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PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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Website Evaluation: Pine Meadow Elementary School Media Center http://www.sartell.k12.mn.us/pine-meadow-elementary/media-center Goals and Objectives The goal of this project is to provide a comprehensive website evaluation for the Pine Meadow Elementary School Media Center website for the purpose of informing the creation and design of an original school media center website that is accessible to all students, appealing to use, and that offers multiple opportunities for engagement. Website Description General Information The Pine Meadow Elementary (PME) School Media Center website is part of the Sartell-St. Stephen School District website (n.d.). According to the district website, Pine Meadow Elementary School serves approximately 775 students in Sartell, Minnesota. The district and school sites emphasize the importance of the district’s mission to “Inspire the entire community to develop well-rounded citizens capable of becoming successful and contributing members of society by providing outstanding instruction in a caring and supportive environment.” Purpose and Audience The purpose of the PME Media Center website is to provide a communication channel between home and the school media center, to provide access to library resources to students and families, and to provide school information to students and families. This purpose is communicated through both the information contained on the main media center web page, and the location of that information. The most prevalent features on the web page focus on “Family Access,” resource links, and media center contact information. The resource links include access to the library catalog, as well as categories of links for students, staff, subject areas, testing, and Internet safety. The intended audience for this website includes school families, students, and teachers. Content The PME Media Center website’s organization is based on the layout of the district website and features the district logo at the top of the screen in addition to a search box and a navigation bar that includes the following: Home, About Us, District Services, Schools, Learning, Community, and Contact Us (see Appendix A for a screen shot of the main media center web page). The navigation menu


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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and widgets on the left of the screen also remain constant during the browsing experience. The left menu includes the following links and information: • • • • • • •

Skyward, a campus portal for accessing student accounts Destiny Quest, the library catalog Renaissance Home Connect, a site that allows parents and students to log in to view reading and math progress and goals Social Media buttons that link to the district Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs, and Schoology pages Navigation menu to go to academic, administrative, and other school and district information Interactive school calendar School News feed

In addition to the district navigation menu on the top and left side of the screen, the media center website prominently features a colorful photo of a child using a computer in the media center, as well as the hours and contact information for the media center. The remainder of the main web page is divided into three sections, each labeled “Resources.” The top section of Resources is displayed as a two-column grid that includes for each link a navigation tile with a picture, title, two-line description, and arrow button to navigate to Student, Subject, Staff, Internet Safety, Testing Support, or Search pages. The remaining two “Resources” sections each feature a bulleted list of resource titles, such as “ThinkCentral” and “AR Book Finder.” The links to student resources lead the user to a bullet list of text resource links that are organized by grade range. These links lead to a variety of off-site resources, Web 2.0 tools, and games appropriate for each age group. The off-site resources automatically open in a separate browser tab for simple navigation. Features Worth Noting •

Interactive school calendar and news feed.

The school media center contact information is clear and prominent, as are links to parent portals and the library catalog.

The site features links to a large number of Web 2.0 resources that are organized by grade. Evaluation Methods

Criteria For this report, the author and two additional evaluators each explored the PME Media Center website, and then used WebCHECK to explore the quality and effectiveness of this website. While the WebCHECK tool was the only


