First, we stopped the frequent and annoying timeouts by creating a 'Remember me' function. It makes my life a little bit easier, I hope you're experiencinh the same relief as me.
Second, today we started publishing the upload dates on the worksheet pages. It's sort of a basic info that I think is nice to show.
Third, Bence was kind enough to a thin lining or frame around the worksheet previews. We thought it would make it easier for your eyes to scan through the previews. Let us know what you think about it. We're interested to hear your views.
I'm soon planning to post the actual mathematical formula that we use, in case some of you are interested.
Also, we made a little tweak to make the old comments notification button on the top disappear for uploaders.
Having launched in September 2009, it took us a little more than 6 months to get here by virtue of your generous contributions.
We keep rolling out new functions as our time allows, we have tons of ideas about how to further improve this service. What I'm happy to announce is that the next big thing is going to be the soon-to-launch German version of iSLCollective. Can't wait to see it.
So thanks, everyone!
I figure you might get in a similar situation if you're an author, so I just want to let you know that you can now more easily share your portfolio with others.
We kept the registration requirement for the actual downloads of worksheets. Hope you'll like this new feature, too.
Another piece of good news is that we've been finishing some new developments that has been going behind the curtains for months. Here's one thing we did:
If you upload a file, it will be even more clearly stated which Creative Commons license you applied to the worksheet and who the licenser (owner) is. You can find it under the worksheet preview on the worksheet's page, e.g.:
"This file is licensed by ag23 under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License license."
For the sake of convenience, we also provided a link to the description of the license on the Creative Commons website.
I've been promising a platform for German (DAF) language teachers. Now here it comes.
If you click on the German flag on the top, you'll get to a different database, including only German worksheets and the members of the German site.
If you're not a member there, you just need to click an OK button that pops up when you try to download on the German site.
There's only a couple worksheets as of now, but I hope we can soon fill it up together soon.
Enjoy it, and pls spread the news among daf teacher colleagues of yours.
I think it makes it more unambiguous and clear where you are browsing at any given moment.
We're in the process of changing our top rated listing algorithm, and the diplay. Now we can see the full top list of top rated authors listing if you click on View All on the Members page.
I'm just writing just so you know that the top list will be unreliable while we're coding the new system.
We've made another step forward today. From now on, you can also upload your powerpoint presentations. Both .ppt and .pptx are supported. The preview is gonna be an 'standing' extract of first page. We chose the standing preview to have a universal preview for both landscape and standing layouts.
I hope you'll like this new feature.
Now the site loads a couple of times faster in Hungary than it used to. I hope you will find the same thing in your country, too and have a better using experience.
We'd appreciate some feedback from our regular users whether loading times indeed got shorter.
Clicking the next page still works on the Most Recent, Most Downloaded, Top Rated and Being Viewed pages, though.
Many thanks for all the great work, time and effort you're giving to this site to help us.
And congratulations - in advance - on the third branch of ISLCollective.. (^^,)..
I dream of you announcing your Arabic platform (o^^o)..
DT - Fatma
I want to highlight one thing in particular, that I can't stress often enough:
"It's nice to say 'Thank you!' when you download something. There are real people behind each worksheet who had worked hours to give you what you needed for tomorrow's class. I know you might be in a rush but clicking the "Thank you" button right under the download button takes only a sec. So, please, it means a lot to us to see we are appreciated, and not just being used."
Well, starting from now, I shall thank before downloading the worksheet.
So many thanks to all those who shared their work and I forget to thank them.
I just want to know if you have any ideas for using drama in the classroom. In fact I wonder if there are any sites with short plays related to real life situations which our efl students live everyday.
We ´re soon launching iSLCollective.com in Russian and French, and we need one more admin on each site who would help out in moderating the site, doing some small translations, and being our partner in building an international Russian teachers ´ teaching material sharing community. It ´s a very relaxed task, requiring max. 5-10 minutes a weekday (there ´s two admins for each language, so the work is shared). Is anybody interested?
We've done away with the 5 star rating system of worksheets, because it was used by virtually no one, so it made very little sense to keep it. Instead, we've ed a "Like" button. From now on, you no longer have to ponder on how many stars you should give, but, instead, just click "Like" to show appreciation and to vote on that worksheet.
Let me note that it is not the Facebook like button, so it's not connected to Facebook in any ways. It is our very own like button.
We keep track of the number of likes each worksheet and author receives and it'll be the basis of one of our worksheet toplists, plus the new top lists in the Members section. The Members page is still being redesigned. I'll let you know when the final version is finished.
I hope you'll like these new features. It'd be nice to get some feedback on how you like them.
we have very few incidents with our users uploading worksheets made by others, since the site is all free and we give no incentive for anyone to upload others' stuff. Today, however, was a day when I had to issue a first warning to someone for copyright infringement. Our site rules say that on the second warning for infringement, the infringing member's account will be removed. To every member: pls observe our upload rules. Read it again on the Upload page.
Have a nice day,
Today we have launched the Russian platform for teachers of Russian as a second and foreign language. The site is available at http://ru.islcollective.com. It is completely empty and is waiting for you to start filling it with teaching materials.
Thank you to all our helpers for the site translation! We tried to make sure there are no translation errors left, but if you find any remaining errors, and you are willing to help correct them, please let me know and I will give you an admin pass. Then you'll be able to log in to our admin platform and do the corrections on your own.
The site also needs a little help with responding to forum posts, since we don't speak Russian. Until we can find one, I will respond to the Russian posts myself using an online translator, so you'd better hurry up signing up to be a site assistant or else you'll have to make do with robot translations on the Forum. :)
Enjoy sharing your teaching resources!
In the email you got from me, you see a link to our Google Docs, which is the platform we chose for collaboration:
> Click to open:
> Language files for translation
It will take you to the language files I've shared with you. I've posted a screenshot below for you to see what the interface should look like.
Click on any of the files that I shared. Then you will see which language items still need to be translated. You can open the file and work on it online.
After you're done, save the file.
Let me know if I should explain it clearer. I'm glad to give more instructions.
