About MIST

MIST stands for Mentored Investigations into Science and Technology.

We started in the early 1990’s with the aim of bringing both science lessons and math lessons alive.

Oxford in the mist

Our Approach: Education Not Technology

The emphasis at MIST has always been on education not technology.

Children are constantly exploring the world around them. Their views and ideas provide essential starting points for an exciting journey of discovery.

So we ask children open-ended questions rather than providing them with answers.  This helps children to think for themselves and to explore their ideas with their teachers, friends and parents.

How do we encourage this?

  • First we use the power of a short video to catch children’s attention, to bring the all-important real-world examples into the classroom and to spark questions
  • Then we provide a range of ideas for lessons and activities that you could use to tie into the video, or indeed your own investigations.

We believe that our material encapsulates the best of modern thinking about pedagogy.  It provides a flexible resource that allows teachers to tailor it to their particular contexts, and it is affordable and easy to use.

Teachers have always been involved in trialing our different packages.  MIST has also asked Faculty in Education Departments at the University of Liverpool in the UK and the University of Maryland in the US to help with several of these trials.

The Original Team

MIST has a long pedigree, dating back to Philips’ CD-i and before.

The three founders were: Dr Colin Mably, Peter Morley OBE, and Dr Marshall Young.

Colin is an award-winning curriculum developer and co-founder of the International Society for Teacher Education was our academic lead.

Peter is a BAFTA-award winning documentary maker.

Marshall, previously the Business Development Director for Thorn EMI Home Electronics International, runs the commercial side.

Our initial focus was Science and Dr Ann Benbow (now the Education Outreach Director at the American Geosciences Institute), soon joined to help develop a version for US Schools.

The US project looked to build on the recommendations emanating from the American Association for the Advancement of Science on best practice in teaching science, which MIST was well placed to support.

The work MIST had done in the science area led to it being commissioned by the UK Government to develop a similar resource in the maths area.  This led to the complementary ‘World of Number’ package.

In the late 1990’s, though, the discontinuation of CD-i, and the changes that video on the web were beginning to bring, meant that the team members decided to move onto other things.

Colin and Ann married and have continued to develop a number of science and maths educational products in the US; Peter retired to spend time with his wife in London and Marshall moved on to become Dean of Templeton (now Green Templeton) College, University of Oxford.

The Boxes in the Attic

For a while, the original MIST discs lay boxed up in an attic in Marshall’s house in Oxford.

His three children, Vicky, Rupert and Piers, are all involved in technology and education in one form or another. Vicky is a qualified teacher, Rupert runs a computer games company and Piers is a bit of both, having moved from IT into teaching eight years ago.

MIST kept on resurfacing as a topic of conversation at family gatherings and the conclusion was always the same. CD-i may be obsolete but the way MIST goes about helping educators teach children is still relevant.

So the three of us took down the boxes from the attic to see if between us, in our spare time, we could make MIST accessible again.