Which websites should teachers be aware of to help them with their professional development?
Teachers often ask me for website references online or on my teacher-travels, so I’ve decided to list a number of the sites that I regularly visit in order to bring them all into one place. I hope the sites listed offer one or two new sources of inspiration to you. If there are any critical ones missing, please leave them in the comments section…
To make it easier to search, below is an index of the website topics in descending order:
- General education reading
- Teacher wellbeing
- Cognitive science
- Edtech tools
- Social media tools
- Freelancing tools
- Education publishers
- Subject knowledge for teachers
- Audible is a great way to access books on the move. If you sign up, you can access a free eBook for trial period and then opt into the membership scheme and download one a month. I’ve managed to get through a book on my travels, once a month.
- I used to write for The Guardian Teacher Network in 2011-2014, but then my website became so popular, I decided to just write there. Ten years on, the GTN publishes a wide variety of content, resources and masterclasses – if only they offered more for teachers.
- A relatively young newspaper, SchoolsWeek has a fantastic website and has already been known to publish a coup or shape national policy. It’s my go-to newspaper on most education matters.
- Huffington Post offers a good range of voices and education news, although is hard to find the latest post and a dedicated education source of content.
- The TES doesn’t really need a mention. I suspect you have already read an article or two on their site…
- UKEdChat has been supporting the education community for many years. First established via Twitter, ukedchat now publishes a magazine, a jobs-service and countless other services – too many to mention!
- FFT Education Datalab launched in 2015 and is a powerful non-for profit company, with a group of expert analysts who produce independent, cutting-edge research on education policy and practice. They often share powerful data which informs national policy – this is a must one-stop-shop for all school leaders.
- Tableau Public is a great platform – and free software – that can allow anyone to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive. You can access all of the latest school inspection data. There are some fantastic visuals here, but you will need to dig deep to find specific ones on education.
- Pocket is a fabulous app for saving articles to read. The tool downloads all of the data, perfect for reading ‘underground’, on a plane or when you have no signal. For my new book, I had over 300 articles saved, knowing that I was going to re-visit them all in due course. You will need to learn how to live with the notifications on your screen …
- Instead of reading, you may prefer to write? CreateSpace is a platform for individuals to self publish their books and reach millions of readers on Amazon. it’s been on my to do list for some time…
- The Chartered College of Teaching offers a superb way in for teachers to access research. It makes the membership fee worth every penny.
- The Teaching and Learning Toolkit offered by the Education Endowment Foundation is gold-dust for teachers. On my travels, I’m surprised how few people are aware of this UK research. This toolkit offers a wide range of research projects. the costs, evidence strength and impact on pupils.
- Research at the Department for Education is published regularly, with publications and invitations to tender for new research projects. I’ve set up an email alert so that I received all updates as soon as they are made public. This is a useful thing to do for school leaders and those serious about education research.
- ResearchGate is a fabulous forum to connect with teacher-research and academics across the world. You can connect with other people, subscribe to their research updates and have a professional conversation. Ideal for those who want to move away from the binary discussions found on Twitter…
- Evidence-Based Education is a website designed to reduce teacher workload and improve student outcomes. They have a number of resources, podcasts and training available.
- Mendeley is a great platform for sources, references and citations. If I find anything worth reading or using in my own research, this is a great tool for saving and filing.
- Google Scholar – it’s free and a perfect tool for teachers to start using for research. If you learn the power of advanced searching, you can really narrow your results.
- ResearchED is well-established in England and is growing across the world. They have their fourth research-magazine in print and it’s something to access and keep an eye on …
- BELMAS, or the British Educational Leadership and Educational Research Society is a forum for those interested in research and school leadership. The network is 45 years old and is established in 75 countries. BELMAS was the first organisation I was invited to attend when I started to get serious about education-research in 2012.
- Finally, and I could have listed many more, BERA (British Educational Research Association) is a membership association and learned society committed to advancing research quality, building research capacity and fostering research engagement.
- The Education Support Partnership is a terrific charity, offering a team of qualified teachers and counsellors on the end of the phone to provide support for all teachers. The also conduct excellent research in the field of teacher workload and wellbeing and have some powerful data behind the scenes.
- YoungMinds, a leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health provides support for schools to help improve the emotional wellbeing of your teachers.
- I started using the LearningScientists.org website many tears ago as a deputy headteacher. It developed me personally as well as having an impact on the teaching communities I led. They are my number one go-to-website for translating complex, scientific ideas into practical advice for teachers.