Like I had said before, we are full of ideas about cool new functions to develop for iSLCollective. In fact, we have way more ideas than we have capacity to actually create. So we decided to ask you guys what you would like to get first.
We embedded an online poll on the right to listen to your ideas about which new features you would like to see on the Internet Second Language Collective. We'll continue the development with the features most of you guys will suggest.
You can vote on multiple items if you want. I tried to phrase the items on the list as clearly and concisely as possible, but of anything's not clear. post a question on the forum and I'll clarify it more.
First, is there a way to write the person where he/she will really see your comment? If you put it where it ends up with the long string of "thank you" notes, no one will ever be likely to read your comment. Plus it becomes sort of a public criticism. Most of us would appreciate being informed of our mistakes so we can correct them.
Secondly, when we do have mistakes that we correct, is there any way to upload the same worksheet in such a way that it replaces the old one? If we upload it a second time without taking down the old one, it will really clutter up your nice worksheet.
Hi Mary, you can send a pm to let each other know about typos. I agree that we shouldn't post corrections in comments below the worksheet, since it might come off as condescending or embarrassing.
There is a button called "resubmit," which keeps the ws page, but refreshes the document. Log in, then go to the ws page, hit "Edit your ws", then you'll find the button at the bottom of the page that loads.
Today we had the 50 thousandth member sign up, Marguerita from Canada:
I hope you guys can make good use of the teaching materials you find here. Keep the "Likes" and the "Thank you's" flowing for our precious contributors. Let them know how much we appreciate their generosity.
If you’re one of the thousands of people who enjoy this site, please spread the news about us to your colleagues.
Thank you for using the site.
We're excited to announce that we are opening up iSLCollective to volunteer programmers!
We have tons of ideas about how to develop this space to serve teachers even better. But we have
only one coder to put all our ideas into practice. That's why we decided to involve You in the project.
We are looking for programmers who can code in Php and MySQL, and who are willing to contribute a
little bit of their time toward coding our planned, new functions. Besides, we are always open to your
ideas about how to improve the site.
All coding work is synchronized using the Github social coding platform. Git is an extremely fast, efficient, distributed version control system ideal for the collaborative development of software.
If you're interested in joining our open source project, please contact us at info [at] islcollective [dot] com.
Peter and the iSLCollective Team
It's been over two years since we started the site, and you guys have been great! You've filled this resource bank with almost 10,000 English worksheets, 1200 German worksheets while the French, Spanish and Russian sections are growing fast, too.
You have been helping to translate the site into many languages, most recently Portuguese and Italian. It makes us very glad to be able to provide a platform for teachers of all these languages that up till now have been lacking a place to exchange ideas and teaching materials. We're grateful to our moderators: Nellicita, Ioli6, Francereference and Sonn, for helping run the other platforms.
Most recently, we've announced that we are opening up iSLCollective to volunteer programmers! This way we allow the programmer relatives and friends of the community to actively shape the functionality of the site through contributing coding hours.
Now we're asking you to share one final aspect of running the site with us: its financing. The three of us founders have been paying for it since the beginning. In the coming months, however, we need to move on to a more powerful server and buy bigger bandwidth as the site, you probably noticed, has slowed down due to increasing visitor numbers, which we cannot afford. Therefore, we're announcing a Christmas Fundraising drive for iSLCollective.
Please chip in with a little amount to help us make the site fast again. This is meant to be a Christmas present for the site, so the fundraising ends on December 20, 2011.
You can read about the technical details of how to donate if you click on the Donate button in the right panel.
iSLCollective Portuguese has finally been launched by virtue of the online collaboration between our Portuguese members. Thanks ever so much to the translators, above all to Vanda Mata, who has contributed much of the longer texts and done a lot of proofreading, as well:
iSL buttons, messages, short texts - Zailda
FAQ - Vanda51 (Vanda Mata)
About us - Vanda51 , fernandalea
Upload Rules - Vanda51
Countries - zulmiramar
Worksheet search, levels - Vanda51
Worksheet search, skills - fernandalea, Vanda51, zulmiramar
Worksheet search, material types - zulmiramar, jsealeixandre, Vanda51
Worksheet search, student types - Vanda51, jsealeixandre
Worksheet search, vocabulary topics - rosangela.gandini, zulmiramar, jsealeixandre, Vanda51, fernandalea
isl_userlang.doc - fernandalea
iSL system emails - Vanda51
Right panel intro text - Vanda51, zulmiramar
Forum topics - zulmiramar, fernandalea
Enjoy using the platform!
If you guys are interested in creating an Italian platform, send me an email to add you to our translators' team.
I think this is a milestone for us in protecting our uploaders' copyrights. We had discussions with our moderators about copyright in recent weeks, and we seemed to all agree that there needs to be a change. We've come to the conclusion that we need to offer a license option which is stricter than Creative Commons. Here's what we came up with.
Today we are rolling out our very own copyright license option: the iSLCollective Copyright License, which will be the default option when you go to Upload. At the same time, you will still be able to select a Creative Commons copyright licensing option for your work if you want.
After weighing the pros and cons with the iSL moderators, we've also decided to switch the licenses of all the previous uploads to this new license option, since we hadn't had this option open when we had started the site, and presumably a lot of uploaders who may not have come back since would prefer this option.
In case you like the Creative Commons licenses more, you can set the worksheet license back to CC by going to each worksheet page and clicking 'Edit your ws'.
You can read a short, human-readable version of the iSL copyright license (the so-called 'Deed') at: http://en.islcollective.com/your_copyright/deed This is really just a short version, not meant to be used in court trials. The full legal text of the license, which we hope will protect your copyright in any court case in the future, can be read here: http://en.islcollective.com/your_copyright/legalcode
I copypasted the Deed here for your convenience. With the iSL copyright license:
-keep the downloaded file (the 'Work') on their PC or other private storage devices
-share the Work with a colleague in email, or share with them a photocopy of
the Work (but only if they give credit to the author and pass the Work along with this iSLCollective Copyright License - this obligation is called "Share Alike" obligation, so that the license cannot be
ignored by anyone in the future)
-adapt the Work to their group in case of classroom use, ie. in order to
correct typos, include new exercises, change the original wording, or exclude any existing parts of the Work
-link on blogs or websites to the original file hosted on iSLCollective
USERS MUST NOT:
-reupload (reshare) the Work on an online file sharing platform
-distribute (publish) the Work in a printed format, such as a book or
any collection for the public to see
-sell the Work
-share the Work with a colleague in email or in photocopied format,
without giving credit to the author or providing the license of the Work.
