ITTE Computing/Keeping Up to Date

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Keeping up to date is a concern for all tutors. Government departments and agencies and professional associations have informative websites and publications but looking for the latest information on each of them is time consuming. There is a range of alerting services that will relieve your burden and bring the information to your computer. These include email alerts, e-newsletters and magazines, and RSS (really simple syndication) feeds. In addition, email lists and forums can be useful for exchanging views and interpretations of new developments and their implications for your work.

Here is a selection of alerting services that ICT tutors have found useful. Some of these cover educational issues in general, whilst others focus on ICT in education. Which will be the most suitable for you will depend on your personal interests and preferences. Try just two or three in the first instance to see if they suit your needs. You can always unsubscribe and try different ones at a later date.

Most of the services are freely available but some are only available to paying subscribers.

Information from UK Government sources[edit]

Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) The UK government Department for Children, Schools and Families provides a fortnightly email news service that brings all the latest news and guidance into your inbox. An archive of previous news emails is also available.

Go to DCSF news emails

You can also receive limited DCSF information via RSS feeds. There are feeds for the latest press notices on all subjects, latest speeches and a speeches podcast.

DCSF RSS Feeds[edit]

There is no charge for these services.

British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) Becta is the government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning in the UK. Becta provides access to a wide range of information of interest to educators. You can automatically receive all the latest information from Becta’s Schools website by signing up to receive their quarterly newsletter.

Becta Schools Newsletter[edit]

If you want to keep up to date with technical developments, you can subscribe to TechNews, a half-termly news and analysis service. Becta develops and disseminates research evidence on emerging technologies and the impact of ICT in education. The ICT Research Network is a free email list enabling information exchange between everyone interested in ICT in education.

Go to Becta TechNews & ICT Research Network

There is no charge for any of these Becta services.

TeacherNet[edit]

This UK government portal is for professionals involved in educating children and young people. You can personalise the site to help you find items of interest more quickly. There is an email reminder service to alert you when the monthly Primary Teachers/Secondary Teachers e-magazine is published. RSS feeds to the latest government funded publications are available to registered users. You can also register on this portal to receive the DCSF news emails and to join in on-line discussions.

Go to Teachernet

These services are provided free of charge.

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)[edit]

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority maintains and develops the national curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations in England. Its website is the authoritative source for information on these matters and includes practical guidance for educators on implementing them in schools. You can sign up here to receive free notification about significant updates and additions to QCA's website content on a regular monthly basis.

Go to QCA

This service is provided free of charge.

Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) Ofsted inspects and regulates the care of children and young people, and the quality of education and training for learners of all ages in England. The website includes Inspection reports, themed and subject specific findings and recommendations on wider issues within the care, learning, and skills agenda, as well as statistical information and the latest inspection guidance documents. Subscribe to the Ofsted e-mail alerts service and you will be notified every time a new issue of their e-magazine, Ofsted news, is published.

Go to Ofsted News

This service is provided free of charge.

Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA)[edit]

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is the national agency responsible for the training and development of the workforce in English Schools. Its website includes information on ways of getting into teaching, professional standards and training opportunities for teachers, support staff and school leaders. The Agency publishes tdaNews, a monthly e-newsletter that includes information on a wide range of TDA activities, for example, initiatives, funding matters, consultations, events and publications. It also provides a number of RSS feeds that enable you to keep up to date with news and changes to the website.

Go to tdanews

TDA RSS feeds

Both of these services are free of charge.

Teachers TV[edit]

Teachers TV programmes cover all key stages, all subjects in the curriculum, themes such as behaviour management and CPD for every professional role – from teaching assistant to headteacher. The programmes are available anytime, on-demand and for free on the Teachers TV website. Many of them can be downloaded and edited to suit your teaching needs.

Teachers TV offers RSS feeds related to content that is of interest to you. By subscribing to a feed, you will receive the relevant programme information as soon as it becomes available. In addition to RSS feeds, Teachers TV offers a weekly news programme via podcast, so you can get the latest education news delivered directly to your desktop.

Go to Teachers TV RSS and Podcasts

These Teachers TV services are free of charge.

Teacher Training Resource Bank (TTRB)[edit]

The TTRB provides web access to the research & evidence base informing teacher education. All materials are quality assured through a rigorous process of academic scrutiny and monitoring undertaken by a team of expert teacher educators. An e-librarian service is available to registered users, allowing them to send a question to the e-librarian and receive an individual response. Registered users can sign up for email alerts when the termly issue of the TTRB newsletter is published.

Go to TTRB

The email alert and e-librarian services are free of charge.