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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instrument used to evaluate the PME Media Center website, additional questions from Project Enable’s Evaluating Accessibility, Web and Information Technology Accessibility (n.d.) web pages were used to analyze the findings related to ease of use, and those questions were used to inform recommendations for improvements (see Appendix C for the list of questions). Instrument WebCHECK is a freely available, easy to use, Web 2.0 tool designed to determine the quality of a website by quantifying the website’s Value and its Expectation for Success. There are four versions of WebCHECK available, each tailored to using with a different age group. The Junior, Middle, and Senior versions of WebCHECK are intended for use with elementary, middle, and high school students, respectively. Professional WebCHECK, which was used for this report, is intended for educators, but can be used by anyone interested in evaluating how valuable a website will be to them and whether they can expect to be successful using the site. The first of these two dimensions, a website’s Value, is assessed based on the following two elements: the site’s ability to provide Stimulating content that sparks user’s interest and motivates them to engage with the site; and whether the site provides a Meaningful experience by featuring relevant, credible information. The second dimension measured by WebCHECK is a user’s Expectation for Success when interacting with the web site. Expectation for Success is assessed by considering whether a website is well Organized and logically structured, and is Easy-to-Use in terms of navigation and accessibility. This website evaluation instrument is a series of automated items (48 for the Professional version of this instrument used in this report) that are used to score these dimensions, and then to represent them graphically for reference, sharing, and application. For teacher-librarians, this evaluation instrument is an important tool to determine the quality of websites used in library learning, to integrate into literacy lessons, and to inform decisions in creating or designing media center websites. Teacher-librarians can further offer this tool to classroom teachers as a valuable resource to integrate into lessons that raise awareness of the importance of critical thinking, analysis, and media literacy. And, for students, WebCHECK has the potential to be a valuable resource in and out of the classroom to ensure they are making use of reliable, quality websites for school and personal inquiry. Evaluators Three information professionals evaluated this website. Evaluator 1 is a high school librarian with over ten years of experience. Evaluator 2 is a public reference librarian with fourteen years of experience who regularly works with school-aged children. Evaluator 3 (the author) is an experienced educator


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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currently studying Library and Information Science at Syracuse University (see Appendix B for the instructions sent to Evaluators 1 and 2). Data Analysis The steps taken to analyze the data the three WebCHECK instrument evaluations yielded include the following: 1. Review results to identify individual scores and averages for each category. 2. Identify trends, possible bias, and variances in scores for each category. 3. Investigate specific questions in each category to determine strengths and weaknesses of the PME Media Center website. The scores, averages, trends, and results of the investigation regarding specific strengths and weaknesses of the PME website are included in the Findings section of this report, which appears next. It is interesting to note that the results overall reveal a distinct trend that indicates areas in need of improvement on the website. The results reveal the author generally assigned higher evaluation scores than the other two evaluators. This difference could be attributed to the additional time the author spent investigating the site or to author bias toward the site. The results further reveal that Evaluator 2 assigned values only of 1 or 2, and did not assign any values of 3 or 0. These differences are noted, but are not considered significant for this report because the trend of all findings revealed a general pattern. Findings The combined evaluator results using the WebCHECK Professional instrument indicate that the PME Media Center website is perceived as reliable in terms of both functionality and credibility. The website is easy to search and features a number of links to valuable off-site resources, but is lacking in interest and accessibility for some users. The PME Media Center website does feature some pictures and graphics, but lacks multi-media content and the opportunity for multiple modes of user engagement and participation. The website also lacks unique and appealing information that would motivate users to return frequently. The following line chart indicates the scores (based on a scale of 0 to 36) assigned by each Evaluator in each of the four areas that the WebCHECK instrument is designed to evaluate. Detailed results for each area of evaluation appear below (additional information regarding specific scores, and the resultant value graphs from each evaluator, can be found in Appendix D).


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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WebCHECK Results for Pine Meadow Elementary Media Center Website 35   30   25   20  

Evaluator  1  

15  

Evaluator  2  

10  

Evaluator  3  

5   0   Stimulating  Meaningful   Organized   Easy-­‐to-­‐Use  

Value: Is this website Stimulating and is it Meaningful to users? The findings for this dimension indicate that although the PME Media Center website does provide accurate, credible information, and does link to outside sources of value, the website lacks variety, uniqueness, and participatory opportunities that would add to the sites overall value. Stimulating The scores in the Stimulating category yielded the least variance of all the category results at 20, 21, and 24 out of a possible 36. The average of the scores was 22, which indicates that while this site may be above average in this category, it is in need of some modification. The strength of the PME Media Center website, based on these findings, is that the site does have a number of hyperlinks to information that could stimulate further exploration of the site’s content. The main page features some Resource links that include a colorful picture accompanied by text and an arrow graphic that invite further exploration. The weaknesses of the website, though, were that the site does not feature different ideas or unique features that make the site interesting and inspire engagement and return visits. The website also lacks variety in the presentation of information, which could limit persons with disabilities to accessing the information on the website. For example, the pictures and graphics that are available on the site do not feature alternative text, and a number of the hyperlinks provided on the site are provided as text only.