Please also make sure to read our disclaimer for the licenses at: http://en.islcollective.com/your_copyright/disclaimer.
I hope you will welcome the changes. The iSL Team is looking forward to getting your feedback.
Sorry if I ignored some of your emails in the past weeks, but among other things this has kept me very busy. I promise to go through my inbox soon and get back to you.
I, for one, will keep all my worksheets under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Of course blatantly copying worksheets and uploading them under your own name is forbidden. This license, however, lets other adapt worksheets to their needs (and share with others).
If you're really into sharing, this is the license to choose IMHO.
I fully agree that if you're really into sharing, this is the license to go with. But we thought it would be reasonable to provide other license options, too, to acknowledge that others might be a bit more restrictive about their contributions. That's why we now offer both CC and the new license at the same time. There's only one thing we don't offer: 'All rights reserved', which makes no sense at all on a free sharing site, because it's for people who do not want to share their work, except for money.
While it seems important to offer a broader palette of available licenses, I am open to hearing everyone's thoughts on which should be the default license. I think I will also create a poll on it and place it in the right panel.
In short, should the default license be the iSL license or Creative Commons? (The default can of course be changed before you upload a file). Please post your thoughts here.
I find it more suitable for a positive sharing spirit :)
I deeply appreciate your desire for keeping the old default license as well as PhilipR's.
Personally I prefer the 'Creative Commons', like you.
What interests me is cooperation & hand giving.
And to feel it 100%, you should be 100% generous. That's my focus.
Although it's not compulsory, and can be changed, the choice of the default license is important because, in our experience, most uploaders tend to keep the default license, so it will probably become the most widespread license type for the worksheets to be shared on iSLCollective in the future.
You can learn the basics about these copyright options here: http://en.islcollective.com/your_copyright and http://en.islcollective.com/your_copyright/deed
Thank you for participating,
1. Moving misdirected worksheets to the proper platform
There are a number of worksheets, mainly on the other platforms, that have been uploaded erroneously, e.g. English teaching materials on the Spanish teaching site. From now on, these worksheets will not be deleted, but moved to the proper platforms.
2. "Social" buttons: Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Facebook
To each worksheet page we've added 4 social functions that have become widespread on the internet. These services being popular with internet users, we hope that you guys will be happy to share valuable materials with your colleagues on these networks. Out of the four, Pinterest is the most recent one. It allows you to create "pinboards", and pin interesting websites and web pages on your pinboard.
Having introduced the Facebook "Like" button, we've changed the icon of our very own Like button to a "Smiley". Clicking it means one vote for that worksheet, which helps it rank higher on our "Most Liked" toplist. The more often you click it, the more reliable our toplist will become.
I clarified many of the items in the Grammar search menu for increased clarity as to what a grammar term means. E.g. I changed
"Prefixes" to "Prefixes (e.g. A, UN, IM, DIS, MIS, EN, etc. )"
"Parts of Speech" to "Parts of Speech (aka word classes, e.g. nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs)"
"Cleft sentences" to "Cleft sentences (e.g. It's Joey we're looking for)"
Quantifiers to Quantifiers (e.g. some, many, much, any, few, little)
and so on.
I also created some new grammar items. I'd like to ask our dear authors to add these tags to any worksheets they may have uploaded on these topics. (BTW, let's not forget that there are a whole lot of other grammar tags from last year that still wait to be added by authors.)
The new grammar labels are as follows:
- Suffixes: ING in progressive / continuous tenses
- Present simple tense: S ending of verbs
- Too and enough
- Adjectives with SO or SUCH
- Adverbs: Intensifiers (e.g. very, absolutely)
- Easily confusable words (e.g. THEN or THAN)
- Pronouns: EACH OTHER, ONE ANOTHER (reciprocal pronouns)
- Pronouns: YOU and THEY talk about people in general
- Pronouns: ONE and ONES to avoid unnecessary repetition
- Pronouns: SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, EVERYBODY, NO ONE, NOTHING, etc.
- Question words
- MUST or MUSTN'T
- Comparison: Comparative adjectives and structures
- Comparison: Superlative adjectives and structures
- Conditionals: Conditional phrases (e.g. unless, provided that, as long as)
If you have suggestions for new grammar or vocabulary labels, feel free to send us an email to info [at] islcollective [dot] com, and I will add it as a new label.
NEW FEATURE: CHARACTER COUNTER
Just recently we introduced a 160 minimum character count for the description of uploads for better searchibility. It's nice to see that this change has been accepted by our authors, and thus the quality of the descriptions have improved a great deal.
I have been testing it myself, and I found it was hard to guess without counting when the 160 characters were reached, which could have been annoying for uploaders. So following the example of Twitter, we introduced a character counter above the type field in the UPLOAD menu, so now you can see at once when your description is long enough.
like I promised, we developed a new item in your MyPage menu called "Comments", in which authors will be able to find all the comments they have received. You can also access your comments in the usual way by clicking on the "new comments" notification right below the main menu.
If something still seems to be wrong with the influx of new comments, please let us know.
SITE SPEED, CTRL+F5 AND SOCIAL BUTTONS
We rolled out some developments recently to increase loading speed of the download pages. Have you noticed that the most popular worksheets load like 10-15 times faster? It was a shame that it was the most popular ones that slowed down, but now we remedied this. We could also speed up the loading of the main page a tiny bit.
In case the site layout should look weird, just click CTRL+F5 to refresh the page, and the looks will be back to normal.
We also fixed the social buttons because, for example, the Facebook sharing button didn't work well on download pages. Now you can share our works in your favorite social networks. Let me remind you of the embed button on download pages. You can embed the preview box of any worksheets by copypasting the embed code into your blog (if you have one).
