March/April 2000 // Spotlight Site
NetTech: The Educational Technology Coordinator Web Site
by Stephen Downes
Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source ( as: Stephen Downes "NetTech: The Educational Technology Coordinator Web Site" The Technology Source, March/April 2000. Available online at The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.

A valuable resource for anyone working in the field, the Educational Technology Coordinator Web site is a collection of recent, relevant links and resources compiled by technology coordinators working in the northeastern United States.

Best viewed from the site map (, the site keeps a sharp focus on the day-to-day needs of those working in the educational technology discipline. While the list of topics appears to be wide-ranging (and the authors apologize for this), the selection is in fact authoritative and efficient.

The site content consists mostly of annotated links to educational technology resources. The links are organized into four broad categories: curriculum integration, professional development, technology in context, and technical issues. Each category consists of a half-dozen or so subcategories in which readers will find a short introduction and a dozen annotated links.

For example, the "Curriculum Integration" category is broken into twelve subcategories, including assessment and evaluation, lesson plans, best practices, and journals. Clicking on "Lesson Plans," the reader finds links to major collections of lesson plans, such as the Columbia Education Center and Education World. At the bottom of the page is a list of eight "online field trips."

The site does have a clear American bias. The only granting agencies listed, for example, are U.S. government agencies, and the only assessment standards mentioned are U.S. national and state standards. But this is to be expected from a regional organization (the Northeast Regional Technology in Education Consortium).

All viewers will enjoy the site’s quick load-time and effective organization. Graphics are kept to a minimum, text is well-spaced and easy to read, categories are no more than two clicks away from the home page, and the site map is always available. And while some pages appear a little threadbare, this initiative—started in the fall of 1999—is well on its way to realizing its potential as a rich resource.

The authors will have to reconsider their color scheme. New visitors may find it difficult to identify links embedded in the text, as the dark green is an insufficient contrast to black. The blue text in the left-hand column is a set of links; the same blue text in the body identifies section headers. This can make navigating slightly confusing.

In the final analysis, however, this site is a welcome addition to Web resources and is worth watching over the next year as it matures.

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