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ICT for collaborative teaching and learning


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#1 Doug Belshaw

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 08:19 PM

“I not only use all of the brains I have, but all I can borrow.”: The uses of ICT for collaborative teaching and learning.

The main point of my presentation is to recommend the elements that should be integrated into the proposed E-HELP website to make it the most collaborative environment possible. Before I do so, I intend to discuss the reasons why collaboration is a good idea in the first place, along with potential barriers and methods of doing so.


1. Reasons for collaboration

One of the main reasons for collaboration in teaching is the widening of horizons that it brings. The reason we teach is so that pupils learn: the more we know and the better we can deliver it, the more pupils are likely to learn. As with any job, you take into the workplace your own ‘toolkit’ of skills and ideas. Collaboration is one of the best ways to add to this toolkit and therefore do your best for the pupils in your charge. With collaboration, of course, comes ‘networking’ – getting to know and trust others who share similar interests. In turn, there are opportunities for both professional development and career advancement.

It’s all very well being ‘trained’ en masse by a representative of the company which is supplying your new interactive whiteboard. A one-to-one demonstration by a colleague is much better. It is this peer-learning which is an intrinsic part of collaboration: knowledge and skills are cascaded throughout the community by willing volunteers. At the end of the day, collaboration can be summed by being good practice – as Aristotle would have said, it is a good, an end-in-itself. Or as Alexander Solzehnitsyn rather succinctly put it: “Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing.”


2. Barriers to collaboration


I’m sure we’ve all experienced the situation where at a meeting everyone within the department has agreed that resources should be shared. What happens in practice is that the more conscientious members of the department keep adding to the pool of resources, whilst others simply take them without giving back. A ‘why should I?’ attitude then prevails – the sharer becomes disillusioned as they realise they are perhaps the only one putting in the extra work. The non-sharers notice the shift in opinions and think, “well if she’s not bothering, why should I?”

Of course, many teachers are reluctant to share their resources not out of selfishness but out of a sense of insecurity. It is often the case that, with a lack of feedback through informal observations, etc., teachers are often unaware as to how good the materials they produce actually are. Coupled to this is the presumption that to share something it must not only be good but that it must be complete. Given that different teachers use resources in a variety of ways this is nonsense. Something half-finished can be as good, if not better than something presented in toto. Each teacher puts a different slant on what they teach. A resource – for example a Powerpoint presentation on the causes of World War I – may be used as an introduction to the topic by one teacher. Another teacher it has been shared with may tinker with it to use it as a revision tool. There is no need for shared resources to be complete, but if they are they must be editable.

Collaboration also breeds flexibility. Imagine you’ve planned a lesson for tomorrow on interpretations regarding the execution of Charles I. You convert relevant videos to digital files and then chop them up into relevant sections. The lesson is planned: you are going to focus on how the execution is portrayed in the film ‘Cromwell’ as opposed to ‘To Kill a King’. As you’re packing up for the day a colleague drops in for a chat. During the conversation he mentions how much his pupils enjoyed watching the Blackadder version of Charles’ execution. He lends you a copy of it, you incorporate it into your lesson the following day, and not only does it add an extra dimension to your lesson but the pupils remember it and the fun they had in History. Collaboration is as much about off-the-cuff suggestions and informal ideas as it is about sharing complete and finished resources.

Sadly, there are some teachers – hopefully not many – for whom such collaboration is seen as a threat. As one of the non-sharers in the example above, the threatened teacher sees sharing and collaboration as a dilution of talent rather than an opportunity to enhance pupil learning. They see a certain resource or style of teaching as being ‘theirs’, meaning that anyone else either cannot do as good a job, or is somehow ‘stealing’ something of theirs. These teachers have to be shown that the bigger the pool of resources and ideas, the better! Intellectual property is a myth.