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Meaningful The scores in the Meaningful category yielded an average score of 26, which indicates that while this site is above average in this category, it may benefit from some modification. The PME Media Center website does provide links to related, usable, and interesting content, as well as features objective and credible content. The school calendar and news feed, as well as the contact information and library hours, featured on the site provide meaningful information to families and students who use the media center. The staff, student, subject, Internet safety, and testing resources also provide meaning and relevance to users. Unfortunately, the website is lacking in accessibility for users who may have visual, hearing, and mobility impairments. This lack of accessibility renders all content meaningless to users who cannot access it. Expectation for Success: Is this website well Organized and is it Easy-touse? The PME Media Center website has an effective search tool, is error-free, and works without technical difficulty. While these elements provide a strong foundation for a reliable website, the website is lacking in audio-visual content as well as depth of coverage. Both of these shortcomings result in a serious lack of accessibility by users who experience visual, auditory, or mobile impairment. Organized The scores in the Organized category yielded the greatest variance of all the category results, ranging from 16, to 23, to 32 out of a possible 36. The average of the scores was 23, which indicates this website is above average in this category, but it is in need of some modification. The results reflect widely divergent perceptions of the organization of this website, with Evaluator 1’s responses indicating that they found the site disorganized, unclear, and difficult to navigate and Evaluator 3’s responses indicating that they found the site easyto-use. Evaluator 2’s responses were generally above average, though they did point to the lack of visual and audio content on the website. The strengths that Evaluator 1 and 3 agreed that the PME Media Center Website demonstrated in relation to organization are that the text of the site is well-written and that all areas of the website functioned well and as expected. The main weakness of this website was a lack of visual and audio content that would serve to clarify the topics represented. Although the website includes pictures and graphics for the main resource links it features, the remaining resource links are listed only in text format, which provide little interest to motivate students to explore the site.


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Easy-to-Use The Easy-to-use category yielded an average score of 18, which indicates that this site is below average in this category, and is in need of modification. This score, combined with a further investigation of the website using the Project Enable questions referred to in the Evaluation Methods: Criteria section of this paper revealed a serious lack of accessibility on this website. Although this website did have accessibility issues for users who may be hearing, vision, or mobility impaired, the site did feature an easy-to-use search function and all of the navigation mechanisms worked the way they should on the website. At first glance, and for a user with experience navigating websites and no visual, auditory, or mobility impairments, this site may be considered Easy-touse. Further investigation with the WebCHECK instrument, though, reveals that the website does not provide easy-to-use help functions and is lacking a number of functions and features that would increase accessibility. For example, the website does not include descriptive audio to assist those using magnification tools, and is not screen reader enabled. A test of the website with the accessibility tool VoiceOver revealed that exploring the website with a screen reader resulted in most of the information included on the screen translated as “HTML content,” which does not give the user any indication of the information available on, or through, the site. While the information on the main library website was clearly organized and uncluttered, most of the pages on the site relied on small text hyperlinks that may be hard to navigate for a user with mobility challenges. The website did not contain video, so it is unknown whether the site would employ closed-captioning or transcripts of audio content. Recommendations and suggestions The following recommendations are targeted at increasing the Value of the PME Media Center website: •

Enhance links to outside content by adding graphics and embedding audio and video clips that attract interest and provide interaction.

Provide greater variety of media on site in the form of podcasts and other audio files, and student and librarian generated videos.