Also, we are planning to improve the comments section to also show the worksheet preview that the comment belongs to, and show the comment text more prominently. Please tell us whether you like the design and the idea below more than the current one, or if you have any other ideas how to improve the comments page.
I've just added some new vocabulary topics in the Vocabulary search filter. I'd like to ask our authors to edit your existing uploads and use these tags if you have uploaded worksheets in the topics below. If you add these tags to your printables, it will have two benefits: these tags will no longer return zero results if colleagues run a search on them, and it will also help your worksheets to come up higher in Google Search when colleagues start their search there.
The new Vocabulary items:
- Going out, entertainment
- Free time, leisure activities
- Female and male roles
- Graffiti, street art
- Body art, piercing, tattoes
- Smart phones, tablets and gadgets
- Traditions, national customs
- Annoying habits
- Being young, growing old
- Politics, voting, elections
- Extreme sports
- Personality and character
- Socializing, small talk
- Books and reading
- Love, romance, dating
- United States of America
- Likes and dislikes
- Learning languages
Anything else you'd like me to add?
I promised we would try to do something with the apparent decrease in the number of thank you's and comments to worksheets by users). In fact, there were just as many thank you's arriving, but the small notification on the top of the page started showing only the "typed in" comments, but not thank you's. I just checked, and about 50 thousand colleagues sent a thank you note in February.
At the same time, we started thinking about Thank you's again, and we decided to try some changes, because we agree that for an author, it is receiving feedback to their work that makes uploading a fulfilling experience, and we thought we can improve the commenting system.
First, in the spirit of "a picture is worth a thousand words", we changed the MyPage/Comments page to also show the thumbnail preview of the worksheet that the comment was sent for. Click on the "Teaching tip comments" to see the comments received for your teaching tips. This way, we hope, it will be more convenient to check out your new comments.
Second, we changed the logic of the "Thank you" button on worksheet download pages. Formerly, once a user pressed the button, it sent a Thank you! message to the author. It was useful for those teachers (maybe most of us) who are in a constant rush, but wanted to drop a quick thank you note. At the same time, however, we lost the personal touch of comments that we used to have in the olden days. This is why we decided to change the Thank you button. If you press it now, a small type box will pop up quickly, where you can type in a few words of appreciation and send it to the author. We know it takes more time to type than just press a button, but we hope that those users who consider it important to say thank you after downloading will still find it a convenient and quick solution. Authors will be notified of all new comments and thank you notes - sent either using the thank you button or the comment field below the preview. We hope that consequently our authors will get a larger number of personal messages than before.
Please let us know what you think about these changes.
I don't know if the same is hapenning with the other ones, but now the only thing I can see is the expression "Thank you". Somehow all the comment that were there disappeared. I went back to see some comments I made about some ws, but I don't find them. Can you check this please.
We merged the comments and the thank you's like it was in the olden days. This means that all the former thank you's now appear as text among your comments. If you click on "See more" under your comments on the download pages you can load 10 more on each click. For technical reasons, the hour label of the last 30 days appear as the same, but don't worry, this is just a little compromise we had to make to be able to merge the two sections, those items are real, too.
Yes, I know there are lots of thank you's. But in just a few hours, the trend already seems to have turned and I received 4 personal comments on my works, and I hope everyone is experiencing the same.
Please let me know if you have additional ideas about the system.
Thanks for the suggestion! Others have also suggested that, because if the words were lower, it would not have a chance to overlap with the worksheet text.
I am afraid it would be an overwhelmingly large task to regenerate the print previews for all 75 thousand worksheets on the site. Especially, that we have a long list of urgent tasks to cover in the next few months. When we re-generated the print previews the last time it took more than a week to generate them. But I put it on our list of suggestions.
I have a "little problem"one of my ws appears twice when I wanted to delete it I see the message :
|404. Sorry, there’s an error. The requested URL was not found on this server. That’s all we know |
I don' know how to solve it, Thanks for your help,
Today we have something to celebrate: today we have had the 50 thousandth upload shared on iSLCollective. This privilege goes to sylviepieddaignel with her Conditionals 1, 2, 3 worksheet. Thanks, Sylvie, and everyone else who have shared your worksheets here since 2009!
BTW, in case anyone is up to taking over the posting of the worksheets, I would highly appreciate that. It takes about 5 minutes per day, as the Pinterest sharing button is embedded on the worksheet page, right below the preview, so all it takes is one click and writing one line as description.
ESL worksheets of the day
ESL powerpoints of the day
We improved on the way the delete button works when you edit an uploaded worksheet of yours. It used to be right below the copyright license and in the same color as the Save button, so one may have accidentally clicked it when wanting to save the edits.
To remedy this situation:
- we made the button red,
- moved it to the bottom of the page,
- and when you click it, you'll get a "Do you want to delete this worksheet?" popup question.
So no more deletion accidents in the future. :)
cheers , Sylvie!:)))
We further improved the tagging on the UPLOAD form. From now on you can select multiple Vocabulary items for your uploads. Similarly to the Grammar tags, you can select additional items by continuously pressing the CTRL button on the keyboard while selecting the next item with your mouse.
I also encourage you to go back to your earlier uploads and retag them if you'd like to help other colleagues find them more easily.
Cheers , Sylvie
NEW DEVELOPMENT: RECOMMENDATIONS
I think all authors would agree that there is too little feedback that they receive on their work shared on iSLCollective. And I don't mean the thank you notes, but I mean the real feedback that tells authors about how their worksheet really worked in class. Feedback that tells authors what pre-tasks or follow-up tasks did you do before/after this worksheet. How much time was spent with the worksheet? Suggestions about YouTube videos or other resources from the web to use with this worksheet. What didn't go according to plans? Suggestions about how to improve the worksheet.
We came up with the idea of "recommendations". The idea is that we ask all members to write a recommendation for their favorite worksheets. By favorite worksheets we mean worksheets that you downloaded and/or printed several times. Members are shown notifications in which we ask them to write a recommendation. It would be really nice if you could write a recommendation for every tenth worksheet you download or print. So once you write a recommendation, you will not see this notification until the next 10 downloads.