- RetrievalPractice.org is a new discovery for me, offering ideas and resources for teachers, explaining how to use research-based strategies to improve learning. The website was created by Professor Pooja K. Agarwal. There are some serious resources on this site!
- CultOfPedagogy by Jennifer Gonzalez is something I’ve dipped in and out of over the last 2 years. Jennifer offers a wide range of resources, podcasts and videos.
- Screncastify is a free screen recorder extension for Google Chrome web browser. It allows you to capture, edit and share screencasts and share ideas, animations of presentations or feedback for students. No software download required!
- Screencast-O-Matic is another free and easy-to-use screen recorder, you can capture any area of your screen with the option to add narration from your microphone and video from your webcam.
- Poll Everywhere – I have been using the software for two years during the time I have been training teachers across the world. It is a vital tool to gain feedback, but it also serves as a great means to gather feedback in school assemblies, classrooms and in school lead teacher training. I’d be lost without it …
- Shutterstock has been providing me with high-quality photographs on my website for at least five years. this allows me to find unique content, which is of high quality and copyright protected. A perfect solution for professional bloggers…
- Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform puts your audience at the heart of your marketing. If you have a large audience, or simply need to email over 100 people all at once, Mailchimp offers a useful solution at an affordable price. I believe this is a great way for schools to remain in contact with all of their parents and analyse the data, without having to waste £1,000s on paper newsletters being sent home and trashed down the high street …
- Amazon Associates allow users to create links and customers click through those links and buy products from Amazon. I’ve been using Amazon Associates for several years now, sharing other people’s books and ideas and being rewarded for doing so.
- I have been writing on this website for over 10 years, and am a published author of six years with my six book due to be published in a couple of months. I’ve been using Grammarly for about two years, and although I do not rely on it heavily, it is an essential plug-in for checking documents and detailed pieces of writing when you become too close to the content itself and you need a fresh pair of eyes. Even though I have my dictionary on my table, we all need a bit of help from time to time …
- WeTransfer is the perfect platform for sharing large online files to another person over the web. Perfect for videos, photographs and large folders and files, you can personalise your page and receive notifications when another person download your documents.
Social Media tools
- IFTTT (or If This Then That) is a brilliant coding platform which allows individuals to create applets. I have not yet reached that stage, however, I am using everyone else’s which allows me to work very smart. The rationale is that you connect different platforms and then let the algorithms do the work for you. For example, if I share a photograph on Instagram, I could use an applet to automate the photograph to be automatically shared on my Twitter profile. There are sound and others to help save you time…
- Social Rank is a useful piece of software to find and analyse your audience. although the usual platforms offer you some insights, Social Rank offers a paid-for and free service where you can actually filter the content to find specific data.
- I’ve been using Buffer for at least five years and it has allowed me to get on with my life, scheduling social media updates to several platforms with the click of a button. The analytics allows you to click and drag and re-share popular content, and this has been a critical tool for me online through Twitter to allow me to get on with my day-to-day business. They offer a blog service which provides valuable insights and tips.
- Saving Twitter videos is not only a fun thing to do, but it might be something that you’ve struggled with when you find popular content and you wish to re-share it or save it for a resource in your day-to-day work. With so much content online, this is a great tool to download video shared on Twitter…
- Periscope allows users to share ‘live’ videos, something I. have been doing for at least two years to connect with my audience and allow them to interact with me as I share information. I’d be lost without it and my audience on Twitter will be familiar with my Sunday evening live stream videos…
- If you find yourself having to sign documents electronically, then you may have already used DocuSign. Working with so many people around the world, using this has allowed me to create my own terms and conditions to secure work as a freelancer. It’s another necessary tool in my day-to-day life and for a small cost, is worth every penny for job security.
- QuickBooks – I’m new to this piece of software, but it is a vital tool for teachers who are being asked to write or speak at events and need a professional piece of software to raise invoices. I now use every day…
- Sick of collecting receipts? I am! Receipt Bank allows individuals to take a photograph of receipts and then upload the image online and synchronise to an accounting piece of software (such as QuickBooks above). the data synchronises and starts to automate outgoings and incoming cash flow.