Provide greater participation opportunities for students and families by leveraging social media PME already uses, and incorporating more opportunities for interaction. o Embed school Twitter feed and featured videos from the school YouTube channel o Incorporate a blog, feature photos and recording of student work, and invite participation through a survey feature that can be


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updated regularly and could include surveys about collection and programming, as well as school culture and learning o Support school mission of involving the entire community by hosting a community blog that focuses on issues important to students The following recommendations will support increasing the Expectation for Success for the PME Media Center website: •

Add interest and increase accessibility by including more audio, video, and interactive content. o Streamline design to ensure users with limited dexterity can navigate website-specifically, unclutter left district menu, which is cluttered with multiple redundant links that appear in top and bottom navigation bars o Add closed captioning to video content o Add alt text on pictures and graphics o Include transcripts of audio files o Include descriptive audio o Ensure text is Screen Reader compatible o Create “Help” button that it easily accessible and clear to all users Reflection

Evaluating websites is important for website creators as well as website users. As someone evaluating websites with the idea of creating a plan and design for a media center website, it was important to me to deeply evaluate each of the four elements considered in the WebCHECK instrument, with a particular emphasis on accessibility (Easy-to-use). The additional criteria I would add to the instrument would be a sub-section under Easy-to-use that is similar to the Project Enable questions that I added to my evidence criteria to give focus to my recommendations. I was surprised at the shortcomings of the PME media center website, which I chose because I liked the way it was organized and that it linked to such rich off-site content. My impression of this site originally was that it was organized and easy-to-use. As I worked through the evaluation and reviewed the results, I was interested at how different my first impressions were from the reality of what the site offered in terms of value and use, and I was stunned at the accessibility issues the evaluation revealed. This experience sparked a number of ideas for how I could teach these critical website evaluation skills to my students. The first idea is to lead elementary students through a WebCHECK Junior evaluation as a group, and then to coach them in creating their own checklist for assessing the value and ease of use of a site. I would then have them use the checklist they made to evaluate other sites chosen by me. Another idea that would be fun with older students is to have them use what they learned using the WebCHECK assessment tool to create the


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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“Worst Website Ever.” Then, other student groups would evaluate, and eventually edit, the “Worst Websites” into a collection of “Best Websites,” exploring themes of value, credibility, ease of use, and accessibility throughout the inquiry process. Alternately, this could be done by finding some “Worst Website” examples online and having students write proposals and create mockups of what their improved version of the site would look like.


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Appendix A Pine Meadow Elementary Media Center Website The following screen shot was captured on October 15, 2013 and retrieved from http://www.sartell.k12.mn.us/pine-meadow-elementary/media-center.


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Appendix B E-mail to Evaluators Thank you for helping with my homework! The project I’m working on begins with the authentic task of evaluating a school media center website based upon my research and the results of website evaluations (by me and two other educators/librarians) using the instrument WebCHECK. I will synthesize these results and write a comprehensive evaluation report in which I will address the strengths and weaknesses of the website, as I would write for a research journal. I will then use the information gleaned from this report to create a creative design concept for a new school media center website, which I will then present to my (imaginary) principal. Now that you know, what I’m up to, you can start by doing the following: Open two browser windows. In the first window: Go to http://www.sartell.k12.mn.us/pine-meadowelementary/media-center Look around. In the second window: Go to http://ischool.d3m.co and choose “WebCHECK Instruments” If you have trouble opening WebCHECK, you could try webcheck.ischool.syr.edu/ or Search “WebCHECK Small Arnone” and that should get you there. Choose “Get Started” at the bottom right corner of the screen. Enter your name (or an alias!) and enter the following Website URL: http://www.sartell.k12.mn.us/pine-meadow-elementary/media-center Choose Instrument Type, “Professional” from the drop down menu, and click “Next.” You will then go through a 48-question assessment that will help determine the effectiveness of the web site that is open in the first browser window. You may need to investigate the site to answer some of the questions. Please be honest in your assessment. When you have finished the assessment, you will receive a report based on your responses. Please save the report and e-mail it to me at kegukeis@syr.edu. I will combine your responses with mine and one other evaluator. If you would like the results of my final comprehensive evaluation report, please let me know! Thank you! Kate Gukeisen


