Professor Marilyn Leask is chair of the Education Futures Charity (registered charity number 1157511) which has developed the MESH initiative – MESH= Mapping Educational Specialist knowhow (www.meshguides.org). The University of Winchester is a founder member of the charity and the MESH initiative.
Prof. Leask is well known for her work on knowledge management in education and in building the evidence and knowledge base for teacher education and classroom practice. This has developed from her research on digital technologies and teacher knowledge and how digital technologies can be harnessed to support lifelong learning for teachers.
She has held chairs at the University of Bedfordshire (Educational Knowledge Management) and Brunel University. This follows a career as a teacher, researcher, academic, government policy officer, author and series editor of the main textbooks used for secondary teacher training in the UK.
As a government employee and Head of Effective Practices and Research Dissemination section in the UK agency responsible for teacher training she was responsible for commissioning academics and teachers to work together ot put the knowledge base underpinning teacher training online to support improvement across the education system. A change of UK government in 2010 – the first change since use of the internet became widespread - meant that the intellectual capital in which tax payers had invested over £20M for the benefit of children and teachers was lost as servers were closed down. The outcome of this was to set up the Education Futures Collaboration charity to ensure that effort is not again lost due to government whim.
Her current work includes developing national and international models for scaling up promising small scale research using resources within the education system to create a self-sustaining self-improving education systems.
She is a specialist in: teacher education, whole system change, improvement and development across large systems particularly through online networking and knowledge sharing, the development of approaches supporting evidence-informed policy and practice, and the use of digital technologies in education.
She has worked as a teacher, researcher and manager in secondary schools, local authorities, universities and two national agencies - The Training and Development Agency for schools where as Head of Effective Practices she brought together subject associations and colleagues across the education sector to establish the Teacher Training Resource Bank and the associated subject resource networks, and the Improvement and Development Agency for local government where as Head of Knowledge and Learning she set up online communities for local government using web 2.0 technology www.communities.idea.gov.uk now the Knowledge Hub www.khub.net.
She was instrumental, with international colleagues, in establishing UK TeacherNet and European Schoolnet (www.eun.org).
She is co-editor of the Learning to Teach in the Secondary School series of text books which are widely used for teacher training and which cover all subjects. The eighth edition is due in 2019. She has led research projects in a number of countries as well as within the UK.
With Professor Christina Preston (MirandaNet), she has been working with practitioners to develop a new research and evaluation methodology, the PIMMS approach – practitioners and researchers working in a community of practice and using innovative 21C multidimensional mind-mapping as well standard techniques for ideas sharing, research and evaluation. With Dr Sarah Younie and other colleagues she is working on new models for synthesizing educational research to make the findings usable, scalable so as to build an accumulating knowledge base.