So here's how it works: we suggest 3 worksheets in a new menu item in your MyPage menu: Recommend. You can write a recommendation here on any of the 3 suggestions or reload new suggestions with the Reload button. Below the type field you can see all the recommendations you've ever written. You can also write a recommendation on the worksheet download pages if you select "Recommendation" from the dropdown menu below the comment type field. The recommendations that authors receive can be found in MyPage/Comments under the new tab: "Worksheet recommendations".
Your recommendation is important because it shows other colleagues the best worksheets on the site. At the same time, this is the best way you can thank the authors for using their work. Our authors share their work on iSLCollective.com without getting paid, so their only payment is that you and others downloading their work give them feedback that they can use to develop even better materials.
Have fun recommending your favorite worksheets!
NEW DEVELOPMENTS: NUMBER OF PRINTS AND DOWNLOADS
We used to have two functions, both of which indicated the popularity of worksheets: likes and favoriting. However, the "likes" by users were split betwen these two options. So we decided to do away with "Likes" and keep Favoriting.
We added the number of "likes" received so far to the favorites number. You will see this new "Favorites" number on worksheet download pages, your MyPage and the Member page toplists.
Another new feature regarding the measurement of worksheet popularity is that we started to display how many times a worksheet has been printed. We had looked at user behavior and saw that an astonishing number of people don't download worksheets, but print it. (It's good news as it shows it is indeed a useful feature that saves you time.) So it's only fair that this should be measured as well. Besides, it's also a different kind of indication of worksheet popularity, since whatever is printed by teachers will most likely be used in class, as opposed to downloads, whose later use we don't know.
These developments, together with the new Recommendation feature, are all part of our efforts to give authors a more rewarding experience with sharing on iSLCollective.
Dear Authors, is there anything else that we could do to make your author experience better?
Thanks and have a great summer!
It's been about a week since we introduced the "Recommendations" feature. I'm wondering if you've received any recommendations? Were the recommendations informative and helpful? Do you think this feature has resulted in more feedback from colleagues? If not, do you have any suggestion as to how to improve the system? Have you written a recommendation on the worksheets you love?
Well I don't know what happened with the other authors, but I've only received 1 recommendation, and I myself haven't written any so far. Why? Not because I don't like the ones I downloaded! But because I'm always in a hurry and don't have time to write a good recommendation about a worksheet. To do this seriously I need time to analyse it or to use it with my students and see if it works well. As you can imagine that is difficult to do straight away. Besides, as you can see most downloaders don't even say "thank you" that is something easy and fast. Now imagine what it requires to write even a simple recommendation. My experience tells me that it'll be very difficult to get any type of comment from most downloaders. Thanks God we have some fantastic ones that always have something nice to tell us :)
Anyway, my philosophy is: I upload my worksheets because I like and I want to. If they get nice comments, that's rewarding. If they don't, I go on with my work.
I hope we'll be able to keep this site going, and that is what is really important.
Have a nice summer!
I think the idea of compiling recommendations is great, but certainly a demanding task for many of us as Mirita points out.
HOWEVER, I was very glad to obtain your recommendation in particular, as it has proved to be extremely accurate in pointing out weaker aspects of my worksheet whilst still praising its strengths.
As a result, I have both updated an improved draft of the facebook worksheet you commented on and decided to add an extra series of questions to my "Strange" series in the future.
Since you're the developer of this website and of these evaluative options, I reckon it would be a good idea for you to continue spreading its reputation. I believe your comments in particular to be very effective and wouldn't only rely on the community to engage with an evaluative tool they're not really familiar with. I guess your recommendations to impress many of us and remain optimistic that the concept will catch on soon.
Thanks for continuously thinking about ways of improving this lovely website.
The recommendations is a great feature for islcollective. I think every teacher has their own methods and style to teaching and this can be reflected in each recommendation. I have personally made 6-7 recommendations so far including one of your 'Let's talk...'
NEW FIRST TIME REGISTRATION / LOGIN / FORGOT PASSWORD MECHANISMS
We've had so many login problems every day over the years with users forgetting passwords and having all sorts of problems getting into the site that we felt the need to completely redo the registration, login and forgot password mechanisms of iSLCollective. We've released the new developments on Saturday night.
You can still register or log in in the usual way. The changes are as follows:
REGISTRATION FOR FIRST-TIME USERS
- If anyone finds it easier, they can sign up (register) as a first time user with their Facebook or Google account. It will be a relief for those internet users (like me) who are tired of registering for every new service they try out and prefer to use their social accounts to get into a site with one click.
- Users can, of course, still sign up with their email address, and for them we made sign-up much easier. It's enough to fill in 4 fields, and that's it. You don't have to type in your password twice as before. The reason for confirming a password is because the letters of the typed in password are turned into dots for security reasons, so you can't see what you're typing. Instead, now you only have to type in your password once, and if you want to check whether you typed it correctly, you can just click on the eye icon on the right of the password field (click it again to turn it back to dots). We also got rid of the former horrible CAPTCHA (anti-bot protection) and replaced it with Google's new user-friendly one where you just have to check in a box saying you're not a robot.
LOG IN FOR EXISTING USERS
- You can log into iSLCollective with your Facebook or Google account, which is really simple. During the first login we'll ask you to connect your existing account with your Facebook or Google account by providing your user name and password. From the second login, it will literally take just one click to get into the site in this way.
- You can still log in with your iSLCollective user name/password combination as usual and it should work fine. If you forgot your password, you can click on the "Forgot your password" link. Then you can tell us your email address (the one that you registered with), and we will email you a link where you can set a new password of your own choosing, and you will get in immediately without our help. If you recall, previously we generated a code for you, but it still didn't get a lot of people into the site, and we got tons of email from desperate users. So this will be a much better solution, since everyone who clicks on the Forgot Password link will get into the site after doing the above simple process. All you need is to find our email in your inbox (please note that emails can sometimes end up in your spam folder, so make sure you also check there).