There is one thing which I must take issue with regarding collaboration. Some teachers feel that if they share resources their name must be plastered all over it so that they receive due recognition. As Brian Tracy, the management guru, once wrote, “the more credit you give away, the more will come back to you.” If the aim is the development of pupil understanding and knowledge, why must the person who put together the resource attempt to turn themselves into a minor celebrity? I have heard some argue that it makes pupils aware that their teacher is in touch with others who share both resources and good practice. Seeing as the majority of pupils half-believe that I live in the History Office at our school, I find this hard to swallow. As Edgar Quinet stated, “what we share with another ceases to be our own.” It’s better than being your own – it now belongs to the community of which you are a part!

So much for reluctant sharers. Imagine that we are now dealing with an individual who recognizes the benefits of collaboration and is looking to share with teachers other than those in her department. She turns to the Internet but runs into a problem: in order to share resources and ideas, our potential sharer must get to grips with both technology and ICT jargon. There is a crucial moment, a delicate balance, in all this. As sharing over the Internet is a purely voluntary exercise, if it becomes too difficult or time-consuming then the potential collaborator is put off – perhaps never to try again. Even if she is successful in ‘posting’ something on the Internet, there is no guarantee that she will be either correctly understood or interpreted. It is crucial that the E-HELP website addresses these issues through necessary guides and explanations.



3. Methods of collaboration

Communities only exist in terms of relationships between their members. To build a virtual community requires a structured way of allowing relations to develop, and one of the best ways of doing this is through online discussion forums. Two of the most successful I have come across to do with education are The Education Forum and the Schoolhistory Forum. These are havens of advice, ideas and resources, mixing both formal and informal elements to create a forward-thinking, safe, and friendly atmosphere. It is the virtual equivalent of the quick chat over a cup of coffee in the faculty staff room – except that your staff room is now infinitely larger and you can ‘eavesdrop’ on other people’s conversations by searching through previous threads! It is the little things which often make an average lesson into a great one, and such forums are repositories of small but effective ideas. The E-HELP website should certainly have an online discussion forum to add a sense of community and to make it an interactive and ever-changing destination. This will give it a great deal of user-ownership.

Discussion forums are great for linking to other websites and for describing things in words. Sometimes, however, you want a resource you can quickly adapt for a particular class. This is where resource exchanges come in – the online equivalent of photocopying each others’ resources folder. A few years ago the NGFL set up the Teacher Resource Exchange, a highly-organized and categorized place where teachers can share resources and ideas. Although unfinished resources can be uploaded and comments made upon what is shared, there is a sense of a lack of user ownership. I have tried to remedy this with the recent launch of mrbelshaw.co.uk/shareforum, which attempts to be a cross between a discussion forum and resource exchange. It is a simple concept: registered users create a new thread for each resource they wish to share, adding a short description of what it is and how it can be used. Whilst anyone can download shared files, only registered users can add comments, ask questions of the original sharer, etc. The original posting with the downloadable file will always be at the top of the thread. If the E-HELP website has a facility such as this it would be a very attractive feature.

Some may be wondering why all this is necessary – what about good old email? Well, there are advantages and disadvantages of this method. One major disadvantage, of course, is the number of people who can access what is being shared. When resources are posted on a website they are of a ‘pull’ nature – you can access what you want when you need it. Email, on the other hand, is ‘push’ oriented – you can only access what someone has sent you and you have stored somewhere. However, one major advantage of email and other one-to-one methods of collaboration (such as burning CDs/DVDs) is getting round draconian copyright legislation. (It baffles me why, as teachers, we are subject to the same rigid laws as ‘pirates’ who run off thousands of copies of a DVD for ill-gotten gain.) Sharing a video clip on a website it likely to get you into trouble; sharing it by email, by post or in person makes it less likely. It is for this reason that the ‘personal message’ (PM) functions of message boards are so useful. Things can be said and suggested which, whilst useful for teaching and learning, may fall foul of out-of-date legislation. I recommend that the E-HELP website includes such a feature.

