This website is owned and edited by Susan Ohanian, a teacher and highly visible and vocal advocate of social justice in schools and opponent of the adoption of national standards. The site serves as a clearing house for a wide variety of social issues related to schools, learning and teaching across the country.
Type of Material:
Commentary and gateway to other resources.
This site could be used to stimulate thought and discussion about social and ethical issues related to teaching and learning in public schools.
Site is essentially text-based and requires only a standard web browser and a user's ability to open hyperlinks.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The primary purpose the site is to increase awareness of issues relating to a wide variety of social justice issues relating to public schools across the united states, and to encourage users of the site to become active participants in addressing incidents of injustice.
Target Student Population:
The site targets teachers, administrators and concerned citizens interested in current social and legal issues related to public schools. The site could also be an effective resource in teacher education classrooms.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
To appreciate the information presented, an understanding of NCLB legislation is a pre-requisite.
Content on this website is drawn from a wide variety of national and local sources, from the Washington Post and New York Times to hometown newspapers.
The content presented could be used to stimulate critical thinking and academic discussions.
The site does not provide a balanced perspective of the issues presented.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Material on this site could serve to stimulate the development and application of critical thinking skills, challenging the user to question, compare with other sources and view points and to examine and evaluate positions taken.
The purpose of the site is to provide links to current information, not to support the development or use of critical thinking skills. Educators must focus on any desired critical thinking outcomes and plan for those in advance.
The information presented would be difficult to integrate into most curriculum and pedagogy for teacher education. As instructors, we would present the site with the proviso that we did not agree or disagree with the information contained on the website.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
All links to content are clear and straightforward and all worked at the time of this review. Content is loosely subdivided into areas based primarily on format (cartoons, notable quotes, outrages, etc.). Within most subdivisions content is listed chronologically, most recent first. There is an internal search tool on the home page and on each category page to aid a user seeking information on one topic.
The site is easy to use and navigate. The information is presented through text and hyperlinks which were active and updated. The website did not offer interactivity or engaging graphics.
The search tool on the homepage is embedded in the middle of the right column and is not easy to find for first-time users. The search tool on other category pages is placed at the top of the page.
There is an overwhelming amount of text.
Other Issues and Comments:
This site offers a wide variety of news and commentary on current provocative issues in public education. Selection of content appears to be clearly slanted in one political direction and other perspectives are usually not represented. With this understanding, the site can be used to help teacher education students challenge their own assumptions and perspectives.
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