We have been talking to schools and teachers all over England, Scotland and Wales about the Innovative Teachers Network. We've been recruiting new members and working with teachers and partners to start new communities and post new content that we hope will be useful to all of you when you're teaching with technology.
One of the things we've been reminded of during our conversations with teachers is just how little free time you have. We both knew this, of course, having been teachers. But when you're in a job where you can go to the loo whenever you want and on most days have more than 10 minutes to cram down your lunch, it's easy to forget some of the restrictions you faced as a teacher every day.
We also know that many of you are required to log on to your school or authority's virtual learning environment each morning, and that you seldom go to any sites other than that during the day. (For those of you in Scotland, this will soon be GLOW, if it isn't already.) You may be restricted as to which sites you can search on the Internet while at school, thus limiting your search for lesson plans or learning activities you can use with your students. (Of course, this is assuming that you actually have time while at school to do any planning for future lessons...)
Taking all of this into account, we've created a Web part of the Innovative Teachers Network itself, which can fit into any SharePoint-based virtual learning environment. This enables you to log in to the ITN and search for resources, communities or professional development without leaving your VLE. (Here's what it will look like in your VLE.)
This Web part is available FREE, of course, and it can be downloaded from our partner Hunterstone's site HERE. You're going to have to contact your IT director or other person in charge of IT to make this happen, but Hunterstone has very kindly agreed to support them in this installation if they run in to any problems.
We hope this will make it easier for you to access the resources, communities, discussions and other teachers on the ITN that we talk about all the time. Let us know if your school or authority decides to use it.
NOTE: If you show this to your IT director and they are unable to download the Web part from Hunterstone's web site for whatever reason, we can send it to you on a memory stick. Please have them contact Stuart or me directly to request this.