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Teachit


Susan Wilde
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I have recently had a quick look around the Teachit site, I know- mabye a bit slow on the up-take there! http://www.teachit.co.uk/

I would welcome feedback form other A level practitioners - is is worth subscribing? Is there much KS5 and how "sharp" have you found it to be? (I know that's very subjective!)

I work in a college - so we don't do any lower school work, which there seems to be a great deal of

we do GCES with OCR

AS and A2 Lang, Lang-Lit and Lit with AQA B

I know I can save/print the Pdf files without paying anyway, but I rarely want to use anything without makng it "mine" in some way!

I also feel slightly frustrated that the identity of the writer/originator seems to be hidden. I regularly use resources shared on an e-mail list of Eng Lang A level teachers, (you cold join via: http://www.markboardman.com/ )but then I have a sense of whose stuff I am likely to use, and whose stuff doesnt fit my teaching style - does anyone know the reason why the work is anon?

I appreciate that ppl who work for Teachit are likely to be reading this, and I am not trying to be provocative, just genuinely interested

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Guest brinn

I admit I have not over-used it for KS5, but I have used it and I think I ought to search it more often for KS5 materials. If the ecredits stop, I shall continue to pay the £20 or whatever myself to subscribe because it really has made a big difference being able to word process and alter a document, as you said you prefer to do, Susan.

I find their intercatrive stuff a bit dull though. It seems to under-use the Internet and just offers what are, to my mind, essentially not too attractive moving word documents. (No insult to their makers intended, since I can't even manage to make those!)

My mate, a supply teacher, swears by it and pays the subscription.

I rate it very highly all round and good for A level - especially for teachers just starting out. I guess that it can't hurt to try it for a year at such a reasonable subscription.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Andrew Moore

Teachit is a cottage industry, and highly virtuous, I think. It's basically Siobhain and Garry (plus children and dog). Alternatively, it's the working out of an idea hatched one evening in a pub... To make a clearing-house or exchange for teachers' resources - and to help with the publication and distribution.

The strength of Teachit is also potentially a weakness - but one that Siobhain is fixing: that is, the bulk of the documents are submitted by teachers, so there's more than you need for X, and not always enough for Y. She's fixing it by employing some teachers to write quality material to reach the parts that otherwise might not be reached.

If you contribute stuff, then you may receive a royalty payment - I know one teacher colleague who was very pleasantly surprised when he received a cheque.

Key stage 5 is one of the areas of Teachit that Siobhain is working to build up.

The reason why the original writer may not be credited is to show that the contributions have gone into a collective enterprise.

Mostly it's predicated on an assumption (currently a correct one, for most English teachers, alas) that the users will not experience the site on the Web in real time, but will save to a local network, or, more probably, print and photocopy.

I would question the value of many interactions on a Web site, anyway. You can do far more by dropping text into a word processor, than with any of the quizzes and wordsearches and so on that people generate with, say, Hot Potatoes.

To make interactions in a teaching resource is a great challenge - since the resource should have some appropriate interpretation or guidance in it, as well as the interactive elements. To make text or images move around in response to given inputs is not too hard. But that on its own does not necessarily make a difference to effective learning.

I have found various ways to animate, or build in interactions, but I'm not at all sure that this is a worthwhile thing to do. For some examples, see:

www.universalteacher.org.uk/grammar/demo.htm

www.universalteacher.org.uk/contents.htm#special

www.universalteacher.org.uk/poetry/patrollingbarnegat.htm

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When I taught English for a year (and a little bit) I found the resources on TeachIt invaluable - and hence why I sent as many as I created in. I was delighted to be able to contribute. I think the site is fantastic.

Not quite sure where the comments about 'interactions' came from, but I do believe there is massive potential for such interactive materials, as long as you think a bit further out of the box. If a wordprocessor activity works, then use it! More complicated 'interactivities' have different purposes and uses. Things like this storyboard activity on Hitler I believe has great potential. That's another topic though.

TeachIt.co.uk - brilliant. B) Best thing was seeing other English teachers in my department downloading worksheets from the site that I'd created - they'd gone on the internet and downloaded them rather than pop into the classroom next door! :blink:

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Best thing was seeing other English teachers in my department downloading worksheets from the site that I'd created - they'd gone on the internet and downloaded them rather than pop into the classroom next door!

