Awesome Library
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"Ideal" Web Sites
The Awesome Library provides only resources that have been reviewed and found to be of high quality for our users.   In that sense, all of the resources have a high rating at the time of review.   Our Ratings page describes the standards, criteria, and process for selecting resources for the Awesome Library. Sites included in the Awesome Library are among the top 5% of sites in the field of K-12 Education.

On rare occasions, a site within the top 5% stands out for a particular topic and is also given a Star Rating .   Currently, 2% of the sites within the Awesome Library have a Star Rating.   The purpose of the rating is to allow patrons with very little time to identify one or two sources as starting points within a topic.   The Star Rating is given to a resource because it is one of the following:

-   The source for many other sources on the page
-   A very comprehensive source of information
-   Unusually well organized
-   Contains essential information for the topic

An Ideal Site
A site with a Star Rating is not necessarily an "Ideal" site; most of us are not there yet.   An ideal site for K-12 education would need to meet the standards described on the Ratings page, the standards for a Star Rating, and the following additional standards.

An "ideal" comprehensive site for lesson plans, for example, would allow searches to be made in the following ways:

-   by topic
-   by grade
-   by grade within a topic
-   by alphabetical index
-   by key word (search engine)

In addition, lesson plans would be:

-   screened, with only high quality lesson plans provided
-   comprehensive, covering each topic with depth
-   provided separately from lists of sites with lists of sites
-   annotated
-   rated for quality
-   rated for completeness

The site itself would include:

-   a site map
-   a "path map" showing on each page where you are within the site
-   a link to the authors for feedback
-   a link to the home page
-   a fast loading design (under 8 seconds for a 28.8k modem)
-   frequently updated resources (very few "dead" links)

-   a privacy policy (on use of personal data from you)

-   a link to versions in other languages, especially Spanish

-   a link to a text-only version of the site

Has an ideal comprehensive Lesson Plan site been found?   No, but some comprehensive sites are moving close.

We assessed the Awesome Library's Lesson Plan page and found that, in terms of the ideal, we have a way to go.   This is what we decided about the "Lessons" section of our own site:

Types of searches that can be made by the Awesome Library:

-   By topic - Yes
-   By grade - Partial (Many of the materials are sequenced by grade level, especially in areas such as in math where it is most important, but more remains to be done.   In math and literature materials are separated by elementary and middle or high school level.   A key word search can also be made by adding the word "grade" in a search.)
-   By grade within a topic - Partial (Same as above.)
-   By alphabetical index - Yes
-   By key word (search engine) - Yes (To get "lesson plans" within a subject, add the word "lesson" to the subject.)

In addition, do the lesson plans have the following?

-   Screened - Yes (Not all resources are fully developed lesson plans, but most are.   If a good resource calls itself "lesson plans," but is actually a project or activity, then it would be classified under the Subjects section, not the Lessons section.
-   Comprehensive - Yes (Every subject is covered with some depth and supplemented with projects, papers, discussion resources, and lists (compilations) under the Subject heading of the Aweseme Library.)
-   Actual Lessons Separated - Yes
-   Annotation - Yes (Most are annotated, but a few remain to be annotated.)
-   Rated for quality - Partial (All are rated as top 5% by being included and an additional group is Star Rated.   An ideal site would provide a graphical rating for all of the resources.
-   Rated for completeness - Partial (If they are included under Lessons, then they have been screened and rated.   An ideal site, however, would provide a graphical rating on completeness for each resource.)

The Awesome Library includes:

-   A site map - Yes (At the bottom of each page.)
-   A "path map" showing on each page where you are within the site - Yes (At the top of each page and includes a link to each portion of the path.)
-   A link to the author for feedback - Yes (An email link is provided at the bottom of each page.)
-   A link to the home page - Yes
-   A fast loading design (under 5 seconds for a 56k modem) - Yes (Very few graphics are used and pages are broken into smaller pages when they get to be over 15K in size.   Except for the Home page, all graphics are under 4k, which is rather small. The Home page has a 12k graphic.)
-   Frequently updated resources (very few "dead" links) - Yes (Updates are made daily)
-   a privacy policy (on use of personal data from you) - Yes
-   a link to versions in other languages, at the bottom of pages - Yes

How many sites have you found that have all of the components for an ideal site?

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