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Dr Christina Preston

Job: Associate Professor in Education

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: 07801 336 048

E: c.preston@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.mirandanet.ac.uk

 

Personal profile

For 25 years Dr Christina Preston has been at the forefront of education innovation with a focus on digital technologies as a catalyst for enriching teaching and learning. Recent successes in research are: the development of innovative multimodal research methodologies; innovative designs for Masters’ modules and their multimodal accreditation; the development of Massive Online Open-source courses; the value of devices in underpinning independent learning; and, the development of new modes of knowledge sharing within the profession in communities of practice called MirandaMods that are a modification of the unconference movement.

Some of the evidence she has drawn on for her research has been offered by members of the MirandaNet Fellowship, an international professional organisation for teachers, teacher educators, researchers and developers that she founded in 1992. There are currently more than 1,200 members in 80 countries. The Fellowship has a reach of more than 250,000 other educators in key professional bodies like NAACE, ALT and ITTE as well as the readership of several professional journals.. This global portal is well patronised and 64,000 visit per year and read up to 10 pages.

When MirandaNet Fellows researched the UK Landscape of Professional Development in Information and Communications Technology for Becta in 2010 they found an increasingly fragmented picture because of the cost, the pressure on teachers’ time and the poor quality of some programmes that was mainly technical training.  This situation has deteriorated further, but Fellows address the challenge through their iCatalyst practice-based research: groups of teachers undertake projects in the classroom as co-researchers, collecting and analysing, this sharing in evidence-based practice. Professional development programmes funded by governments, charities, industry and the EU.

Funders of research, development and professional development programmes have included Becta, Training Development Agency (TDA), the UK Department of Education(DfE), UNESCO and the European Union(EU), as well as international universities and governments. MirandaNet associate companies who support research, development, dissemination and CPD projects in schools include research about: BrainPOP, Gaia, GroupCall, Light Speed, IRIS Connect, Show my Homework and Tablet Academy. MirandaNet Fellows have developed a range of practice- research projects associated with innovation in teaching and learning in Bulgaria, China, Chile, Czech Republic, Friesland, India, Norway, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Syria. Teachers often elect to join MirandaNet after these visits and some countries have a MirandaNet chapter  like Pakistan and Slovenia.

Christina gives keynotes and lectures around the world on strategies for building professional knowledge and on Continuing Professional Development programmes designed to promote teachers’ ownership of learning agenda. Recent speaking programmes have included Argentina, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. She has won five international awards for her innovative continuing professional programmes designed for teachers in Europe promoting action research and collaboration across national boundaries.

Christina’s professional memberships include the Association for Learning Technology (ALT). She has been an active contributor to the British Computer Society and the Society of Authors. She is also a Board member of National Association of Advisers in Computers and Education (NAACE), the Information Technology Teachers in Education (ITTE) and the National Council of University Professors (NCUP). For the last ten years she has been a moderator on the judging panel of the annual BETT exhibition education awards organised by Becta and The British Education Suppliers Association (BESA).

At the beginning of her career, she enjoyed fifteen years experience of teaching in school in English, Drama and Information Technology, followed by four years as an English and Information and Communications technology adviser in Croydon LA and ILLEC. From 1992 she has been responsible for the design of modules from certificate to masters level as well as teaching and evaluating courses and projects in England and overseas. She has been a senior researcher at UCL Institute of Education, University of London from 1992, finally from 2004 at the Centre for Work-Based Learning for Education Professionals (WLE). Other research and lecturing associateships up to Masters level include Bath Spa University, Brunel University and the Czech Technical University in Prague. The MirandaNet Fellowship was an important evidence of impact of the REF submission, 2012, at Bedfordshire University where she was Professor of Education Innovation. In 2016 she become an Associate Professor in Education at DeMontfort University

In addition, Christina is Chair of Trustees of World Ecitizens charity, a website for student publication, established by the MirandaNet Fellows in 2002 after the events of 9/11 in New York. This is designed as a place where young people can publish observations  about the world they live in.