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Appendix C Additional Criteria for Evaluating Website Accessibility from Project Enable The following list of questions helped to further inform the evaluation of the Pine Meadow Elementary School Media web site, as well as the plan for creating an original web site that would prove information-rich, participatory, and accessible. The questions are available from the Project Enable web site’s Evaluating Accessibility section on Web and Information Technology Accessibility at http://projectenable.syr.edu/modules/view/24/5024#sthash.q3LtGlnH.dpuf • Regardless of what page I'm on, can I easily navigate back to the home page? • Is there a help function that is easy to use? • Is there a search function that is easy to use? • Does the website contain graphics, information, links, etc. that are not relevant to the purpose for selecting the material? • Do all graphics have meaningful alt tags? • Are videos captioned or accompanied by transcripts? • Do the colors and/or background patterns used to convey information provide clear contrast?


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Appendix D WebCHECK Evaluation Results WebCHECK Results Overview Evaluator 1 School Librarian

Evaluator 2 Public Librarian

Evaluator 3 Educator/ LIS Student

Expectation for Success

Value

Below Average

Above Average

Contributing factors:

Contributing factors:

Stimulating 20/36

Organized 16/36

Meaningful 24/36

Easy-to-use 14/36

Expectation for Success

Value

Above Average

Above Average

Contributing factors:

Contributing factors:

Stimulating 21/36

Organized 23/36

Meaningful 23/36

Easy-to-use 18/36

Expectation for Success

Value

Above Average

High

Contributing factors:

Contributing factors:

Stimulating 24/36

Organized 31/36

Meaningful 32/36

Easy-to-use 22/36

Figures included above: Copyright 2013 WebCHECK Professional (formerly WebMAC Professional, copyright 1997, revised 2010) by Ruth V. Small & Marilyn P. Arnone, Center for Digital Literacy, Syracuse, NY.


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Part B: Library Web Site Design Concept Abstract Mirus Elementary School* serves approximately 700 students in Kindergarten through fourth grade. The elementary school is located in rural northern New York, in a community where the percentage of families that live on incomes below the poverty level in the area is 28.7%, close to double the average state percentage of 14.2%. The local unemployment level and number of students eligible for free and reduced lunch programs also exceed those considered average for the state of New York. The ethnic make-up of the community is composed of people who identify as White (87%), Hipanic (5%), Black (4%), Asian (2%), and people who identify as two or more races (2%). The Mirus community does have a small public library with limited hours and a collection of print and electronic materials geared toward adult pleasure reading and job seeking activities. Parents rely on the school media center for most of their children’s library and information needs, and would benefit from a media center website that would enable them to connect to the libraries resources from home. The Mirus Elementary School currently lacks a media center website, although it does have a school site that is part of the larger district website. The only information available on the school website about the media center at present can be found in a contact web page that contains the media center’s telephone number and the school librarian’s e-mail address. Ms. Arnone, Principal of Mirus Elementary School, has received feedback from students and parents that they would like to be able to use the school website to access library resources from home that will help students with homework, and that will provide a way for families to connect with the school media center and each other. Principal Arnone has indicated that it is also important that the new website be accessible to all students, that it provide a participatory element, and that the site be well organized and easy for school families to use. Principal Arnone supports the use of social learning networks and Web 2.0 technology on the media center website. This report includes the general plan for the new media center website. This new website will provide an engaging experience for users through clear and colorful layouts, the use of meaningful multi-media, and multiple opportunities for participation for all members of the Mirus Elementary school community.

*Mirus Elementary School is a fictitious school whose name and demographics have been created by the author for this project.