LOL And I use emails with colleagues in the same school. My excuse is that my health is awful and I work part-time... but actually I just like using email

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I discovered Teachit a few years ago when I was teaching and found it wonderfully useful and especially for those times when you're running out of ideas or want individual stuff while working with others. Their Shakespeare stuff is partricularly great as we don't have as much emphasis on it here for younger students and I found their things terrific for older but less able kids. I have passed it on to many Australian teachers as we have nothing as good here - at least I haven't found it if we have.

Pleased to hear that they are upgrading. I will put that into our union journal IT notes.

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  • 3 months later...

It felt strange reading this thread and I wasn't sure whether to respond - but here goes anyway ...

I'm the first to admit that Teachit is not yet perfect and there are many ways we could improve, including * supplementing the materials we have for A/AS, particularly Lang * increasing resources for Media and Drama * working on our interactive materials *adding more PowerPoint and IWB materials. All of this and much more is already underway so do keep an eye on developments.

On the other hand (and when I'm not worrying too much about the length of the to-do list!), I'm incredibly proud of Teachit and the service we offer. As far as I am aware we are unique for the following reasons:

1. We offer around 4500 pages of photocopiable resources completely free of charge and add on average 19 pages of completely new materials each and every week. These go through a rigorous editing system and this has helped us earn a reputation for trust-worthy, user-friendly and accurate materials.

2. We have since 2002 opened our files and now provide the editable raw material at very low cost - at £16 - £30 our annual subscription is about the same as the price of a video and works out at around 1p per resource. This allows members to adapt the materials to suit their own needs.

3. We share our revenues (not just our profits) with our team of contributors and editors each of whom receives a quarterly cheque from us.

4. We were the first English website to become Curriculum Online approved and work closely with NATE.

We also provide other free services such as the staffroom discussion area and pupils' published work areas, as well as hosting the Association of Teacher Websites site.

Many thanks to Andrew and others for your endorsements. I hope we continue to live up to these.

Any further queries feel free to get in touch!

Siobhain Archer

Editor

Teachit

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TeachIT looks like a very useful site!

Andrew writes:

I would question the value of many interactions on a Web site, anyway. You can do far more by dropping text into a word processor, than with any of the quizzes and wordsearches and so on that people generate with, say, Hot Potatoes.

Yes, many of the so-called interactive websites that I have seen fall into the category of what I call “point-and-click-let’s-move-on-quick”, and they are not truly interactive, e.g. in the sense of requiring learner input in the form of typed text or spoken language and offering discrete feedback, etc. Hot Potatoes is a useful tool for creating quick-and-dirty exercises, but there are more sophisticated tools around if you wish to create truly interactive materials.

I have been using the word-processor in teaching Modern Foreign Languages and English as a Foreign language since the early 1980s. You might take a look at ICT4LT Module 1.3, Using text tools in the modern foreign languages classroom, where a few examples are presented, as well as links (Section 6.3) to sites offering further ideas. See http://www.ict4lt.org

A couple of questions to Siobhain: There has been a lot of correspondence in the forum about copyright recently. Two questions that relate to issues that have been raised elsewhere:

1. How do you ensure that the materials sent into TeachIT are original works?

2. Anyone who creates an original work is automatically granted copyright in that work. Do your contributors retain copyright in their work or do you ask them to assign copyright to TeachIT?

My own answer to Question 1: As editor of the ICT4LT site, I always ask contributors of materials to the site to endorse the following statement:

“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."

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Hi Graham

Yes, this is a tricky area and involves lots of legalese (thanks to a fairly expensive expert lawyer!). In brief, we ask all our key contributors to sign a copyright and royalty programme that a) asserts the work is theirs and ;) assigns the full copyright to us. The last thing we would want is to pass off work belonging to others as ours, though I'm sure the collaborative nature of teaching does mean that this happens more often than educational publishers might care to admit!

Hope this is of use.

Siobhain

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LOL @ S...unspellable name!

I see we are browsing at the same time ... I meant no offence, and my enquiry was genuine. You are no doubt entitled to a bit of self-promotion on the back of my question.

xx

suze

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Siobhain writes:

Yes, this is a tricky area and involves lots of legalese (thanks to a fairly expensive expert lawyer!). In brief, we ask all our key contributors to sign a copyright and royalty programme that a) asserts the work is theirs and  assigns the full copyright to us. The last thing we would want is to pass off work belonging to others as ours, though I'm sure the collaborative nature of teaching does mean that this happens more often than educational publishers might care to admit!