 

Research group affiliations

  • Education
  • Research, Business and Innovation

Research interests/expertise

  • Education policy - policy implementation
  • Building e-communities of practice and the potential for change management and leadership
  • Researching Education Innovation and the impact on pedagogy
  • Online learning, MOOCs, SPOCs and COOCs
  • Innovative models for Continuing Professional Development
  • Professional development - on-line professional learning, CPD and teacher education.
  • Multimodal approaches to assessment of learning
  • Research and practice in the use interactive technologies like IWBs, webcams, blogs, wikis, forums etc.
  • International citizenship between schools and communities
  • Evaluation of International Projects
  • Industry and Education Partnership

Areas of teaching

  • The pedagogy underpinning digital technology tools
  • Practice-based research for teachers and students
  • Designing e-learning environments
  • Developing a community of practice over time

At Certificate, Diploma and Masters level

Qualifications

  • Ed.D in English and Dramatic and Telecommunications Arts, University of Hull
  • Associateship in Educational Software Authorship and Design. Kings College, London.
  • Doctorate in International Education; UCL Institute of Education, London

Courses taught

Christina has developed many internal courses for many organisations, charities and companies under the MirandaNet banner of iCatalyst – an innovative programme for teachers using practice-based research that promotes changes in teaching and learning funded by Free State government, South Africa, Podar Schools, India, Beijing Municipal Authority, Steljes, TDA, NAACE, Promethean, Select Education, Westminster Academy, Barnfield Academy, Castle View School, Orimiston Maritime Academy and Bodnant Primary.

  • Associate course director, programme designer and lecturer including Masters level at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London 1992
  • Visiting lecturer at Brunel, Bath Spa and The Technical University, Prague.
  • External Advanced Diploma Masters Level part-time funded by the DFES and the General Teaching Council in E-learning
  • Designing and delivering courses in transformational learning for the British Council and Beijing Academy of Educational Science in China MirandaNet Fellowship 2000 – 2005
  • Adviser in Central London teacher RSA courses in computer competence Inner London Educational Computing Centre ILECC 2000 – 2002
  • Teacher of GCSE and A level in English as well as adviser in English and IT for teachers Croydon LEA 1971 – 2000 

Honours and awards

Christina has won five international awards for her innovative continuing professional programmes designed for educators globally promoting action research and collaboration across national boundaries.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, NAACE 2013 for services to Education Innovation
  • Digital Inclusion Associateship, University of Jujuy, Argentina  2011 for the development of a global e-community of practice
  • Trnkova Medal from the Czech Technical University Prague for support in building democratic strategies for ICT teacher education (2002 – Prague)
  • Humanitarian Award from the World Academic Council for the enrichment of community opportunities for Bulgarian teachers and women returnees by creating Anglo-Bulgarian exchange opportunities face-to-face and online (2000 – Paris)
  • European Union of Women Humanitarian Achievement Award for creating an Anglo-Czech online alliance working on democratic participation (1998 – London)

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Board of Management of three national organisations: The National Council of University Professors(NCUP), Naace and ITTE.

Professional licences and certificates

  • Editorial boards/reviewing activities: journal, date from, date to, role
  • Judge of the British Education Suppliers Awards at BETT and the Education Show
  • Since 1995 reviewer for Journal of Computer Assisted Learning and the Journal of Technology (publisher), Pedagogy and Education Taylor Francis.
  • Board of Education Futures Collaboration charity
  • Chair of the charity, World eCitizens.
  • Board of the Fit2Learn Charity.

Forthcoming events

  • 2016 London June
    EdtechxEurope 2016
    Panel: Adapting to the non-traditional learner

  • 2016 Munich June
    Munich University: seminar
    Building communities of practice for the professions

Conference attendance

  • 2016 Leicester May
    MirandaNet Workshop: Education innovation and pupil achievement through practice-based research
    The Innovation Centre, DMU MirandaNet workshop
    Responsible for running and implementing the programme
    http://mirandanet.ac.uk/education-innovation-pupil-achievement-practice-based-research/
  • 2016 Italy April Brescia University 
    14th Anglo – Italian and 8th International Innovations in Education Colloquium
    Great minds think alike: ingenious collaboration.
    Keynote with Sarah Younie: Are digital learning spaces an ingenious fulcrum for collaboration? 