E-learning organisations

Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (ITTE)[edit]

ITTE is a professional association for teacher educators who provide initial teacher education and continuing professional development in ICT. Members can choose to join the email list and the forums to exchange ideas and opinions and contribute to consultations.

These services are included in the association membership fee. There are four categories of membership but UK tutors are most likely to be an institutional member (£80 per year), in which case they share publications with other colleagues in their institution, or an individual from a member institution (£45 per year), if they wish to have their own copies. Prices correct as at November 2008.

Go to ITTE

For details of other member benefits see Support Associations

MirandaNet Fellowship[edit]

The Mirandanet Fellowship is an international e-community for people who are passionate about digital technology in teaching and learning and about using technologies to promote cultural understanding and democratic participation. Members receive the MirandaNet monthly e-newsletter and a monthly email listing of forthcoming national and international conferences. They also have access to an email list and forums to share ideas.

Go toMirandaNet

Membership is free and tutors can choose to join as a member, scholar or fellow, depending on their commitment and compliance with the conditions for each category.

Naace[edit]

Naace is a professional association aimed at people concerned with advancing education through the appropriate use of ICT. It provides information, resources, support and guidance to members, sponsoring partners and UK government departments on ICT in education, together with networking and professional development opportunities. Members receive a fortnightly e-newsletter to keep them up to date with current developments. In addition, they have access to online services, including Naace communities, for which an RSS feed is available, and the email list, both of which enable members to share ideas and expertise. Another online service, the Naace Knowledge wiki, allows members to contribute to a working knowledge base on themes of interest and current consultations.

Go to Naace

These services are included in the annual subscription. There are eight categories of membership, of which the most relevant to ICT tutors are the Member (£100 per year), or Group membership (varying costs per institution, depending on the number of members in the group, e.g. £270 for 3 members). Tutors may also wish to alert their trainees to the Student membership category (£10). Prices correct as at November 2008.

Ictopus[edit]

Ictopus (ICT online primary user support) is a free support service for primary education, which was launched in September 2007. Each week registered members of the service have access to a six page printable magazine (Sharing Good Practice) and a set of activity suggestions (lessons2go). These and other resources are available from the web archive and members can opt to receive alerts offering a one-click download service for each item.

Go to Ictopus

Registration is free.

Other sources

BBC Schools[edit]

The BBC Schools Newsletter brings together the educational highlights from across the whole of the BBC website to keep you up to date with the latest developments and services. It is emailed monthly to your inbox when you subscribe.

Go to BBC Schools Newsletter

This service is provided free of charge.

School Zone[edit]

Schoolzone provides access to educational resources, surveys, evaluations and research. Registered users receive the monthly education update and can select RSS news feeds and podcasts by following the link from the Home page to ‘More news and commentary’.

Go to schoolzone newsletter

This service is provided free of charge.

Education on the Internet[edit]

Spartacus Educational publishes a weekly newsletter for Education on the Internet. The newsletter includes news, reviews of websites and current, topical articles on using ICT in the classroom. Members of the mailing list are invited to submit information for inclusion in future newsletters and can join in seminars on line, expressing their views and opinions on a range of issues.

Go to Education on the Internet

This service is provided free of charge.

Free Pint[edit]

FreePint is a twice-monthly email newsletter, packed with tips on using the Internet for serious research. The web site houses a range of resources, including the newsletter archive and the Bar. This is where you can post your tricky research questions and get free help from other FreePinters. If you don't have time to visit the Bar regularly then sign up for the Bar Digests and have the latest postings emailed to you twice a week.

Go to Free Pint

This service is provided free of charge.

Futurelab[edit]

Exploiting the potential offered by digital and other technologies, Futurelab investigates, researches and disseminates innovative resources and practices that support new approaches to learning. You can keep up to date with their work and findings by subscribing to an RSS news feed or registering to receive their monthly e-newsletter and alerts for project updates and themed collections.

Go to Futurelab news

This service is provded free of charge.

The Innovation Unit[edit]

The Innovation Unit is devoted to stimulating, incubating and accelerating innovation to achieve transformed services with better outcomes for citizens. It offers a range of RSS feeds so that you can get the latest web postings, an e-newsletter for the Next Practice projects and the opportunity to join the general Community of Practice. The Innovation Unit was first set up by DfES in 2002 but has been a not-for-profit, independent organisation since 2006.

Go to The Innovation Unit

The Innovation Unit provides these services free of charge.

Education Guardian[edit]

The UK newspaper, The Guardian, provides an RSS feed to its education website so that you can keep in touch with what is in the news.

Go to Education Guardian

This service is provided free of charge.

Original authors: Georgina Stein and Nyree Scott (2005)

Revised and updated: Margaret Danby (November 2008)

author: Margaret Danby