I love to collect links and find new websites. It is something of a passion for me. I am always looking for new ideas and new resources and I try to find links which I can then share with others.
I recently found a really, really long list of different literacy links, which I have included for you to also look at. However there was a problem with these links – it was at least 10 years since anyone had checked them. During this time, a lot of the websites had ceased to exist, others were still names, but the pages were empty (as the owners hoped someone, somewhere would like the name and buy it) and there were a lot which had simply taken different directions and were no longer useful for teachers.
What are the challenges involved in finding good links?
The internet is a fluid place. One day your dream site is there, the next it is gone. I actually now download as much information as I can from different websites as and when I find it, and store it away on an external hard drive to save myself for losing great worksheets. In addition, by saving them, you are able insure against the school’s internet connection to not be working for the entire lesson.
Another challenge is finding resources which hit the right level of support and challenge for the class. I often get around this by working through different teaching activities with the class, targeting different classes abilities and interests. It is also a great way of making sure you have enough resources to change the direction of your lesson if the class does not take to your ideas.
Why are my links so important?
The links I had found were in general from different forum posts. This means a wide range of different English teachers had actually taken the time to list their own favourite sites. Where the sites were missing, I added them from my own personal experience. I found there were lots of great sites which other teachers had already found, which were new to me. I also like to share my discoveries and so I built a site called http://www.timetoteach.co.uk to do exactly this. This website lists all the links I have found and which I think other teachers will also enjoy using.
How do you get the best out of the Internet when you are teaching?
The first is to make sure that you have a back up plan. It has happened to me so many times, I will come out of one class buzzing with how the lesson went, only to try it on another class and for it to fall flat, and need to discover an alternative method.
Try to find interactive resources, which keep the students on their toes and interested. I have also now added Romanian subtitles to some of my resources to support those who are less confident in understandng and communicating in English. I run with the theory I learnt a lot of Romanian by seeing the subtitles as I listened to the English.
Try to keep the information current. Always try to include some of the latest ideas in your teaching. I especially like to focus on the 4Cs of teaching, communication, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. If you can find resources which include these resources, then you are onto a winner.
Finally, I always highly recommend using the http://www.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio site and the BBC bitesize webpages as a great way of making sure you always have something worth showing. Likewise, I would highly recommend you look at my second long list of great literacy links at http://www.timetoteach.co.uk as I have also researched into using free online books to support a wide range (over 50) different subjects that most ESL English teachers use.