Professor Marilyn Leask is chair of the Education Futures Charity 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 to 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.
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.