Underpinning this approach is iCatalyst, 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.
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.