EDU 713 – Website Review Brittney Shepherd

Overview
The Center for Adaptive Schools’ website has a clear mission statement that is visible to any visitors, whether first time or returning. They are dedicated to molding and transforming schools by “developing technical and social resources to realize continuing student improvement.” The founders of this committed organization are learned in education and professional development. This simplistic website provides information on their research-based programs that lead to more effective collaborations resulting in increased student improvement. It gives program overviews, dates of upcoming seminars, and ways to become involved in these professional development opportunities. The website supplies various resources including recommended websites, books, and articles. Some of these books are written by the center’s founding fathers. Anyone can take advantage of their professional development opportunities by purchasing the DVD and school resources. The Center’s website also gives professionals the option to become an adaptive schools trainer. This website is not vast by any means, but it does convey their message clearly and offers more than just belief statements and statistics.
Authority
The Center for Adaptive Schools was founded by two men, Dr. Robert Garmston and Bruce Wellman. Dr. Garmston is a professor emeritus at California State University in the School of Education. He is also the director of an educational consulting firm. He is an award winning author and has co-authored books about cognitive coaching and adaptive schools. Bruce Wellman is the co-director of MiraVia LLC, a publishing, training, and consulting firm, that works with schools, organizations, and professional groups. He is also an award winning author and has written several books relating to collaboration. These men along with their team of co-directors and associates are more than qualified to train and impart their knowledge of collaboration with leadership teams in the field of education.
Accuracy
The Center for Adaptive Schools has accurate information that reaches all leadership fields, whether educational or in the business realm. The research completed and published by the co-founders makes their strategy sound and worthwhile. While there are no statistics given, the ongoing support and demand for their seminars demonstrates the usefulness of their programs. The collaboration techniques they incorporate include “four hats of shared leadership“: facilitator, presenter, coach, and consultant. These four roles are taught specifically in their training along with the five main attributes of collaborative cultures. When contrasting this website to other websites of comparable content, this site gives a rationale and steps to improve collaboration, whereas other sites tell you about collaboration and its importance. There is a link for a bibliography that includes articles and books to support their view on collaboration and its effect on student learning.
Objectivity
The Center for Adaptive Schools is very passionate about their cause and believe in the effect that it can have in the educational system. They encourage foundational seminars for education systems across the country. Based on the information presented their passion can be construed as persuasion. The emphasis placed on student improvement can also be interpreted as the authors’ attempt to sway the viewer. The Center does offer their products and services for a fee and the payment methods are included on the website. From an educator’s perspective these products are informative and intriguing but very pricey. Overall, the Center’s website may contain slight bias but nothing that would hinder their message from getting across to the viewer successfully.
Coverage
The Center for Adaptive Schools does not claim to have comprehensive coverage but they do offer expertise in the field of collaboration instead. This website does not contain extensive information on a variety of collaboration techniques, only their own foundational strategies. Where other websites on collaboration give immediate feedback and help for schools concerning collaboration, this site gives more information on their seminars and professional development opportunities. The Center for Adaptive Schools’ website includes a page for recommended websites; among which are the Center for Cognitive Coaching (co-developed by Dr. Garmston), and the Journal of Staff Development.
Currency
This website was first published in 2003 and has been updated since this time. This information is located at the bottom of each page on the website. All links and/or pages were revised within the past year. The Skillbuilder link seems to be something that is updated on a monthly/bi-monthly basis. The website is fully developed and operational.
Design and Navigability
Based on the aesthetics of the website, I would say that this website is easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye. The illustrations and designs used, however, do not lead themselves to enhance the Center’s message. There is no art on the website that hints at improving educational leadership. The main graphic incorporated on the homepage is of a spiral which in theory could be metaphorical for the cylindrical collaboration among professionals. Other than seminar images, this is the only visual aid given to site visitors. The site’s navigability is easy to follow with not too many popup windows and links to control. The directional buttons on the website’s menu are limited and self-explanatory.
Recommendation
My personal recommendation for this site would be strictly for the DVD program offered and nothing further. I would not recommend this site to be used for information regarding collaboration. There is not enough research provided or varied techniques recommended for it to be worthwhile. If the DVD program was going to be positively utilized within a school system, I would use it strictly for professional development purposes among the whole staff. Individuals may certainly be interested in attending their seminars but the cost alone would be a major hindrance. The skill builders included might be of some interest to those who want to practice collaboration without the trainings offered. However, these are more guiding questions and helpful hints to gear your team for successful collaboration. They are not techniques and steps for implementing collaboration.