Sunday, 28 September 2014

Catholic REsource: Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands

Wednesday 1st October 2014 sees the official launch of a website that I have created called Catholic REsource (If you want a sneak peek, it's already live <here>). I have personally put many, many hours into this project as I firmly believe that sometimes 'that person has to be you'. It is easy to bemoan a lack of resources or networking, but seeing what has been possible via Twitter (The Headteachers Roundtable and ResearchEd spring straight to mind), I have been inspired to make this website happen.

I have had this idea for quite a long time. It is hard to find useful resources on TES for Catholic RE and not many people use the resource sharing offered by the CES (<here>). There are a few excellent websites I use, but I saw the need for a place to bring them all together, and give RE teachers an opportunity to add their own resources to be shared by others. Support via Dioceses can vary, and through speaking to others, there appeared to be a need for something.

Last April, I then got an email at school from a fellow Catholic RE teacher, Andy McMillan, which said:

"I myself am a Catholic RE teacher and after a conversation last year with my year 11 tutor group was surprised to know that many students used YouTube for revision videos for other subjects. However, when I asked them if there were any for RS, I was disappointed to find there was a scarcity of material appropriate for the Catholic papers. So, rather than bemoan the lack of resources, I decided to do something about it and create my own, which is why I am now writing to you."

Andy has been incredibly supportive, helping provide a list of email addresses he used. Make sure you check out his videos <here>; they are brilliant!

After building the basics of the site, I wanted to get more people on board and have tried via Twitter to recruit a few people. Completely understandably, it's hard to get people to commit to too much (who has spare time in abundance as a teacher?!), and so I hope the basic infrastructure is now in place that it will be simple to just add links. People can submit resources <here> and they can quickly and easily added. The site will really only be as good as the contributions made... I add the good things I find, and I hope others can do the same.

The most time consuming activity has been trying to find email addresses of people that can help promote this site. Andy had a large number of schools on his list, but I have gone through old emails connected to TERE meetings, my Catholic School Leadership MA, friends, family... as well as all the major RE organisations, Diocese education offices including England, Wales and beyond. On Wednesday, information will be sent to nearly 900 email addresses. 

This is one of the biggest things I've attempted.

I'm very apprehensive about the outcome. It's not about me personally, although I do worry that obviously my name is well attached to the site and I don't want to be the laughing stock of Catholic RE. It's more about this idea of sharing and networking... Can we do it? Can we find the time to do it? Can we do it via a website and social networks? Maybe the answer will be no, and the very idea of that is more crushing than the wasted hours put into this.

Perhaps the revolution will begin slowly, perhaps people will appreciate the site as it is and it will make a contribution for the next year or so for Catholic RE teachers (sadly websites and resources can date quickly).

However, it could be big, and it could be a great success. This would be brilliant for the Catholic RE community. Too often anything that does happen is 'top down'. This is our opportunity, this could be our moment... 

The internet, and especially social networking sites, have enabled teachers to reach out and become part of a 'sharevolution' (S Lockyer). This site is created for Catholic RE teachers by Catholic RE teachers. There is no budget, no time set aside, no agenda, no director... just teachers inspiring and helping other teachers.

If you want to receive the launch email, or know some else who would (teacher, head, chaplain, anyone!), please let me know their emails by dropping me a line <here>.

Perhaps I'll blog next weekend with the result. Wish me luck!

Edit: 1st October was the big launch! Read the Press Release <here>


Here are the requests that will be going out in the mailing:

What can you do?
  • Please spread the word. Forward this blog to every single Catholic RE teacher you know! Please forward within your Dioceses', your school, your friends, your family. Word of mouth will help the site grow and reach even more teachers.
  • Please sign up to our mailing list, join our Facebook page and follow our Twitter account
  • Please send us links to your best Catholic RE resources. We don't host (as that's expensive and we have no money!) so please use a site such as DropBox, GoogleDrive, Sky Drive and TES resources to upload and then send us the link. Please send links via this page <here> 
  • Please join the RC Dropbox - there are already 60 teachers sharing resources <here>.
  • Please consider helping edit the site. As it grows, we'll need people to help edit, add and tidy the site (only two of us so far!). We use a GoogleSites format. Let us know <here>.
  • Please consider supporting or endorsing the site. We'd love to add a few logos to the site of people/organisations that recommend us.
  • Please hit comment (or email) and give some feedback...

No comments:

Post a Comment