As with any new software updates, there may be hidden bugs, and this update is especially sensitive because as simple as it seems, it was surprisingly difficult to implement and took us more than a hundred planning and coding hours. We cautiously timed this release for the weekend when we see the least traffic. If you notice a bug, please be patient and get in touch with us via email to info [at] islcollective [dot] com, our support line. We'll do our best to fix it as quickly as possible.
We hope that you will find these improvements useful and no one in the future will be frustrated about getting into iSLCollective.
We wish you a great new school year full of inspiring moments! :) Have a great start to teaching!
Peter Laszlo and the iSLCollective Team
I don't know if you can do anything about that:(( tahnks anyway
1. a screenshot showing the problem or error message
2. a step by step description of what you clicked on first, second, third, what exactly was your path
3. How did you finally log in? (which browser, Facebook, Google or email login?)
We're glad to hear that maybe the era of frustrations over logins is coming to an end, and everyone will be a happy logged in user. We found one last bug: the forgot password option wasn't working, so anyone who clicked on this and wanted to receive a link in email to choose and save a new password didn't receive this email. Now that we became aware of this, we fixed this one, too.
Let me give you some more general help for successful login:
1. First of all, let me start by clarifying one thing, because not everyone seems to understand this: REGISTER FREE is for first-time users. Anyone who wants to download our worksheets, needs to register (=sign up) here. If you're an existing user you need to click on the much smaller "Login" link.
2. OK, so let's suppose you went to the Login page. You want to log in (=sign in) with your user name and password combo, but can't because some data you entered isn't right. Maybe it's the user name. First, think about whether you are really inputting your iSLCollective user name. Some people think they have to input their real name, while others believe their user name is their email address. No. Your user name is your nickname you chose when you registered on iSLCollective, like mine: kisdobos.
Maybe it's the password you're getting wrong. Perhaps you've just mistyped it. Click on the eye icon on the right of the password to see what you've typed.
3. If there was a problem with your user name or password, we will load a page where you can try to enter them again, or try to log in with your Facebook or Google account.
4. Or you can ask to be sent a link that allows you to save a new password for yourself. Please note the email address that you need to send us is the one that you registered with on iSLCollective (this is the main reason why we ask for your email address upon registration - to be able to send you this new password link). So we find your existing iSLCollective account based on your email address, and use the same email address to send you the new password link. You receive this link to your email inbox (this time, really). If you don't, it must have landed in your spam (junk) folder. This is what the email looks like:
5. You click on the link, and it takes you to an iSLCollective page where you can choose and save a new password for yourself. You will see your user name and email address The password has to be minimum 6 characters long, because shorter passwords are weak and can be hacked with powerful computers. We also suggest you use Capital letters and numbers, too. To be on the safe side, I suggest checking what you've typed by clicking on the eye icon. (I'm not gonna help you with what to do with the empty checkbox that says "I'm not a robot" because robots may be reading this. :) Click the blue "Log in" button to save your new password and log in to iSLCollective.
I hope this clarification was useful. Actually, I think I'm going to put this on FAQ page for future reference. If you have trouble logging in or you don't receive a new password email, please don't hesitate to contact our support line at info [at] islcollective [dot] com.
Why not include mention of the importance of comments and thank yous. Remind the downloaders that all these free materials are a "labor of love" and were happily shared by the creators. Each worksheet and powerpoint takes an incredible amount of time to create from conception to completion. The only payment that the teachers who contribute materials receive are thanks yous and comments- so they are well appreciated!
Also include that whenever a fellow teacher finds an error- whether a typo or a genuine error- please use the tiny envelope and send us a PM so that corrections can be made.
Please add to the FAQ how to "edit your worksheet" - with screen shots. It would be very helpful to move the SAVE button for changes to materials near the "edit your worksheet" notice. Now you have to scroll down the entire page to find it- and possibly some members don't realize that.
Thanks Kifissia for mentioning thanks and comments, and when the team has time , could there be a little updat of the list of popular authors on the home page of the site , beacuse I had a look at some of them and some haven't contributed or even logged in for years. And an actual update in the numbers of favourited in people's profiles in the directory of members.Thanks for your hard work, cheers Sylvie
The site is back online! :)
This past 18 hours or so was the worst outage of our 6-year history. We've had a bunch of serious problems with our servers, and it took us this long to get everything back up and running again. We know that this has messed up the classes a lot of you. We apologize about that. We did the best we could to fix things and keep providing you the free language teaching resources on iSLCollective.
Sorry guy to bother you all!
Mistake button on worksheet download pages
iSLCollective often gets the criticism that there are mistakes in many of the worksheets. I think that while, admittedly, there are more mistakes in our worksheets than in professionally created worksheets, our users love the amazing variety of worksheets, the creativity that goes into many of the resources and the fact that it all comes free of charge.
And since this is a community site, mistakes tend to go away over time, since users can notify the author of a mistake or typo, who in turn, can correct it and resubmit the file. Same as with Wikipedia, if there's an inaccuracy, it will be corrected by virtue of the community.
A new feature we just rolled out is intended to improve the process of correcting mistakes and typos in our worksheets. We put a "Mistake?" button on every worksheet download page (see below). If you hover the cursor over it, a mail writing form will roll down, and you can notify the author of the mistake from right there. The author will receive your message as a private mail. We already filled out the beginning of the mail, so you just need to type in what the mistake is. The system will then automatically insert the link to the particular worksheet in the mail, so you don't even need to bother with mentioning the title or URL in your mail.
There are two reasons why we developed this feature. First, with this visible button we wanted to remind users to participate in improving the worksheets on the site. Second, some colleagues point out mistakes in comments, but commenting is not a good way of bringing the author's attention to a mistake, because it may come off as ungrateful and impolite.
So please use the new "Mistake?" button to inform the author in a private mail when you find a mistake or a typo next time. Authors will appreciate if you point out a mistake, because they do care a lot about sharing quality resources. So besides writing a recommendation, pointing out a mistake is the second best thing you can do to thank an author for sharing.