- Speakpipe – this software allows people online, or by email to leave you a voicemail. It saves users time, having to write an email when the same information can be left in an online voicemail between users. I’ve been using it for years and my website and it’s how most people get in touch with me…
- Streak – is a content resource management (CRM) piece of software which plugs into your Gmail email account. it saves me countless hours, sharing the same messages to website readers, allow me to personalise each message and adapt it to suit the context of the message. I’ve only been using it for about one month and I have already seen a huge change in my behaviours…
- I am new to Calendy and have already discovered the benefits – it’s a great tool for organising appointments and meetings. I log in and I allocate which times I would be available for a face-to-face meeting or for a phone call. I then add the hyperlink to my email signature or in various other plug-ins and then this allows the individual to choose a time which best suits them. This cuts out lots of the email to and fro organising a time to catch up.
- Google Hangouts – is a communication platform for messaging, video chat and for audio and photo sharing. I’ve never tried it, but you can have group conversations with up to 150 people and free video calls with 10 colleagues. I started to experiment using it for teacher training online …
- Google Meet is a video conferencing app, which requires you to dial a phone number and is great for users with a slow or unreliable Internet connection. However, you need to be a G suite member to build to do this. what I like about it the most, is that I can open up a meeting and leave it online all day, and as various people want to talk to me, I just give them access to the link. This is great for hot-desking on the move, or for people who need to speak with lots of people through the web.
- I’m surprised to discover so many people haven’t heard or don’t use Eventbrite! Great for sharing your own free or paid events, the beauty of this tool is that it collects email addresses so that you can communicate with everyone who signs up in one place. The software generates ticket sales and does all of the online finance management for you.
- It’s worth mentioning PayPal just because of its sheer brilliance to allow you and I to make additional income whilst we sleep. I’ve been using it to pay bills, to transfer and receive money, as well as make the resources section on this website functional to the thousands of readers I have around the world.
- WiseStamp is an email signature generator which provides users with an email signature which can be personalised and automatically synchronises with your devices.
- If you’re into a bit of marketing, StickerApp offers a lovely sticker service to put your logo on. There are many others you can use …
- TouchNote is a mobile app for smartphones, tablets and website for sending printed, personalized postcards, greeting cards and other photo products. I try to take a photograph when I visit a school, and a month or two later post a card to say ‘thank you’.
- Trello! I would be lost without this piece of software, which helps me manage contracts, to-do lists and pretty much everything else. Even if you are not a freelancer, it’s a brilliant tool for teachers to use to help get organised.
- GDrive (or GSuite) as a perfect online solution for storing files and pretty much everything else. the beauty of it is, is that I no longer need to carry a USB around with me and that if I need to share a file, I don’t even need to download it! I can just share the hyperlink and provide the end- user with a view, comment or edit access hyperlink.
- Bloomsbury Publishing has an excellent education department which offers a fantastic range of teaching books. I’ve been lucky enough to have four books published with these international giants.
- Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge, printing academic journals, ebooks and educational books.
- The second largest and oldest after CUP, Oxford University Press publish a vast range of education books. They also have an education research forum which is worth joining…
- John Catt has been around for at least 50 years but has an increasing audience on social media, particularly with new teacher-authors. At the time of writing, I’ve been lucky enough to have co-authored two books with a third in the pipeline.
- Crown House Publishing is a rapidly growing publishing house specialising in the areas of Education – they publish beautiful books!
- SAGE is a worldwide organisation which publishes fantastic articles and journals in education.
- Routledge is a British multinational publisher, specialising in academic books, journals and online resources in education.
- GL Assessment, best known for the assessments they provide schools and the essential data required for schools to better understanding your pupils, GLA also reports and case studies which, in my opinion, is some of the most valuable datasets and research insights British educators should know about.
It goes without saying, that all teachers should follow their subject associations and relevant examination boards to keep up to date with the latest research on curriculum and assessment. I’ve added my own subject specialism as an example.
- DATA are a membership organisation providing advice, support and training for those involved in teaching design, engineering and technology.
- The IET is a world leading professional organisation. They inspire, inform and influence the global engineering and technology community to engineer a better. Why not access their research journals and books?
- STEM.org offers a brief historical background to STEM, particularly design and technology teaching in England. Do you know your subject specialism and its historical journey in the curriculum?
- The Department for Education in England publishes the national curriculum programmes of study for design and technology programmes of study at key stage three (4-14 years old). Do you have immediate access to your subject equivalent?
This is a list of the websites that I regularly visit. I’m sure you will have yours, so if you think there is something essential that other teachers need to know about that could be missing from the above list, please comment below and I’ll make it public for everyone to access.
I hope you found something new!