIES participants, who will eventually become field tutors and run the programme locally;
- 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.
The underpinning philosophy is to promote the same kind of collaborative learning for teachers that is advocated for their students. This programme with academic rigour represents a major shift away from teacher-dominated learning approaches to a more egalitarian view of learning. It is a methodological innovation which encourages co-production of knowledge, a co-determination of meaning, collective problem solving, and multiple perspectives among learners and between learners and teachers. It also enhances cognitive skills and harnesses different learning styles. The strategy provides an antidote to individualistic and competitive learning tendencies that will filter down into the schools. As such, the programme, although still developing critical thinking at Masters level, fosters a communitarian spirit and a sense of togetherness among learners. It has been independently evaluated by the Institute for Education, University of London and the Teacher Development Agency.
The model builds on the UK Government’s intention to develop a teaching profession with Masters level qualifications, and is particularly powerful in its use of multi-modal assessment and work-based accreditation techniques that motivate participants to continue to learn and contribute to the community of practice. The multi-modal accreditation allows the students to chose the mode in which they want to be accredited which might be a CD-ROM, a seminar or a school development plan. Each artifact needs to be accompanied by a critique. Those aiming at Masters level are not required to write an assignment for each module and theoretical approaches are supported with critical thinking scaffolds.
The model is particularly powerful in its use of multi-modal assessment and work-based accreditation techniques that motivate participants to continue to learn and contribute to the community of practice. Its value to industry lies in the negotiation of personalised programmes of learning that balance individual learner requirements with the skills required to meet organisational goals and where all activity is built into existing organisational development plans.
Underlying this philosophy is the development of e-facilitated learning communities in a programme of practice-based professional development and the negotiation of personalised programmes of learning that balance individual learner requirements with the skills required to meet organisational goals and where all activity is built into existing organisational development plans.
The iCatalyst model, that has been developed over the last five years with MirandaNet members and partners in the UK, China, Mexico and South Africa, has significant intellectual capital that MirandaNet would like to share with teachers, to adapt the model for their own networks. Excellent external evaluations have been provided by the TDA, the Institute of Education, University of London and Naace.
The online community of practice will be the vehicle for collaborative knowledge building, professional development and support, both between and after the workshops. Participants should also interact in a range of ways: face-to-face; by phone; by email: all this is part of building a community of practice and a sustainable and replicable vehicle for developing educational advisers.
The development of participants as advisers and field tutors will provide a sustainable and replicable model to create a regional operation across teachers networks through organic growth as well as providing the opportunity for sustainable revenue streams to schools in running accredited CPD programmes for others.