  • 2015 Luxembourg
    EAPRIL November.  C.Preston and V. Belogaska  Real in-ear Coaching

  • 2015 November Nottingham University/Naace
    Keynote for Seminar MirandaNet seminar
    The value of research and development in promoting education innovation and pupil achievement

  • 2015 London UK
    July ITTE conference
    Understanding Virtual Spaces

  • 2015 Nottingham
    March Naace annual conference
    Listening to Learn: Reflections on Creating an Effective Learning Environment – with Sarah Younie

  • 2015 London, UK
    BETT15 January Beyond Social Networking: the impact of digital innovation on learning

  • 2014 Cyprus
    EAPRIL, December MirandaNet Fellowship: Global Partnership – Research – Impact

  • 2014 London UK
    London Book Fair November Professional learning in e-communities of practice - an extension of tradition or an innovation?

  • 2014 Slovenia
    Preston, C. and S. Younie (2014) When the Funding Ends: Using the Handson ICT MOOC as a Key Element in Research and Development Projects presented at the Make Learn conference, Human Capital without Borders: Knowledge and Learning for Quality of Funded by the EU ICT Industry, Portoroc, Slovenia.http://mirandanet.ac.uk/researchexchange/eu-handson-ict/

  • 2014 Slovenia
    Preston, C. and S. Younie (2014) From a community of practice perspective learning in a MOOC can be a lonely business. MoodleMoot conference, Korper, Slovenia http://mirandanet.ac.uk/researchexchange/eu-handson-ict/

  • 2014 Germany
    Preston, C. and S. Younie (2014) Mentoring in a Digital World: what are the issues? Key Competencies in Informatics and ICT (KEYCIT 2014) July 1-4 conference July 1st-5th Conference Proceedings

  • 2014 Brighton
    April ResearchEd conference
    Sharing and disseminating professional knowledge- with Marilyn Leask

  • 2014 London
    March Keynote: Schools Conference  Braided iGatherings in the Third Space: Social Networking or 
    Professional Knowledge Creation?

Consultancy work

  • Evaluation
  • E-learning Design
  • Professional Development Programmes
  • Research and development projects
  • Building ecommunities of practice

Clients include

Becta, Training Development Agency (TDA), the UK Department of Education(DfE), UNESCO and the European Union(EU), as well as international universities and governments. MirandaNet associate companies who support research, development, dissemination and CPD projects in schools include research about: BrainPOP, Gaia, GroupCall, Light Speed, IRIS Connect, Show my Homework and Tablet Academy. MirandaNet Fellows have developed a range of practice- research projects associated with innovation in teaching and learning in Bulgaria, China, Chile, Czech Republic, Friesland, India, Norway, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Syria.

Externally funded research grants information

Bids won as a leader or partner

Projects from £750,000 – £200,000

  • 1998-2002 EU TEMPUS – 4 years
  • 2002-2007 EU SEN-NET – 3 years
  • 2005 – 2007 E-LAPA – 2 years
  • Free State provincial government, South Africa/ British Education Suppliers Association/British Embassy
  • 2005-2008 Promethean: 3 years
  • Interactive Whiteboard action research evaluation in England, Mexico, China and South Africa
  • 2000-2010 Oracle Think.com- 10 years
  • Learning platform development
  • 2012-2015 EU LifeLong Learning programme
  • Handson ICT project- MOOC development

Projects from £200,000 – £50,000

  • 2012-2015 EU LLL Handson ICT
  • 2009 – 2013 Podar Education Complex, India
  • iCatalyst Management of change CPD for x50 schools in Marahestra, India
  • 2002-2004 Teacher Training Agency I year
  • Evaluation of the National Opportunities Fund ICT CPD training programme 1999-2004
  • 2004-2010 iCatalyst courses at certificate, diploma and masters level (www.mirandanet.ac.uk/profdev)
  • GTCe e-facilitators
  • Select Education e-facilitators (England)
  • Barnfield School, Luton, England
  • Steljes advisors, England
  • 2008-2011 Becta 3 years
  • MirandaMod webinar and research programme
  • 2007-2010 WLE Centre, Institute of Education, University of London
  • Visual Learning Research
  • iGathering research
  • 2009 Becta 6 months
  • ICT Tools for Future Teachers research
  • With Brunel University
  • 2009 Becta 9 months
  • ICT CPD Landscape research