There is a way to anonymize sharing and to get round copyright legislation, although it is only really useful at present for large files which quite a lot of people access. Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology changes the way in which users on the Internet can download files. Normally, computers download the desired file directly from the ‘server’ which makes the file available. Using P2P technology, however, the computer requesting the file downloads different parts of the file from different computers. Each computer is effectively turned into a ‘mini-server’:

Posted Image (normal downloads)

Posted Image (P2P downloads)

The whole file does not even have to have finished downloading on one machine for it to be shared with the rest of the network. Whatever has been downloaded by one computer is shared with other computers requesting the file. So long as one full copy exists somewhere in the network, all computers will eventually receive the file! At the moment it is necessary for there to be a ‘tracker’ on at least one machine in the network to co-ordinate file-sharing. In the future, however, such trackers will be built into the software each computer must be running to download the file in the first place. There will be no need for a central tracker (e.g. Exeem. Of course, this will be a great boon for people who use the Internet for nefarious purposes: if there is no central tracker which can be closed down, they are a lot less likely to be caught! However, it will also be useful to the average Internet user as it will mean both greater reliability and faster downloads.

Why is P2P an important technology in terms of the E-HELP website? Well, people who host websites charge for the amount of data which is transferred from your website to other people. In other words you pay more the more successful your website is. The problem is even greater when large filesizes are involved: it only takes a relatively small number of people to download them for it to cost the site owner a lot of money. With P2P technology this problem is lessened. The more popular the file, the less likely that most users will be downloading it directly from the originating website. Although in the past setting up trackers, etc. was a job which demanded a high degree of expertise, new systems such as Blogtorrent have made the system a lot simpler. A visual interface means that users with sufficient priviledges are able to add files to the server through their browser. Users can likewise download files from a link through their web browser. In the future I envisage P2P technology being part of the normal Internet experience. The necessary client-side software will be embedded in browsers: the user will notice no difference between downloading straight from the originating website as opposed to from ‘peers’. Many websites shy away from allowing large-filesize downloads for fear of cost implications. I believe that the E-HELP website should embrace P2P technology meaning that large-filesize downloads become part-and-parcel of the site.


4. The E-HELP website

I’m sure we’re all aware of the difference between a lesson’s content and the style of delivery. You may have the best lesson content in the world but if your delivery isn’t up to much then it counts for nothing. That’s one of the first lessons I learnt as a student teacher! It’s the same with websites: having great content means nothing nowadays, the way it is presented is paramount. Organization is the key: a successful website has a logical structure and way of organizing its elements. Traditionally this has meant employing web design consultants to look after both what you are saying on your website and how you say it. Fortunately, there is a better way…

A Content Management System (CMS) is like the most efficient and glamorous personal assistant in the world. It categorizes any information given, making relevant links between it and other elements. Everything is presented in an organised way which is easy on the eye. Creating new content therefore is not a laborious, time-consuming and technically-demanding occupation. In fact, each user becomes a content-maker – meaning that the website itself becomes a truly collaborative effort! How much does this wonderful technology cost? Nothing! In the true spirit of collaboration, many CMS’s are what is known as ‘Open Source’, meaning that not only are they free-of-charge but they can be modified and adapted as you see fit. The four which I would currently recommend, depending on how they are to be deployed, are Moodle, Drupal, Xoops and Mambo. Each of these can be previewed at opensourcecms.com.

Combining all I have said above into some semblance of a conclusion, I see the E-HELP website as being a place where collaborations can take place in an unstructured yet organized way. The collaborations will be unstructured in that the website will not prescribe what kinds of collaboration may take place; they will be organized, however, in that the products of such collaborations will be easily accessible and well-categorized. I envisage videos and other resources regarding good practice being made available for easy download via P2P technology. The website would also foster formal, semi-formal and informal partnerships, not least through the discussion forum. Hopefully, the CMS decided upon will allow for all of these elements to be coherently integrated so that the user can get on with collaborating rather than getting to grips with technology!


:plane Doug

#2 David Richardson

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:24 AM

Here's description of a very small-scale collaboration arrangement:

A few years ago the teachers of French in Kalmar district realised that they were few and far between, and that they were all re-inventing the wheel all the time. They were all using the same textbooks, and they were all part of Kalmar Council's computer network.

