Guided by the late Professor Tom Stonier, one of Valiant’s founders, we have always believed educational products should be based on evidence of best educational practice. Continuing this philosophy we recently announced a collaboration between Dave Catlin, Andrew Csizmadia and Mike Blamires to produce a MESHGuide – Educational robots: why use a Roamer robot in the classroom? In this article Professor Marilyn Leask explains the MESHGuide programme.
MESH is an education sector driven Mapping Educational Specialist knowHow initiative supported by the Education Futures Collaboration charity. MESHGuides provide a quality assured, research based WikiEdupedia type resource open to educators around the world.
Marilyn Leask, Professor of Educational Knowledge at the University of Bedfordshire. Marilyn is passionate about building the evidence and knowledge base for teacher education and classroom practice. She is chair of the Board and chair of the Chief Editorial Group for the MESHGuides.
However, MESH provides more than a database of materials which become out of date as soon as they are tested and taken forward by a teacher. It provides a sustainable national system for knowledge mobilisation to support research-based practice in the education sector at all levels. We know that too many good studies are put on websites and not accessed by those who could benefit from the advice. We are asking charities, government and all funders of educational to include a summary for practitioners (a MESHGuide ) as an output of their research as well as their normal outputs.
The educators behind MESH form an extensive network of public service minded educators, with expertise in digital technologies, national systems and change and pedagogic knowledge. MESH is about putting in place a self-sustaining knowledge mobilisation systems to maximise the impact and reach of educational research of different types and to ensure rapid sharing of new knowledge. We believe the sector already has much of the knowledge needed to improve practice but that limited access to this knowledge because of the diversity of locations and the form of publication is a major barrier to improvement of practice.
We also know that pedagogical knowledge is provisional and contextual and we have accommodated that in the design of the system leading to an accumulating knowledge base rather than replication.
We know too, that new knowledge being created by teachers, teacher networks, masters, EdD and PhD students can be captured in summaries including video/audio materials which are then linked to existing MESHGuides (rather than being published separately) thus providing an accumulating knowledge base.
We invite educators using ROAMERS to contribute to the evidence base about the use of these products to support learning. To find out how to contribute your case studies to MESH see www.MESHGuides.org .
Gathering evidence about the effectiveness of Roamer is long term process. Mike Blamires and I outlined our approach in the e-Robot paper several years ago. I think the MESHGuide approach and format “meshes” perfectly with e-Robot’s ambition.