The Microsoft Innovative Teachers Network (or ITN between us friends!) has been available since 2005 and I know that those teachers that have embraced it have produced some excellent resources, and gained valuable experiences and knowledge to develop their own teaching. But, the real value of what the ITN has to offer is the opportunity to discover ‘HOW and WHY’ those resources were created. As you will have not only access to to free resources but be able to discuss with the creators and share yours thoughts and ideas with a like minded commnuity, and it is this that makes the Innovative Teachers Network more just another bank of online free teaching resources.
The main focus for the ITN has become to support teachers’ own professional development and the site does this through linking communities, and sharing teaching content.
But before I dive into what it is, it helps to think about the title Innovative Teachers Network. What does it mean to you and I?
Let me start with Network - which in this case is nothing to do with computers or a website, but the connections between people and organisations. The ITN site is the tool through which these connections are made. For example, the ITN site has partners such as FutureLab, Local Authorities and schools, as well as award winning teachers, - and you get access to their work and advice through the site.
Is the site just for Teachers? The answer is ‘no’, and anybody who wants to develop their knowledge and skills in using technology with pupils and students could find the Innovative Teachers Network useful.
I think about Innovation as anybody moving forward with their approach to technology in classroom. Not just doing something nobody else is doing, but changing and developing how you use technology to enhance and support the learning of your students. So if you started by never using PowerPoint in your lessons, and now use it , then you have displayed ‘innovation’. This the ‘Learner’ stage, the challenge is to continue and develop that process. To the ‘Creator’ stage. In this stage you create your idea in a Virtual Classroom Tour. The communities on the ITN site can help you with this. Finally, you share your work publicly, by posting it to the ITN site, so that others can use it to develop their use of technology in the classroom, this is the ‘Developer’ stage. The whole experience, if it has been anything like mine, will encourage you to want to develop further, so you become a ‘Learner’. The model forms the basis of the Innovative Teachers Programme. By logging on to the Innovative Teachers Network site, you will be able to see how other teachers, schools and local authorities are adopting and adapting the model to suit their needs.
*If you are accessing the Innovative Teachers Network for the first time you will need to register, this is completely free and will you give access to huge variety of resources and information.