Mary J. Gregory
Website Review-www.edutopia.org

Descriptive Overview
The website, www.edutopia.org, contains a wealth of information that can be utilized in classrooms of all ages. The vision of The George Lucas Foundation, developing organization of www.edutopia.org, is to help create innovative classrooms, which incorporate best practices with technology. The George Lucas Foundation, encourages input from schools and communities in providing the best practices to educators and students in classrooms. George Lucas, founder and chairman, wants www.edutopia.org to provide students and teachers with engaging activities to help students be successful in the 21st century. As a student, he expressed the boredom he experienced in traditional public school classrooms. He has special memories of those teachers that provided him with stimulating engaging activities in which he enjoyed learning. The purpose of creating this website was to offer this type of learning to students of all ages. This website offers up-to-date videos, blogs, discussion boards, articles, and comments on hot topics in education that may interest students, teachers, district-wide personal, or parents.

Authority
The George Lucas Foundation is responsible for developing the website. Email address and a physical address are provided but no telephone or fax number can be located on the site. The “About Us” page gives a very detailed description on the features of the website and the founding ideas in which the website was created. The “Word from George” page gives a narrative account of George Lucas’s negative public school experience which motivated him to produce a website with such innovative ideas as “project-based learning” and “technology integration”. The website features biographical pages on each member of The George Lucas Foundation displaying personal narratives, job descriptions with the foundation, educational backgrounds and past work experiences.

Accuracy
The information presented on the website is basically dependent on input from schools and families. For example, Forest Lake Elementary School, in Columbia, SC, was featured on a video on the website that displayed how they use technology to differentiate instruction for students individual needs and abilities. This video provides other teachers or school districts with a visual representation of the differentiation technique of holding a daily newscast where students research new stories, write them, present them, film them, or even assist with sound and lighting. The George Lucas Foundation researches and visits the best schools that use the best practices. They then make decisions on the chosen schools or projects that will be featured. The information provided on this website provides accurate up-to-date videos, blogs, articles, discussion boards and much more on educational topics. The sections written by the George Lucas Foundation follows rules of Standard Written English and also includes bibliographies of consulted resources.

Objectivity
This information on this website could be taken as swaying the audience to support 21st century classrooms full of technology and engaging, meaningful, real-world experiences. The traditional “sage on the stage” classroom is not supported on this website. Advertising on the website of technology such as Smart Technologies or educational degrees from University of Phoenix relate to the content presented on the website. I feel that the website is not actually trying to “sell” products but promote best practices and good teaching.

Coverage
The website provides its own information by researching and gathering best practices and approaches that work in the best schools in our world. The site does offer outside links within an article. For example, when I was reading an article on journal writing a hyperlink was provided in the article to www.educationworld.org to supply me with a template to use in a science journal entry. The providing of hyperlinks to reliable outside sources within the article really helps teachers who have limited planning time.
This feature makes this website teacher-friendly and very convenient.

Currency
Each article, video, blog, and discussion board thread is provided with the month, date, and year. Several articles that I read have been submitted this month to www.edutopia.org , such as “The Importance of Student Journals and How to Respond Efficiently” was submitted on September 1, 2010 and “Back to School: Rules and Routines in the Classroom” was submitted on September 6, 2010. An updated icon is not included on the home page, but by examining the information on the website, a reader can see that information is submitted daily to this website. A continuous updating process is evident when viewing the dates of the postings.

Design and Navigability
The design of the website is very simple with major tabs at the top such as “Core Concepts”, “Videos”, “Blogs”, and “Schools that Work”. At the bottom of the page, other informational tabs are provided with more detail such as the “Foundation” tab includes tabs entitled “About Us”, “Careers”, and “Word from George”. The most popular video, today’s news in education and a daily poll is displayed on the front page. For example, President Obama’s Back-to-School speech to students is featured at the top of the front page of the website today and also gives students, educators, or community members a chance to respond with their personal reactions to the speech. It is easy to navigate and very user-friendly. The simple neutral color scheme is pleasing to the eye and welcoming to website visitors. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this website since I have only viewed the paper subscription.

Recommendation
I would definitely recommend this website to fellow educators and school personnel. Students and community members may not find the website particularly of interest to them unless they are seeking qualifications to become a teacher, tutor, or other school official. Educators can obtain best educational practices, uses of technology in the classroom, videos, blogs and discussion boards filled with ideas and experiences of fellow educators. This website has an enormous amount of information that is valuable to anyone involved in the 21st Century classroom, especially the educator.