The problems they faced were, amongst others, that when someone was ill, the substitute often had no idea what was going on, and often wasn't even a French teachers. Another one was that when they needed to replace a textbook, the decision was often made on the loosest of grounds, because everyone was over-worked.

The solution was to create a collaborative network of French teachers, where they divided a task, such as creating supplementary material for the textbook between them, and built up a bank of self-access material which all of them could draw on. It was necessary to get the copyright situation sorted out, but the 'payment' each received was really the mutual aid of their colleagues.

I haven't heard the details of the scheme for about a year, but when I last talked to anyone involved, they'd built up a bank of lesson plans for substitute teachers, and a bank of supplementary materials for the course book.

I have a strong feeling, though, that this worked because it was sufficiently small-scale for everyone involved to feel that they were benefitting directly.

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:35 PM

One of the main reasons for collaboration in teaching is the widening of horizons that it brings. The reason we teach is so that pupils learn: the more we know and the better we can deliver it, the more pupils are likely to learn. As with any job, you take into the workplace your own ‘toolkit’ of skills and ideas. Collaboration is one of the best ways to add to this toolkit and therefore do your best for the pupils in your charge. With collaboration, of course, comes ‘networking’ – getting to know and trust others who share similar interests. In turn, there are opportunities for both professional development and career advancement.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


When I first started teaching I was lucky to be in a history department that encouraged its members to produce and share resources. Although, as in most departments, there were some members who rarely contributed to the “resource bank”.

I also shared resources with members of other departments. For example, we worked very closely with the English and Art departments when studying the First World War. This included sharing resources and ideas. It also involved arranging to teach certain topics at certain times of the academic year. For example, it made sense for the English department to study the War Poets while the history department was looking at trench warfare.

More importantly we also collaborated with local schools. In the late 1970s we had regular meetings at the local teacher centre. This gave us the opportunity of sharing resources. This was especially useful when studying local history topics. This no longer happens. Most teacher centres and LEA history advisers (who organized these meetings) are long gone.

As Doug points out, modern technology means it is now fairly easy for teachers to share resources. One you have created a free website your resources can be used by teachers and students all over the world. For example, of those who use my website, only about 35% come from the UK.

One of the great strengths of this approach is that it is fairly easy for teachers to take the material from their website and adapt it for their own use. Luckily, there are enough people in the world willing to share their resources in this way. However, these attempts at sharing have been undermined by the decision of the UK government to bring in e-learning credits. This has encouraged some teachers from providing free materials and instead they have gone over to subscription only models of delivery. This move was obviously made to please major corporations who were finding it impossible to make profits from the production of teaching materials (both online and in more conventional formats). Instead of this act of corruption, the government should have been looking for ways to encourage teachers to share resources. For example, by paying them to produce free materials.

It is not enough to rely on teachers to provide materials free of charge. We also need to create networks that enable teachers to work together on different resource producing projects. This is one of the things that E-HELP is committed to doing. The meeting in Toulouse was the first stage in achieving this objective.

#4 Doug Belshaw

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 06:35 PM

The solution was to create a collaborative network of French teachers, where they divided a task, such as creating supplementary material for the textbook between them, and built up a bank of self-access material which all of them could draw on. It was necessary to get the copyright situation sorted out, but the 'payment' each received was really the mutual aid of their colleagues.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I also shared resources with members of other departments. For example, we worked very closely with the English and Art departments when studying the First World War. This included sharing resources and ideas. It also involved arranging to teach certain topics at certain times of the academic year. For example, it made sense for the English department to study the War Poets while the history department was looking at trench warfare.

I was impressed at the E-HELP conference by the way in which Nico had an interactive scheme of work on his website for both colleagues and pupils to access. I believe Richard has something similar at IST. :D If each department within a school had a website with such a thing it would make collaboration so much easier! If the resources to go with the schemes of work were provided as links from the schemes, then the wider community could draw upon them. This is something I will be looking into in the near future...

