Analysis of Elementary School Web Sites

By Hartshorne, Richard; Friedman, Adam et al. | Educational Technology & Society, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Analysis of Elementary School Web Sites


Hartshorne, Richard, Friedman, Adam, Algozzine, Bob, Kaur, Daljit, Educational Technology & Society


ABSTRACT

While researchers have studied the use and value of educational software for many years, study of school Web sites and/or their effectiveness is limited. In this investigation, we identified goals and functions of school Web sites and used the foundations of effective Web site design to develop an evaluation checklist. We then applied these criteria to a random sample of Web sites to identify the extent to which the key features were evident in them. The majority of the elementary school Web sites surveyed provided evidence of basic design principles; however, scores were not as good for structure, design, general components, and general ratings. Based on our findings, we derived and present a set of guidelines for developing and improving elementary school Web sites. We also suggest that future research efforts should examine contextual factors influencing the effectiveness of elementary school Web sites and how various stakeholders use elementary school Web sites.

Keywords

School web sites, Web presence, Elementary schools, Internet

Technology has become a critical component of everyday life. In recent years, one indicator of this has been a rise in the development and use of school web sites. This is primarily due to the steady increase in Internet connectivity of the many stakeholders in the educational process (Chen, 2002; National Center for Education Statistics, 2003; U.S. Department of Commerce, 2001). Because of this increase, concerns about the value of the content, form, and use of school Web sites have emerged, much like interest in the educational value of software appeared years ago (Higgins, Boone, & Williams, 2000; Larsen, 1995; Lee, 1987; Truett, 1984; Zane & Frazer, 1992).

In this regard, Goyne, McDonough, and Padgett (2000) discussed questions that professionals should ask when evaluating software (e.g., Is it consistent with the curriculum and learning outcomes? Does it offer the learner choices and control? Does it have high-quality technical components? Is it accessible to students?). Others have addressed the extent to which educational software was meeting the needs of teachers and students and provided guidance for structuring the evaluation process in general and special education (Forcier, 1999; Higgins, Boone, & Williams, 2000; Huff & Cooper, 1987; Spitzer, 1996). Justified largely by the pressure resulting from widespread development and use of commercially-developed products and the lack of summative or formative evaluation information, educators became increasingly more proficient critics and more determined advocates for better software for their students.

The growth of the Internet and its availability in schools around the world has been unparalleled in the history of technology and innovation (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003; Nielsen/Net Ratings, 2004; Owston, 1997; Revenaugh, 2000; U.S. Department of Commerce, 2001). This is particularly true with regard to school Web sites:

   Nationwide, 86 percent of public schools with access to the
   Internet had a web site or web page in 2002 ... This is an increase
   from 2001, when 75 percent of public schools reported having a web
   site. There were differences by school characteristics in the
   likelihood of have a web site or web page. For example, the
   likelihood of having a web site or web page was lower in schools
   with the highest minority enrollment than in other schools (76
   percent compared with 87 to 92 percent). (Kleiner & Lewis, 2003, p.
   10)

While culture and geography direct specific aspects of some school Web sites, the importance of considering general functions and goals justified the need for the general evaluation completed in our study.

Goals and Functions of School Web Sites

Elementary, middle, and high school Web sites have two primary functions: serving as information systems for site visitors and acting as intermediaries between the numerous stakeholders in the educational process (McKenzie, 1997). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Analysis of Elementary School Web Sites
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.