Finally, let me encourage everyone to be accepting toward mistakes. The authors who share on iSLCollective lead a very busy teaching life, just like you, yet they spend their free time after teaching classes to create educational resources, tired from working all day, and it's easy to make a grammar mistake or typo in conditions like that. So let's just accept the fact that mistakes happen and always will, and let's point it out to the author when we find one, and let's all be grateful that there are so many talented teachers here who share their work with us.
New feature for authors:
Pinning comments and recommendations
From now on, if you're an author you can "pin" comments and recommendations that colleagues left on your worksheets. It's a great way of highlighting your favorite ones and the ones that you think are most useful.
How does it work?
If you're logged in, you can see the Pin button on the right of each comment, recommendation and usage tip. If you click it, it will be moved to the top of the list. You will be able to see the new order of comments if you refresh (=reload) the page. If you would like to look at your older comments, I suggest you keep pinning them continuously, and only reload the page when you're finished pinning.
If you would like to change the order of the pinned items, just click "Unpin" (which will remove the pinning), and then pin it again immediately afterwards, which will put it on the top of the other comments.
If you pin an item, the user who left that comment or recommendation will get an automatic private mail from us informing them that you pinned their post.
I hope you will like this new feature. As for me, now I'm gonna go to my own uploads and pin my favorite comments. :)
I've just donated for your wonderful site ..& written a message ..BUT, terrible me might have missed something ! ( money = OK / message = ???? not to be found !!!)
Well...I guess the most important is that people donate & help you keep on with your great site !!!
Sorry if my message has been lost - somewhere...???
Best regards - & wonderful coming vacation & Xmas festivities to many of you!
HONORARY AUTHORS ON ISLCOLLECTIVE IN 2015
It is my pleasure to announce that in recognition of their high quality worksheets shared on iSLCollective and unceasing commitment toward the site we've awarded the title of Honorary Author to 84 of our most popular authors (from all our language platforms).
They're among the top 0.01% of authors on iSLCollective, which we thought deserves official recognition.
Thank you ever so much for helping the whole world with your worksheets and your insight into teaching English, and thank you for making iSLCollective what it is today! Without you this site would be nothing. A big reason why so many teachers visit iSLCollective day by day is because of you, because your lessons are just as good or even better than those in textbooks created by professionals, and you've shared them freely. You're an inspiration to us all!
From now on, until they're a member, this title will be displayed on their Mypage and above their avatar whenever they post a comment or recommendation to a worksheet. We will also create a page on the site as a tribute to Honorary Authors. This status is for lifetime and expires only in the event of an Honorary Author deleting their resources from the site or quitting the site.
Our cut-off criteria was this:
The reason we decided to employ a combination of factors is because over a long enough stretch of time, it would be possible to collect 50,000 downloads with only a few uploads, but we think that the hallmark of an Honorary Author should be a continued dedication toward the site and our colleagues who benefit from their work, as manifested in sharing a wide array of worksheets, which get ample positive feedback in the form of Favorites.
min. 50 uploads
min. 500 favorites
min. 50,000 received downloads
Over time as we grow into an even larger community (this month we will hit the 1M user mark, and we 1000-1500 new users signing up every day), and it becomes easier to reach these figures (because of more people downloading and favoriting), we will raise the cut-off scores, but for now, it's gonna stay like that for a while.
There were some authors who were very close to achieving this recognition at this time: Icalvo, BNines, Goga, Errie, Sasu, Muse and others. We hope that this official recognition will motivate you guys even more to keep on sharing your work on iSLCollective. Once you hit the mark, you will be the next ones to earn the distinction of Honorary Author. Thank you to you, as well!
Of course, I'd like to motivate everyone, even those who have yet to share their first worksheet. Our best authors have set the bar high, but if you keep sharing worksheets that are useful for colleagues, and you keep improving them based on the feedbacks you get from them, you too can become an Honorary Author sooner or later.
We've reached a new landmark: as of January, 2016, there are
registered members of iSLCollective.com.
It took us 6 years to pass the 1 million mark. We are so proud that iSLCollective has become a household name that language teachers around the globe know. Reaching this milestone I can't help but start reminiscing about the journey we've travelled since our launch in October 2009.
Today we host about 80,000 uploads, and have about 50,000 teachers visit us daily. We see over half a million users check in at least once a month. But we had very modest beginnings. In the first year we had less than a hundred visits a day, and two years after our inception less than 500 a day. We started with zero experience, but on the way we've picked up a lot about what it means to run an (internet) startup. We had our fair share of obstacles to overcome like any other entrepreneur. First, we had to convince teachers to come join our mission and start sharing on an empty site. We're still grateful when we think about our early adopters who've been here back in 2009 and 2010. Then another challenge was to pay our bills from our pockets in the first few years while we were just a lesser known site, and hold out long enough until we managed to gather a loyal following who were willing to chip in financially and take responsibility for the site.
Our bumpiest year was 2013 when we managed 4 programmers to do a bigger revamping of the site. Here I learned there's nothing more tricky then asking coders to work with someone else's code. It was personally very straining for me to juggle being a full-time school teacher and manage a team of this scale at the same time, while having to deal with every user's every question personally. To make matters worse, 2013 was the year when Google decided to rank us lower in search results, turning us virtually invisible for a long while. Luckily, we're back in Google's favor again.
I recall that the single most daunting event in our history was when the authorities wanted to shut us down in 2014. Really! It so happened that they sent us two letters that we never got, so we failed to respond. According to a still effective law in Hungary, they were obligated to conclude that we were a non-existing entity. (What sense does it make, right? How can an entity that's paying taxes be non-existing just because of not responding to some letters?) Contesting their decision meant going through a procedure of several months while we were trying to prove that it was by fault of the postal services that we never received those letters. Eventually, we succeeded in our efforts, and were let off the hook, but man, it was a close shave, and I definitely got some grey hairs over this.
The past two years were marked by recurring hacker attacks, which kept disrupting our work. It made us realize that we've grown large enough to get on the map of the rogue guys. So we no longer have the luxury of not making anti-hacker security a priority. We have to go with the times, and adopt new technologies and keep tweaking the code to stay ahead of hackers. Of course, tweaking the code is a must for every website, and eventually the time comes, too, when the entire code has to be rewritten from scratch, because the old one becomes too outdated to work with any longer. That time will come soon for us.