:D Doug

#5 Terry Haydn

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 04:35 PM

I thought there were some interesting issues about the tensions between 'cutting edge' or 'pioneer' practitioners operating on the frontiers of what is possible in history and ICT, 'consolidators' who are more interested in what uses cutting edge stuff can be put to to help 'average' history teachers and departments, and those whose main concern is to get the whole army of history teachers making the most of ICT to improve teaching and learning in school history. In this respect, collaboration and the forum are particulalry important. A key way forward is the development of powerful examples and models, that make history teachers think 'I would like to be able to do that', complemented by thoughtfully constructed 'idiot's guides' , online tutorials or face to face sessions to help them through the technical side of things. People who are good at the latter of these skills are particulalry valuable to projects.

#6 Doug Belshaw

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 05:34 PM

Spot on Terry - people have different talents. I believe yourself and Alf are extremely good at showing the layperson what they can do with ICT in a non-threatening way. The job of those of us who are a bit more at the 'cutting-edge' (as you say) is to translate what is going on in the wider context to something more meaningful for the teacher in the classroom. I've had a great response from the simple guide I put up a while ago as to how to use a program called FairUse Wizard. I plan to write similar guides in future. Andrew Field regularly produces resources which put mine to shame - such as his multi-program-including website creation guide.

In addition to these program-specific guides we need the online equivalent of Alf's presentation - showing how ICT can make a fairly interesting project into a riveting one for all involved. Perhaps this is what the E-HELP website should concentrate on?

:plane Doug

#7 David Richardson

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 08:06 PM

I've seen the apprentice - 'expert' model work really well within the group of English teachers I work with. The fact that there are people you drink coffee with everyday, who don't see ICT as threatening, makes it easier to take the first step into a new world of teaching involving computers. But 'ting tar tid', as they say in Swedish (things take time). Youv'e got to see the process of development from scratch in terms of years (about 3), rather than months or weeks.

#8 Doug Belshaw

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 10:57 PM

But 'ting tar tid', as they say in Swedish (things take time). Youv'e got to see the process of development from scratch in terms of years (about 3), rather than months or weeks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

...which is extremely frustrating when you're ready to do it now. By the time three years has come and gone lots of new technology is available and you're back at square one! :D

:D Doug

#9 David Richardson

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:55 AM

Let me elaborate a bit on my previous post. What takes the time is to get a larger group of teachers, or maybe even a whole school to embrace a different way of working. The great advantage of ICT is that an individual or a small group can achieve a lot with fairly simple technology … and as soon as other teachers and school managers start seeing results, it becomes easier to gain acceptance for the next stage.

The blog we incorporated into one of our courses recently is a good case in point (I've described it elsewhere on this forum). It was free to set up, and only really required a personal relationship between two teachers at different places. The official management of each place is still fairly ignorant about it (which is a good thing, since it enables us to get something up and running before they start interfering and telling us how it should be done).

Now it's found its way into an official report on the teaching of English at university level in Sweden … which makes blogging (and related phenomena) something for our university to be proud of … which makes it more likely that such grass-roots initiatives will get the support they need.

Same thing happened last year with our use of desk-top video conferencing. It started out as a tool a few English teachers wanted to use on one course, and its use has become a mainstream practice for just about all the departments of our university.

#10 Dalibor Svoboda

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 11:46 AM

I red the summary of your presentation with interest. I do believe that it could handily be divided into two parts:
a) importance of networking and sharing and B) how the networking and sharing could be easily and practically done.

This second part is rather technique minded nevertheless equally important if the participants really do want things going smoothly.

Nevertheless and probably contrary to you my imagination were more caught by your description of networking and sharing. It is important yet often neglected. Are we teachers “lonely wolfs” not seldom not even giving the cooperation between us a though? At ones own school? At the national level? When regarding international networking and sharing?