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Introduction and Rationale This design concept report provides an overview of the goal, objectives, design ideas, and assessment criteria developed in support of creating a stimulating, user-friendly, and useful website for the Mirus Elementary School Media Center that will serve the Mirus Elementary students, parents, teachers, and larger library community. The elements in this design concept were created through a combination of the following: •

Surveying other elementary school media center websites

Applying the elements of the website assessment instrument WebCHECK to determine whether the website proposed will be Stimulating, provide Meaning, be Organized, and be Easy-to-use (WebCHECK, 2013)

Incorporating feedback from parents, students, and Principal Arnone that the website should be easily accessible, participatory, and provide resources for schoolwork and personal enjoyment

Goal To provide an engaging school media center website that is accessible, appealing to use, and that offers multiple opportunities for participation. Objectives Incorporate accessibility features in compliance with ADA Best Practices Tool Kit (2013) recommendations for websites. To ensure accessibility and ease-of-use in navigating and interacting with this website, this design plan incorporates accessibility features recommended by the American’s with Disabilities Act and created through the use of criteria found on both the Project Enable website (n.d.), which promotes education that increases understanding and sensitivity to students with disabilities, and the website evaluation instrument WebCHECK (2013), which is used to assess the value and expected success of a website. Provide regular updates that feature timely, media-rich information that supports the use of library resources, collections, and programs, as well as subject matter resources. Providing fresh and engaging content in a variety of platforms is recommended throughout website design literature. The information on the WebCHECK (2013) instrument site highlights that importance in its focus on Value, which is Stimulating and Meaningful content. Utilizing content that features student work, additions to library collections, new and ongoing


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programming, and other school news, will increase the relevance of the site to all users. Providing this content in a variety of media formats will spark interest, gain users attention, and motivate them to return to the site. Provide multiple opportunities that support student, teacher, and family engagement and participation in the library learning community, both online and in person. Opportunities for student and parent engagement on this website are important to motivating those users to engage in meaningful interactions with the site and motivating them to return to the site. Jennifer LaGarde, an award winning blogger and educator-librarian who is nationally recognized for her contributions to the field of education and librarianship, emphasizes the necessity of providing opportunities for participation on media center websites in her Adventures of Library Girl blog (2011). LaGarde points out that using interactive webtools on your website will provide students and parents the chance to connect to the school library in ways that enhance relationships and digital citizenship. Design Ideas Features and Functions The Mirus Elementary media center website will provide value for parents, teachers, administrators, but the main focus of the website is to provide appealing and meaningful connections and resources for student users. The overall style concept for the website is that it appear coordinated with the district and elementary school website of which it is a part, but that is also appear distinct in nature so that users understand they are within the online media center environment. The features and functions included in this web site design concept have been developed with a focus on the following four questions, adopted from the WebCHECK website design assessment instrument (2013): •

Is this website design Stimulating and does it encourage engagement and return visits?

Is the proposed content on this website Meaningful to users?

Is this website design well Organized, clear to understand, and easy to navigate?

Is this website design Easy-to-use, accessible, and are the elements arranged in a way that is in sync with the way users want to engage with this website? In an effort to ensure accessibility, the website design will be clean and


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colorful, and will feature large navigation buttons and tiles, as well as up-to-date student-generated content and opportunities for participation of all school community members. The website design has been developed to utilize type font that is accessible and easily read by people who are visually impaired. The website will also be screen reader enabled and will make use of transcripts and closed captioning where appropriate. The navigation particulars employed in this website design will include careful consideration of the best combination of pages that open in new tabs or windows, and those that follow a “bread crumb trail” from one page to the next. A focus group of students that represent all grade levels at Mirus Elementary will be employed to determine the best choices for navigation. The following figure represents a mock-up Media Center Home Page that will enable users of this concept report to visualize the size, layout, and relationship of the website elements detailed here.

