This week, William D. McInerney
-- professor of educational administration at the Purdue University School
of Education -- recommends some of the best Web resources for school administrators.
He also discusses evaluating Web sites and praises the World Wide Web
as an educational tool. Included: McInerney's top
Web picks for educational administrators.
William D. McInerney is a professor of educational administration at
School of Education. As a teacher of future school administrators,
McInerney sees the World Wide Web's great potential as a tool for learning
and sharing. He also sees its drawbacks. That's why McInerney created
a Web page that highlights some of the best online resources for school
administrators. His site,
Resources in Educational Administration, is well worth a look-see.
"[The site] helps me believe that I'm imposing a wee bit of order
on the WWW," McInerney told Education World. "As a teacher, I find the
use of the personal Web page and sets of lists to be really handy. Because
my links are on the Web, my students can access them from anywhere at
"Further," McInerney continued, "[students] tell me that it's really
convenient to go to my links when they're interested in a topic. I get
them started finding materials more quickly than they would if they had
to go to search engines every time they wanted to find materials on the
"I find most of the links by serendipity while roaming the Web," McInerney
added. "And of course students find good sites and send them to me to
include on the lists."
EVALUATING WEB SITES
"One of the things I try to teach my students is how to find sites on
which they can rely for good information," McInerney explained. "The secret
to finding good sites isn't all that different from finding materials
in a library. You simply have to be sure that you're at a site that has
reputable institutional resources behind it.
"The single most important bit of advice is to pay attention to who
is behind the site," he added. "If it's an organization you think highly
of, then you can feel confident that the material on the site is likely
to be pretty good." That's why McInerney includes several Web resources
from the U.S. Department of Education on his list. "My links are highly
idiosyncratic, of course," McInerney acknowledged.
THE TEN TOP SITES
McInerney's complete list represents a vast amount of information for
anyone interested in educational issues. Here are ten sites that he identifies
as particularly rich resources.
- U.S. Department of
This huge site presents headlines and background information on all
aspects of education in the United States. A navigation bar on the left
side of the main page makes moving through the massive amount of information
available easy. Click on such sections as Student Financial Assistance,
Research & Statistics, and News & Events. Search through
the thousands of publications, synopses, literature reviews, studies,
and reports produced or funded by the department since 1980 and order
publications. Users will also find information on educational statistics
and laws that affect education.
Association of School Administrators (AASA)
AASA is a professional organization for public school administrators.
The Web site offers articles on current issues; background information
on topics such as parental involvement, block scheduling, and charter
schools; and information on political advocacy and state administrators'
associations. Visitors can also access the association's monthly publication,
The School Administrator. Full-text articles go back to 1996;
a subject index, without hyperlinks, goes back to 1994. Some articles
are available only to association members. This site also includes the
publication The AASA Professor back to fall 1997.
- ERIC Clearinghouse
on Educational Management
ERIC is the Educational Resources Information Center, a national network
under the U.S. Department of Education. The ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational
Management, housed at the University of Oregon's College of Education,
"acquires, indexes, abstracts, and enters into the ERIC database documents,
papers, and articles on educational management" and produces "books,
monographs, and synthesis papers" on topics of educational policy. Search
the site or browse the publications. Under Trends & Issues,
users will find background information on key topics, such as school
choice. Each topic has a series of subsections, such as Discussion,
Summary, Links, References, and Resources.
ERIC Digests "ERIC Digests are
short reports (1,000 to 1,500 words) on topics of prime current
interest in education. targeted specifically for teachers, administrators,
policymakers, and other practitioners but generally useful to the broader
educational community. designed to provide an overview of information
on a given topic and references to items providing more detailed information.
produced by the 16 subject-specialized ERIC Clearinghouses and reviewed
by experts and content specialists in the field."
- The full-text ERIC Digests database is updated quarterly. The database
currently contains 2,129 digests published from the beginning of 1992
through September 1999 and 865 pre-1992 digests. Search all of them
Institute on Educational Governance, Finance, Policymaking, and Management
"Located within the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI)
at the U.S. Department of Education, the Institute's purpose is to provide
national leadership and support to develop and disseminate information
that helps guide the design and implementation of governance arrangements,
policy approaches, management strategies, and finance systems that will
support high levels of learning by all students." The site includes
information on how to apply for grants for educational research. Read
abstracts of past and current research projects and outreach activities,
and browse a listing of the Institute's publications.
- Regional Educational
Laboratory (REL) Network
The REL Network consists of ten Regional Educational Laboratories that
cover the geographic areas of the United States. Supported by the U.S.
Department of Education, the network helps state and local communities
use research "to tackle the difficult issues of education reform and
improvement." In addition to serving a specific geographic section of
the country, each of the ten laboratories specializes in a particular
research area. The North Central Laboratory, for example, specializes
in educational technology. This searchable site includes news archives
and a list of publications.
- National Education
This site is packed with all sorts of information for administrators,
teachers, and parents: news about education issues, news and information
about the NEA (such as the current Read Across America campaign), lesson
plans, a health information network, classroom tips, resources related
to educational issues (such as bilingual education and charter schools),
and examples of school, community, and business partnerships. Read the
current issue of NEA Today Online, or search the archives back to September
Policy Analysis Archives
McInerney calls this peer-reviewed journal, published at Arizona State
University, one of the very best resources in educational administration
on the Web. The full texts of all articles from Volume 1, 1993, to the
present are posted here. Users can search the site, browse the articles
or the abstracts, or submit articles or commentaries.
- Education Week
Home of the online versions of both Education Week and
Teacher Magazine, this site offers information "for people interested
in education reform, schools, and the policies that guide them."
Daily News links to articles involving educational issues in U.S.
newspapers, special reports on issues such as recruiting and retaining
teachers, the business of schooling, and leadership in education.
In Context provides background summaries of educational issues,
a glossary, and links to related sites. Visitors can search the current
issue or the archives of both magazines. Education Week archives
go back to 1981; Teacher Magazine archives go back to its inception
- ERIC Clearinghouse
on Urban Education
Another of the several ERIC offerings, this searchable site covers topics
in urban education, including school safety, urban and minority families,
equity and cultural diversity, community involvement, urban and minority
youth development, and administration and finance. Lists of publications,
links to other ERIC databases, and links to other Internet resources
McInerney's list continues to evolve as he locates valuable new resources.
"The WWW is a truly revolutionary development in the dissemination of
human knowledge," said McInerney. "The effect of the Web on our teaching
is already profound; I can hardly wait to see where it goes from here."
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Article by Mary Daniels Brown
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