And if so could this behaviour be demolished? You mentioned websites which are trying to do so like your own mrbelshaw.co.uk/shareforum (nice try, though not many contributions yet) or Teacher Resource Exchange.

Another one is The TeachNet project situated at Manhattan. One of my teacher friends once wrote article about The TeachNet for History department/Virtual school in 1999.

The TeachNet Project
When I was in New York City in November I visited Mr. John Elfrank-Dana, formerly Social studies teacher at Murry Bergtraum High School, now Director of Technoloy & Curriculum Development at The TeachNet project (part of the Teachers Network and funded by AT&T). The TeachNet project believes that 'teachers are the best teachers for teachers', i.e. if a teacher needs help or wants to explore new methods, he or she should get educated by another teacher who has the necessary skills. John explains that the TeachNet project tries to build a national network of teachers interested in pedagogic advancement, especially computer aided and internet-based teaching. First, a teacher who creates an interesting project can apply for a TeachNet-grant ($500). If they get accepted (in NYC 35 grants were issued last year) they have to publish their project on the TeachNet project web page, take part in a discussion forum (both virtually and on monthly meetings), and also assist other teachers who are interested to work with a published project. Secondly, a system of mentors is constructed. If a group of teachers at a school are interested in starting internet based teaching, the TeachNet project functions as mentors, i.e. helping the school with technical and pedagogic advice. Eventually, the teachers who received help from TeachNet will themselves function as mentors for other teachers at their school, which are interested in internet based teaching.

The aim of the TeachNet project is thus to build networks of teachers who believe in change. They construct a forum where teachers can meet to exchange ideas, a mentor system which helps to spread knowledge and a library of interesting projects from which everyone can draw inspiration.

Peter Tollmar, Fredrika Bremergymnasiet, Haninge, Sweden


The The TeachNet is still there. Working for the teachers under constant development. Please visit it at http://www.teachnet.org/.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda, 15 March 2005 - 11:48 AM.


#11 Dalibor Svoboda

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 12:50 PM

I look once again through your site mrbelshaw.co.uk/shareforum and I like what I saw.
There is more pedagogical suggestions and helps that in March. ( Of course you had to create them and it takes time, I know) And they seemed to be downloaded and probably extensively used in British classrooms.

Do you get any thoughts or comments from British teachers after they used things from your share forum?

And how about yourself? Are you satisfied what you achieved until today?

#12 Doug Belshaw

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 07:54 PM

I look once again through your site mrbelshaw.co.uk/shareforum and I like what I saw.
There is more pedagogical suggestions and helps that in March. ( Of course you had to create them and it takes time, I know) And they seemed to be downloaded and probably extensively used in British classrooms.

Do you get any thoughts or comments from British teachers after they used things from your share forum?

And how about yourself? Are you satisfied what you achieved until today?

Thanks for the comments Dalibor. I tried to change my little corner of the teaching world last year, but now I've realised that significant change usually occurs gradually. I'm happy with the way the shareforum is growing, although I wish that more people would contribute rather than just download! :rolleyes:

I get a few comments praising the shareforum in general, but no specific comments or suggestions really, unfortunately! I'd like to eventually setup a site which fosters and encourages collaboration in terms of ideas and resources between teachers of all disciplines across all kinds of boundaries.

We shall see... :D

:plane Doug

#13 Doug Belshaw

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 08:26 PM

The share forum is a great idea Doug.
Have you considered submitting it or part of it as a project for the Specialist Schools Trust Teachnet website?
http://www.teachnet-uk.org.uk/
(click on Download information about Teachnet UK - late applications to make an application
Not only would they give you a nice cheque for your work but you would also get increased traffic to keep that google ads revenue flowing in and more importantly get more teachers involved in the wonderful business of sharing

A wonderful plan Mr Walker - the application form is winging its way through cyberspace as I type! :plane

:rolleyes: Doug

Edited by Doug Belshaw, 16 October 2005 - 08:37 AM.