Figure 1. Media Center Homepage Mock-up The main web page will include a prominent What’s New? board, which will feature scrolling content that will include a featured Cool Tool or Fun Site, examples of student work or photographs (as appropriate) of student activities,


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and links to multi-media material about new additions to the library collection or upcoming programs. The library staff will update this feature weekly, with additional updates throughout the week as needed. The top of the main page features stable navigation buttons that link to the Media Center Home Page, a Cool Tools and Fun Sites resource page, a studentgenerated Books and Programs page, a Homework Helpers resource page, a Search box, and a page For Parents and Teachers. These buttons remain the same regardless of the media center web page that the user is visiting within the website and provide stability and ease of use to the navigation experience. The pages these buttons lead to from the Home Page will feature the following: •

Cool Tools and Fun Sites This page is designed to feature a different Web 2.0 tool or educational website each week, and contain a grid of graphic and text links to Web 2.0 tools for students to access for schoolwork or personal enjoyment. A dropdown search box on the page will enable users to browse tools by grade level or subject area. The librarian will be responsible for maintaining the page, but will encourage teachers to suggest tools and sites to highlight here.

Books and Programs This page will feature student generated reviews, podcasts, and videos about library holdings as well as library programs and clubs. The focus of this page will be on what users can see and do in the library space, and will also encourage users to connect and share ideas online.

Homework Helpers The Homework Helpers web page features a collection of links organized by subject, then by grade. The subject tile outline colors correspond to the subject take-home folder colors designated by Mirus Elementary School in an effort to encourage organization and responsibility in their students. The librarian will collaborate with classroom teachers to ensure that the content and links provided are both up-to-date and in step with what teachers are doing in the classroom. Additionally, the librarian will recruit classroom teachers to assist in facilitating a Homework Helper Board where students and parents can post messages and suggestions about resources they would like to find on the boards. Below is a mock-up example of how this page could be organized:


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Figure 2. Homework Helpers Page Mock-up

For Parents and Teachers This page will provide parents and teachers with links to school, district, and state information, and will feature stories about library and classroom projects. Classroom page links will appear on this page, as will a link to the staff contact page the Library Blog. Information about online safety, testing, and classroom successes will also appear on this page. One page is being provided on this website as a launch pad for both teachers and parents to access additional grown-up information in order to foster a spirit of community and cooperation.

Additional features on the main web page include large tiles with graphics that lead to Student Spotlight, a Library Blog page, an embedded Twitter feed, multiple Search opportunities, a Help section, and social media links. The Student Spotlight will feature a media file of student work on the tile and will link to a Spotlight page that features student and class work, creations, and projects. The page will include a Comments section where students, teachers, administrators and families will be encouraged to post comments about student achievement. This page will be monitored by the library aide daily and will include clear guidelines for posting comments. The Library Blog tile will be updated weekly by the school media specialist with a short video embed that features a student, parent, teacher, administrator, or community member sharing the latest blog prompt. The tile will link to the blog itself. The librarian will work with students, teachers, administrators, and the


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community to provide a variety of blog topics that are relevant, engaging, and age-appropriate for Mirus Elementary users. The elements of design included above will provide Mirus Elementary with an engaging school media center website that is accessible, appealing to use, and that offers multiple opportunities for participation for students and the entire Mirus Elementary library community. Assessment The following methods of assessment will remain ongoing throughout the life of the website. These methods of assessment will provide both anecdotal and quantitative evidence to determine the website’s success. •

Conversations and informal feedback from teachers, students, parents, and administrators about how they are using the website will be recorded on a spreadsheet by both the media specialist and the library aide.

Digital and in-library suggestion boxes will be used to solicit suggestions from users which will also be incorporated into a spreadsheet for review by the library staff, teachers, and school administration.

Visits to the website, and its specific pages, will be determined through the use of web analytics tools such as StatCounter or GoStats. Additionally, library staff will record the number of holds placed from the website, and the number of social interactions students, parents, and teachers engage in on the website. They will do this by recording not only web hits and click-throughs, but also by keeping track of the number of interactions on the library blog, library Twitter feed, and “Help” requests.