It sound like you have it sorted! ;)

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Just an addendum to my previous message:

Chris Sweeney wrote (Ask an Expert / ICT / Websites and Copyright)

As a teacher I have been dismayed at the lack of rights I have to own my material - and thus control it's distribution. I was, for instance, dismayed to see a worksheet I had designed and produced, published in a national QCA publication that they claimed as their own...

I replied:

You have considerable rights and you can exercise them with the full backing of the law. I would be furious if someone published my work without asking me and I would challenge the publisher immediately. You automatically have copyright on any original work that you create. If a work has been created as part of your employment duties then, unless a contract specifically states otherwise, the copyright resides with yourself. You have a good case for complaint - and may even be able to demand a retrospective fee. I know of one teacher who succeeded in obtaining a fee in a similar situation. He found a photograph of a street scene that he had taken in Berlin appearing on the cover of a published pamphlet. He recognised the photograph from the passers-by who appeared in it.

In response to numerous questions regarding copyright, especially copyright and the Web, I have produced the following Web page at the ICT4LT site:

http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_copyright.htm

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Guest Andrew Moore

Today, on The Learning Curve (BBC Radio 4) I heard a powerful series of arguments for teachers to take back control from the politicians.

The best thing about Teachit (which would be true even if most of the stuff were less good than it is) is that Siobhain and Gary did it without anyone else's by-your-leave - which is pretty rare, and very heroic. It runs counter to many of the received ideas about publishing, by putting out work from such a wide range of teacher contributors.

It reminds me of the old Co-Op in the best possible way...

Oh, and good to see that Siobhain is posting here. ;)

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Andrew writes:

The best thing about Teachit (which would be true even if most of the stuff were less good than it is) is that Siobhain and Gary did it without anyone else's by-your-leave - which is pretty rare, and very heroic. It runs counter to many of the received ideas about publishing, by putting out work from such a wide range of teacher contributors.

More or less the same process that gave rise to the ICT4LT website: http://www.ict4lt.org. It was basically my idea (I am a retired teacher). The idea was wrapped up in a funding bid to the European Commission, who obviously liked the idea and gave us half the fundng that we needed to get the project off the ground, with a completely free hand to determine the contents of the website. The original contributors to the site were mainly practising teachers and advisory teachers in three different countries, whom we were able to pay consultancy fees (at the EC's modest rates of around 300-350 euros per day) to write the materials. The outcome is a huge bank of information about using ICT in teaching and learning modern foreign languages at secondary and HE level - we would like to add a section on Early Language Learning sometime. The site and printed accompanying materials were launched in December 2000.

I now spend around 3-4 hours per week (free of charge) updating the English language version of the materials and checking the 1000-plus links that the site contains. Updates and new contributions have been made made by the orginal and new contributors at regular intervals (free of charge). It's a labour of love and, because the site was created with European taxpayers' money, we do not charge for access, although we do make a modest charge for the CD-ROM of the site because there is an unavoidable production cost. The website is hosted (free of charge) by the University of Hull.

Interestingly, government agencies such as BECTA completely ignore the existence of the ICT4LT site (try doing a search at the BECTA site), even though it is probably the largest resource of this type anywhere on the Web and has achieved wide international acclaim and received very positive reviews. The site averages around 600 hits per day.

All the UK government sponsored initiatives in this area have achieved far less than we have achieved. I welcome new contributions, but I am afraid it has to be a labour of love as we run on zero funding now.

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The best thing about Teachit (which would be true even if most of the stuff were less good than it is) is that Siobhain and Gary did it without anyone else's by-your-leave - which is pretty rare, and very heroic. It runs counter to many of the received ideas about publishing, by putting out work from such a wide range of teacher contributors.

It reminds me of the old Co-Op in the best possible way...

Oh, and good to see that Siobhain is posting here. ;)

I agree. Teachit has been able to develop a model that works. It retains its commitment to producing free materials for teachers but has found a way to bring in an income to pay for the service it provides.

I have done the same thing. My funding comes from a variety of different sources. However, it adds up to enough to enable me to spend several days a week providing free materials.

The forum is another place where teachers provide free teaching materials for schools. Andrew's comments about the "Co-Op" is very perceptive.

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