#14 Andy Walker

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 08:32 PM


The share forum is a great idea Doug.
Have you considered submitting it or part of it as a project for the Specialist Schools Trust Teachnet website?
http://www.teachnet-uk.org.uk/
(click on Download information about Teachnet UK - late applications to make an application
Not only would they give you a nice cheque for your work but you would also get increased traffic to keep that google ads revenue flowing in and more importantly get more teachers involved in the wonderful business of sharing

A wonderful plan Mr Walker - the application form is winging its way through cyberspeak as I type! :D

:rolleyes: Doug


Excellent. You will find the people at TeachNet extremely supportive especially for such a worthwhile project.
Let me know how you get on :plane

#15 Graham Davies

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  • Interests:I began my career as a teacher of German and French in secondary education in 1965, moving into higher education in 1971, where I taught German (and also English as a Foreign Language to students training to become professional translators) until 1993. I have been involved in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) since 1976. In 1982 I wrote one of the first introductory books on computers in language learning and teaching, which was followed by numerous other printed and software publications. In 1989 I was conferred with the title of Professor of CALL by the Academic Board of Ealing College of Higher Education (later integrated into Thames Valley University). I retired from full-time teaching in 1993 but I continued to work as a Visiting Professor for Thames Valley University until 2001. I was the Founder President of EUROCALL, holding the post from 1993 to 2000. I am a partner in Camsoft, a CALL software development and consultancy business, which was founded in 1982. I have lectured and run ICT training courses for language teachers in 22 different countries and I sit on a number of national and international advisory boards and committees. I have been actively involved in WorldCALL since 1998 and I currently head a working party that is in the process of setting up WorldCALL as an official organisation that aims to assist countries that are currently underserved in the area of ICT and the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages. I am fluent in German, I speak tolerable French, and I can survive in Italian, Russian and Hungarian. I enjoy golf, skiing, walking my dog (a retired racing greyhound) and travelling. I used to scuba-dive regularly - my last dive was on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 - but now I just swim at my local fitness centre.

Posted 16 October 2005 - 02:18 AM

Nice site, Doug! Resources sites are a great idea, but a degree of caution is advised.

Just a couple of questions, based on my experience in (a) setting up a teaching/training resources site, (:rolleyes: producing digital resources for a major DfES training project:

1. How do you ensure that the work submitted to you by teachers is original and that all copyright clearances and other permissions, e.g. for reproduction of texts, photos, recordings, have been granted?

2. How do you protect original work submitted by teachers, e.g. so that it doesn't end up, for example, on someone else's website or, worse still, in a commercial training pack?

Re (1): This is important, as the creator of a resources site (i.e. the publisher) carries the can in the event of any copyright infringements that may emerge. As manager of the ICT4LT site, I get teachers to endorse the following declaration when they submit materials to me:

"Guarantee of originality: The Author warrants that the Work is an original composition and that it in no way infringes any existing copyright either in whole or in part and that it contains no material which may be considered libellous or defamatory. The Author shall indemnify the Publisher against all actions, proceedings, claims and demands made against the Publisher by reason of anything contained within the Work constituting an infringement of copyright or being libellous or defamatory and against all costs, damages or expenses in respect of such action, proceeding, claim or demand."

Re (2): I can cite a case where a teacher had produced a very good website of original resources that she had created, only to find that some of them had found their way into a commercial training agency's pack of handouts. I advised her to display a prominent copyright message at her site indicating that her resources could only be used for non-commercial purposes in educational institutions. She took my advice. The ICT4LT site displays the following message:

"© ICT4LT Project 2003-2005. The materials contained at this website are subject to copyright. The materials may be downloaded, printed and used for non-commercial purposes in a teaching or training environment. If these materials are reproduced in any form in whole or in part the source of the materials and the authors must be acknowledged. Mirror or intranet versions of the ICT4LT site may be set up on payment of an annual franchise fee."

BECTA's ICT Advice site contains useful guidelines on copyright in an educational context:
http://www.ictadvice.org.uk/
Enter "copyright" in the search box.

See also: http://www.ict4lt.or...n_copyright.htm




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