We are back! With the unrelenting support of #TeamEnglish, #MTPTProject, Martyn Reah of #teacher5aday fame and a few other wonderful human beings that have taken the patience to try to teach an old dog rather complicated new tricks that were way out of her depth on both capability and attention span, not to mention Grianne Hallahan, Amy Forrester and Sarah Barker who have cheerled me through the last few months, here we are. The website launches 1st August and my hope is that it will provide a far more professional, organised, credited and most importantly, free service to English teachers. A few answers to questions that hit the mailbox:
Where did you go?
For a number of reasons, Litdrive needed to be unavailable whilst we worked on a better way to provide a free service. The more people that got involved, the less that Dropbox was suitable for purpose. It was costing teachers money; several departments or individuals were signing up to a monthly subscription for Dropbox to access and organise files, defeating the object of the free service that Litdrive was meant to provide. Duplicate uploads, unnamed files and a confusing categorisation system that a fantastic team worked tirelessly to correct eventually proved a nonsensical use of people’s time. I was mindful that Litdrive’s key ethos was to restore some semblance of balance to people’s workloads, and it wasn’t doing that for me or the lovely humans that had offered to give me a hand. Not only was it failing to provide the service that I had originally intended, it was failing to meet its own objective. We needed a step back to pause before taking this exciting step forward.
How will it work?
The Litdrive website will hopefully work in a more efficient way to provide a free service to English teachers. Members will sign up and be able to upload their own resources, as well as download the resources of others. By logging resources yourself as a member, you are responsible for ensuring that they do not contain copyright material, and that any relevant parties are credited. Don’t let that put you off uploading material- in the same vein, those that notice their resource, please email through with the link and we will happily edit the description to credit you immediately- Litdrive’s key aim is to empower others through the process of collaboration! There will be a blog spot for willing volunteers to share their strategies or experiences, a CPD area for professional development opportunities but above all else, heaps and heaps of free resources to use in your classrooms.
Please do consider that this is a free service, set up by teachers in their spare time in a bid to try and create something brilliant for the Team English community; it is far from a slick, ICT wonder that we aim to work towards. In the same way, it has become impossible to answer all emails, queries or explain to those sending through resources to be uploaded. I’m hoping this blog helps to answer most questions but I am reliant on word of mouth above all else. Please share, talk, tweet! It really does save man power time that can be spent uploading resources.
What will be the easiest way for me to share all my stuff?
You simply upload your own resources to share! The site accepts most file types. Because of technological restrictions, multiple files are a bit tougher; if you have a scheme of work, it’s best to upload as one giant ppt if poss, or alternatively, you can upload a zipped folder for a resource that contains several files. Not confident with zipping? It’s easy as pie. Select all files in your storage area on your PC, right click and select ‘send to.’ Select compressed file (or zip file, or a zip folder icon). Done!
For ease of crediting/ knowing who to say thank you to, it may be worthwhile to pick a really clear file name followed by your initials.
There’s a donation button- how come?
For those that have had to endure my frustrations/tears/rage, they will tell you that the last couple of months have been a significant learning curve. One look at my blog will give you a mild indication of how capable I am when it comes to ICT; Litdrive is 68.4% stubbornness! The eventual aim is to carry Litdrive as a non-for-profit organisation but until then, I have paid and will pay for the maintenance and development of the website, and dedicate time to the monitoring and quality assurance of material contributed. Litdrive took a team of peoples’ time and to move forward, I am very aware that it would be valuable to be able to pay specialised teachers to quality assure the standard of our resources, maintain a newsletter and other interesting ways that we can progress as a collaborative enterprise.
Our shared money pool is just here for when you cancel that Dropbox fee!
The donation money pool usage will be transparent and all withdrawals publicly announced with an outline of what the funds have paid for. I do have a figure already outlined that I have paid for initial set up and operation costs. During the development process to set up the website, I had several offers of sponsorship but again, I wanted to be consistent in keeping the ethos of Litdrive as ‘by teachers for teachers.’ Donations from teachers instead of weighty Dropbox charges seemed to be the most logical approach to fund the costs to set up the website, develop a download database and justify the time to take to upload resources- this isn’t about profit, but about running a cooperative; teachers taking ownership of our own development. Litdrive is a baby teacher-made monster for the beast that I want it to become! Which brings us nicely onto..
What happened to all the stuff already on Litdrive?
I’m on it. Due to issues with some members of the previous Dropbox uploading content that couldn’t be publicly shared, or duplicate files, or obscurely named files, I now have the mammoth task of working through the resource bank, renaming and uploading resources. To my knowledge, all files to be uploaded have been shared via Twitter or sent through to the mailbox, however, if you come across something that you think does not belong on Litdrive, or is yours and you do not wish to have it available on the site, please do pop a note in the ‘contact us’ section and we’ll get it removed for you. If I had waited to do this before launching the website, I’m unconvinced that I would still be teaching and perhaps sunning myself on a SAGA cruise! Following numerous testimonials (of which there are only a slither currently uploaded to the site, also on my to-do), feedback was generally along the lines of, ‘save my summer, I need Litdrive back to share stuff with people.’ So, here we are.
Where is it?
The website address is http://www.litdrive.org.uk with a nifty countdown for you to keep you in the loop for launch day; I have also set up a Facebook group (LitdriveUK) here ; I rarely use Facebook but am aware that it creates an alternative outlet for people to share details of their own finds/pleas/uploads.
In the meantime, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions/comments or feedback you may have, or alternatively, if you fancy being one of our first guest bloggers, please do drop me a line with a rough outline of your topic of choice. See you on the 1st!