At three months, six months, and one year after the website is unveiled, surveys will be administered via the website, as well as in library class, to determine the level of ongoing use and satisfaction with the media center website. These surveys will be combined with the additional assessment information detailed in this report to determine the success of the website, and to make decisions about changes and adjustments to the website.

The librarian will present a formal report regarding the use of the school website to administrators six weeks after the website “goes live” and then quarterly from that point on. This report can be presented in person or delivered digitally, as the administrators prefer, but will include at least a written report that summarizes findings, notes any major changes to the website, and makes recommendations for maintaining the website as it is or making changes to the website.


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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Evidence of Success The following outcomes represent success for the Mirus Elementary School media center website. Through analysis of the assessment data, the librarian and administrators will determine whether the website is successful, could be successful with some modification, or is failing to meet its intended goal. Outcomes By the end of the first six weeks that the web site has been available online: •

All classes in the elementary school will attend at least one library class that introduces them to the features of the media center website.

Web analytics will reveal that visitors to the website engage with at least three different elements on the website at each visit.

70% of survey respondents will report that they found something of relevance and meaning to them on the website on their last visit.

By the end of the first six months that the website has been available online: •

60% of survey respondents will say that they have used the website for a school project or from home, and of those respondents, 70% will report that they find the website easy to use.

40% of survey respondents will say they use the website regularly from home or another out-of-school place where they have access to a computer, and of those respondents, 80% will report that they will return to the website to use if again.

50% of Mirus Elementary School teachers will report that they use the website in their classrooms for research or as a method of engaging their students with the school community, and that they find the website adds value to those activities.

By the end of the first year that the website has been available online: •

70% of survey respondents will say that they have used the website for a school project or from home, and of those respondents, 75% will report that they find the website easy to use.

55% of survey respondents will say they use the website regularly from home or another out-of-school place where they have access to a computer, and of those respondents, 80% will report that they will return to the website to use if again.


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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70% of Mirus Elementary School teachers will report that they use the website in their classrooms for research or as a method of engaging their students with the school community.

70% of Mirus Elementary School teachers will report that they use the website in their classrooms for research or as a method of engaging their students with the school community, and that they find the website adds value to those activities.

40% of Mirus Elementary School teachers will report that they find it easier to plan collaborative lessons with the librarian because of the tools and interactions the media center website provides.


PME  MEDIA  CENTER  WEBSITE  EVALUATION  BY  K.  GUKEISEN  

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References American Association of School Librarians. (2013). Best websites for teaching & learning 2013. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards-guidelines/best-websites/2013 LaGarde, J. (2011). 5 Things every school library website should have. [blog post] The Adventures of Library Girl. Retrieved from http://www.librarygirl.net/2011/08/5-things-every-school-library-website.html

Project Enable. (n.d.). Evaluating accessibility: Web and information technology accessibility. Retrieved from http://projectenable.syr.edu/modules/view/24/5024#sthash.q3LtGlnH.dpuf Renaissance Home Connect (2013). What is Renaissance Home Connect? Retrieved from https://resources.renlearnrp.com/US/HomeConnect/RPRTWhatIsHomeConnect.pdf

Sartell-St. Stephens Schools (2009). About us: Mission and values. Retrieved from http://www.sartell.k12.mn.us/about-us/mission-and-values Sartell-St. Stephens Schools (n.d). Pine Meadow Elementary: Media center. Retrieved from http://www.sartell.k12.mn.us/pine-meadow-elementary/media-center Small, R. & Arnone, M. (1999, revised 2010, 2013). WebCheck. Center for Digital Literacy. Retrieved from http://ischool.d3m.co United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. (May 7, 2007). ADA best practices tool kit for state and local governments: Chapter 5. Website accessibility under Title II of the ADA. Retrieved from http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm


School Media Center Web Site Assessment & Design