In recent weeks I came across a fantastic U.S. website for parents and older students, such as those about to graduate from high school and wanting to find just the right college or university. It is located at www.education.com and has just about everything a parent or older student would want or need, just by clicking on each of their choice of drop down menus — all located on the header bar.
- First there is a “Just Ask.” All a parent has to do is fill in their question and see if it has been asked before and what answers were forthcoming. However, if it has never been asked before, there is a place to ask a new question. To do that, visitors would have join the site by scrolling up to the right corner where it says “Welcome” — and follow the instructions, including checking off what information you would like to read about in their regular e-mail newsletters.
- Directly beside the “Just Ask” header page, there are a couple of activity-based menus, starting with the “Activities“– with its pages and pages of ideas for every grade level from kindergarten to high school, even to home school, followed by “Worksheets” (all printable) and “Videos” for even more activities. The first sample videos are about painting with coloured ice and making homemade play dough.
- Following “Videos” is a header menu under the title: “Find a School.” The options on that page cover an amazing number of topics. For example, all a visiting parent has to do to find information for their geographic area is to type in their zip code and state. And, voila, they can find out the standardized test scores for schools where they live, or where they may be considering moving (although as I have written before, there is a great deal more to a school than test scores). As well, there are details about public versus private schools to consider and pre-school options.
- At the very bottom of the “Find A School” page, there are links where parents can browse schools by state or older students can check out universities, community colleges or career colleges.
- Lastly, there is the goldmine “Education A-Z” area, an online library of just about any topic a parent would need to research, plus whole sections devoted to specialists. Of course, that area would also be useful to university students preparing to write an essay on such topics as “aspergers syndrome” and “bullying.”
In other words, www.education.com, located in California, is a one-stop information and access centre for parents and students just graduating from high school or, in fact, anyone interested in educational issues. Which makes me wonder if a similar site could be financially sustainable in Canada — although the A-Z topics are applicable anywhere. Whatever the case, it is something for my Canadian readers to think about.