Planning lessons can be time-consuming and frustrating. Is it really necessary to start with a blank piece of paper (or screen) each semester? How much time could be saved if developing lesson plans and learning resources was done more collaboratively?
At the 13th Wingate seminar last month, one of the guest presenters was Andy Smith, Head of Resources at TES Resources, who provided our delegates with some fascinating insights into the workings of the world’s largest networking and sharing website for teachers.
With close to 2 million members in almost 200 countries, the website was originally set up 4/5 years ago by the Times Education Supplement – a 100-year old newspaper for professionals in the teaching profession – in response to teachers’ demands for an easier way to share their resources.
The site allows teachers to upload their resources and download others for free. Currently over 140,000 teaching resources are available on the site, spanning all ages and subjects relating to K-12 schooling and beyond, including resources for whole school issues such as behaviour, professional development and special educational needs.
They aspire to be as simple to use as Google – you enter a couple of keywords and find what you’re looking for – and they reckon that on average each lesson downloaded saves 30 minutes of your planning time. This is particularly valuable for new teachers, but in the fast-changing world of education the benefits of sharing are obvious to all.
Once you download the resource you are free to adapt it for your own needs. Leaving feedback is encouraged – the more the resources are rated and peer-reviewed the more useful it is for users to find what they’re looking for.
I’d encourage any teacher to browse the site and take a look at some of the resources. Although there is a strong UK flavour, most of the content is universal and a growing number of resources are either highly visual or available in languages other than English.