If you ask me, if there's anything I'd like to see happen on the site, I just wish more people took the time and thank the authors for the downloaded worksheets. I know it sounds like a simple wish, but it's important. I know it's the same situation on other ESL sites, too. And there's a massive culture of free on the internet, which I love by the way, but it makes people take things online for granted. So I'd like to make our users more appreciative of free stuff on iSLCollective. Introducing the weekly reminders to users about writing two-line recommendations was definitely a step forward (and I hope the authors can confirm that). I know that everyone's in a rush, but I would like to move our culture still farther from being "touristy" toward more camaraderie, i.e. recognizing each other's work for its value. I firmly believe in education, so I think we will be able to make headway in this respect sooner or later.
Finally, we'd like to innovate on our sharing endeavour to reflect the reality of classrooms that are becoming increasingly connected to the web and increasingly more reliant on digital technologies.
So these are the challenges and aspirations for the future.
As you can see, it's been a bumpy ride sometimes, but it's been worth it for me. We've been getting a lot of positive feedback from you guys. If you go to our Donate page, for example, you can read more than a hundred testimonials from our sponsors about what the site means for them. For many, iSLCollective is a place to draw inspiration from each other, for others it's a life saver in case of unexpected events, e.g. when you have to sub a class and need something right away to take to that class. For those teaching in developed countries it has been a huge time-saver, while for those working in poorer countries it has become an indispensible substitute for expensive or simply unavailable coursebooks.
Thanks everyone for joining our mission and caring enough about your students to come here, and make the effort to go beyond what's required of you. Thanks to all those who have sponsored us over the years and let us cover our bills. And, of course, thanks to our authors, for sharing here without getting paid, just because you want to help others without expecting them to reciprocate. For me, that's the true definition of sharing. Sharing what you have with those in need.
You might have seen in the Facebook movie that they celebrated their first 1 million users with much fanfare and popping champagnes. I just wanted to reminisce a little on this occasion and get a bit more personal than I usually do. Although, I will not miss out on the champagne. So cheers!
In closing, I have the good news that we got around 3000 euros close to our goal. If you meant to chip in, but haven't done so yet, you can still make a donation with Paypal or your bank card. It's easier than you think. No hassle, you select pound, euro or dollar, then your bank will charge you in your own currency, and you will become part of a special club, that of iSLCollective sponsors.
Keep up the good work!
It took us almost one week, we ran into all sorts of technical difficulties, but we managed to deploy the new most downloaded daiky section (which I renamed to Most downloaded printables yesterday).
I am looking forward to your feedback about it.
Upload working again.
The new X button
We added a new X button to the search field. Clicking it will clear your previous search settings (any previously selected filters and what you typed in).
We have been testing it and it seems bug-free, but if you run into any problems with it, please write to our support desk at info [at] islcollective [dot] com.
Improved See more links
Some of you have pointed out recently that it's hard to notice the link that takes you to the full list of Newest resources ("See more" link). To increase the visibility of the See more link, we increased its font size, and added an extra See more link below the Newest section.
Login with email address
We know it's difficult to remember your login name to all the websites you use, since you can't always stick with the same user name across different websites, as someone else may have already called dibs on your preferred user name. We run into the same problem ourselves on other websites.
Therefore, to help casual users log in with less hassle, we developed a new feature: if you prefer not to use your Facebook or Google account to log in but your user name/password combo, from now on you can also use your email address (the one that you registered on iSLCollective with) instead of your user name.
We hope this will make logging in even easier to a lot of folks.
I am happy to present the brand new iSLCollective video lessons to you! You can bring Youtube and Vimeo videos to the new iSLCollective video lesson editor and create interactive quizzes for them. You can try it if you click on Upload/Create a video lesson. We made the editor super easy to use, but if you need any help with it, you can go to the iSLCollective Video Lessons Support Center that will guide you through the process in easy-to-follow steps, complete with animated gifs to illustrate each step of the process.
Once published, your quiz questions will show on top of the video, with the video pausing while the students are answering the question.
Soon I hope we will have a huge library of superb video lessons that hundreds of thousands of colleagues will be using in their classes the world over.
Have fun creating video lessons during the Christmas Holiday!
NEW MYPAGE MENU
Today we've rolled out a new mypage menu:
We've received a lot of complaints from users that it's hard to find your favorited resources in your Mypage. To remedy that, a bit earlier we had broken up My Resources into My Favorites and My creations.
Now we continued with pulling off a bunch of items from the dropdown menu and just leave the most important there. (You can still access all the functions in your mypage if you click on any items in the Mypage dropdown menu)
Besides, we've added icons next to the menu items to aid you in finding what you need with visual cues.
Finally, we now also display a status bar on the top of the menu to give you an up-to-date feedback on your membership type (Free account or Sponsor), along with your username (useful for those who haven't uploaded an avatar for themselves).
I hope you'll like the new Mypage dropwdown menu. If you have any suggestions for other improvements, please let us know.
Just to say, I really like the new system: you can be sure your worksheet gets a really good showing, so it's fair. I particularly like the new way the worksheet of the day is selected as it stops the top spot always being taken by the same set of authors and I think this is good for the site. Well done on sorting that one!
Thanks for asking! Upvoting means you like the worksheet, and want to express your appreciation for it. Downvoting is a way to express that you dislike the worksheet, because it has e.g. grammar mistakes or for any other reason.
Since colleagues are not really using the Favoriting button, we wanted to introduce a new, simple way for users to express their evaluation. After a short while, we will introduce a new sorting option in worksheet search, Most voted, so you will be able to search by votes. That's why voting is not l'art pour l'art, but serves a valuable function: help select the best worksheets on iSLCollective.
How it works:
You can upvote (the total vote count increases by 1), downvote (total vote count decreases by 1). You can withdraw your vote at any time, and cast it again using the other button., e.g. after mistakenly clicking the wrong button, or realizing later that there are some gross mistakes in the worksheet.
We hope a lot of users will express their opinion of worksheets this way.
Feel free to share any feedback with me concerning the new voting feature.