Appendix 2: Examples of useful websites
Providers of Web resources for teachers do so for a range of purposes. Some sites are professional such as subject associations sharing knowledge between professionals, others explicitly support government policy so advice may be changed or withdrawn on ideological grounds, and others are designed to sell you products. The list below includes websites from:
- professional associations, teaching councils and unions;
- charities and university research centres and social enterprises;
- government-funded organisations; and
- private companies.
For the most part, we have excluded websites apparently linked with just one individual. Exceptions are where the individuals have clearly researched and published widely in the area.
There are formal and informal networks on various social media sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
You are advised to check the reliability of any advice – on the Web or in print. For teaching to be an evidence-informed profession, teachers need to know the strength of evidence for any pedagogical intervention. By strength of evidence, we mean:
- Methods and ethics: Has the advice been gathered by ethical (see the BERA ethical code, www.bera.ac.uk) and reliable research methods (see Unit 5.4 and Patterson’s MESHGuides)? Usual research instruments are interviews, questionnaires, documentary analysis and observation, but there is huge variation of options within each instrument.
- Independence: Were the researchers independent? Who funded the research? Were researchers free to publish adverse findings?
- Quality assurance: Has the advice been independently peer-reviewed? Peer review, by an independent panel of educators, is the normal form of quality assurance used for professional association and professional journal sites. Materials from other sites may or may not be peer reviewed.
- Sample: What is the size and type of the sample used to provide the evidence? What confidence does this give you in the results?
- Transferability: How transferable is the advice likely to be? How similar is the research context to your context? This is not at all to say you reject research and evidence from contexts different to your own, but just that you need to bring your professional judgement to bear in applying the findings. Teachers in many countries face similar challenges in maximising the learning of young people and there is a lot to learn from solutions elsewhere.
For an up-to-date list, see www.meshguides.org/website_list/. To submit websites for inclusion, email [email protected]. The MESH initiative is run by an educational charity and teacher volunteers to give teachers quick access to research summaries and tools and resources to support teaching becoming an evidence-informed profession. To become involved, see the ‘Get Involved’ tab on www.meshguides.org.
All websites listed here were accessed on 10 August 2015.
Further information is given only where it is not obvious what the website offers.
The list starts with generic websites followed by a list of sites grouped alphabetically by theme (e.g. Behaviour, Neuroscience, Subject Associations, Unions).