Tuesday, June 17, 2008

E-newsletters: Keeping Up with the News

This summer, I’m exploring a variety of Web sites and tools that you can use in the classroom and/or for your own professional development. Each week, I’ll talk about how it works, point out related sites, and discuss classroom connections. This week, I focus on the ways that e-newsletters can provide focused details on new resources.

Recently a colleague asked me how I keep up with educational news for my work on Inbox. As I was writing things up for him, I realized how much I rely on email newsletters that come directly to my Inbox. Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of my news comes from Twitter posts and RSS feeds. But as I looked at my folder for this week's Inbox, I find 20 different newsletters, some daily and some weekly or monthly, that I skim through for news and inspiration.

If you read NCTE's Inbox, you know all about the value of e-newsletters. Inbox brings readers “news, views, and ideas you can use” each week of the year. Some people prefer such e-newsletters because they’re simple and relatively passive ways to get information. RSS feeds are not hard to set up, but you do have to set up and manage them. E-newsletters simply require that you have an email account and a web browser. They’re a great first step for someone who is just beginning to tap new information sources.

So how do you get set up? In most cases, you fill out a basic online form like the Subscribe to the Inbox form. To subscribe to some newsletters, you send an email to a subscription address. If you have a copy of the newsletter that you want to subscribe to, look for a link or a paragraph with more details. You’ll usually receive a confirmation message, and frequently you’ll need to reply or click a link to confirm that you want to subscribe.

Signing up is the easy part of all this. The harder step is to find the right newsletters. Here are some strategies:

Hope these resources you find something you’re interested in. Please share other newsletters teachers might want to subscribe to in the comments!

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