Below £50,000

  • 2009 TAG learning
  • MAPPS Learning platform evaluation- I year
  • 2009 Becta 3 months
  • E-safety research
  • 2010 Staffordshire Advisory Service – one year
  • Learning platform evaluation
  • 2010 DFE Achievement for All
  • MirandaMods support at BETT11 and the Education Show 2011
  • 2010 Data Harvester - year
  • Teachers’ case studies
  • 2010 MatchWare – I year
  • Teachers’ case studies
  • 2011 Saudi Arabian Education Department
  • ICT CPD for teachers in three cities.
  • From 2010- A range of MirandaNet company associateship research projects
  • http://mirandanet.ac.uk/about-associates/associates-research/

Professional esteem indicators

  • Editorial boards/reviewing activities: journal, date from, date to, role
  • She is also a judge of the British Education Suppliers Awards at BETT and the Education Show
  • Since 1995 reviewer for Journal of Computer Assisted Learning and the Journal of Technology (publisher), Pedagogy and Education Taylor Francis.
  • Board of Education Futures Collaboration charity
  • Chair of the charity, World eCitizens.
  • Board of the Fit2Learn Charity.

Impact case studies

MirandaNet Fellowship founded by Christina Preston in 1992 has more than 1,000 members in 80 countries.

The readership at about 64,000 is growing at 10-12% per year. The MirandaNet newletter reaches about 1,500 and Christina publishes also in the CAS, ITTE and Naace newsletters and professional magazines like School’s Week, ICT in Education, Agent4Change, QA Education, Teach Secondary, Education Today, Education Investor. Dr Sarah Younie and Christina are also invited to contribute an occasional features in the Times Education supplement. The overall outreach for DMU and MirandaNet news is about 1,250,000 professionals

Research funded by associate companies and undertaken by teachers as co-researchers  is published on the MirandaNet website and, where appropriate, published in journals like the British Journal of Education Research and The International Journal of Web-based Communities or as chapters in books for teachers published by, for example, Taylor Francis, Routledge and Springer.

MirandaNet make full use of social media like Twitter, Facebook and Linked in. Attendance at MirandaNet hosted events or partnering with other organisations like ITTE and Naace is about 300 per year but expected to rise as the partnership with the new Institute for Education Futures develops. Testimonials can be found here.

Key publications

  • Preston, C and S. Younie (2016 in press) Innovation in effective professional learning; using a video-based platform  in What the Research says. Ed. Rose Luckin. Pearson
  • Preston, C., M. Savage, M. Payton and A. Barnett (2016 in press) Towards tomorrow’s successful digital citizens: providing the critical and dialogical opportunities to change lifestyles and mindsets in ICT debates Eds Younie, S and Bradshaw, P. Routledge (I will have a draft by next week)
  • C.Preston and S.Younie (2016 in press) Taking the Tablets: Transforming teaching, liberating learners and engaging the community Eds. A. Quinn and T. Hourigan, Springer (see attachment 1)
  • Preston, C., A. Allen, R.Allen (2015 in press) Learning Spaces. Chapter in Teaching and Learning with ICT in the Secondary School. Eds S. Younie and P. Bradshaw. Routledge (see attachment 2)
  • Pachler, N, C. Preston, J. Cuthell,  A. Allen and Pinheiro Torres (2011) The ICT CPD Landscape in England Becta download here.  This report contains a section about teachers who are reluctant to use learning technologies in classrooms that you can download here
  • A series of two
    Davis, N., C. Preston, and I. Sahin (2009a). ICT teacher training: evidence for multilevel evaluation from a national initiative. British Journal of Education Technology (BJET). Volume 40. Issue 1 (January 2009 ) (Published Online: Feb 5 2008 12:00AM): 135–148. (see attachment 3)
  • Davis, N. E., C. Preston and I. Sahin (2009b). Training teachers to use new technologies impacts multiple ecologies: Evidence from a national initiative’. British Educational Research Journal (BJET). Volume 40. Issue 5 (September 2009) (see attachment 4)
  • Leask, M and C. Preston (2009) E-tools for Future Teachers: Becta, Coventry with Brunel University: see attachment 5
  • The full list of publications by Christina and other MirandaNet members is here
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