Site URL: Ed.gov
Content: This is the U.S. Department of Education’s homepage, where educators and parents can get information pertaining to everything that falls under the DOE umbrella.
Design: Unlike a lot of government Web sites, Ed.gov has a clean, easy-to-use design. Each of the main areas is clearly defined, and the teacher-specific link is prominently displayed on the right. The use of an automated scroller is a good use of space and a way to get more images to the user.
Review: While Ed.gov looks nice and is very easy to use, it falls flat when it comes to actual content. Several news items are posted daily, and there is a blog that updates. Far too much of the content is vague, however. Headlines like “NC Governor Keeps Eyes on the Prize” don’t give any indication of what the story is about.
The dedicated teachers’ area of the site is also too broad to be helpful. Articles here are posted less frequently than on the homepage, but address issues teachers would find interesting, such as best methods for professional development. There are links to teacher resources, but these are merely links to sister Web sites that involve more searching to find the desired content.
What Ed.gov does do very well is offer information on Pell grants, student loans and other financial aid resources. This is backed up by Web tracking site Alexa.com’s report, which indiates that the overwhelming majority of Ed.gov users are either college bound (18-24) or the parents of someone who is college bound (45-54). Alexa.com also finds that the top seven search-engine queries directing people to Ed.gov are related to financial aid.
Bottom Line: If you are heading to college soon or have a child gearing up for post-secondary work, Ed.gov is the place to go for great info on federal financial aid. If you are an educator looking for help in the classroom, it’s best to keep your distance.