Website Trends

What tools and resources are schools using and directing their communities toward via their school websites?

K-12 Website LinksMeasuring actual adoption and use of educational technologies in K-12 is a challenging task, and for this reason it is rarely attempted, leaving decision-makers to struggle to know what technologies are actually being used. K-12 school websites are a valuable data source in this regard, because they represent many of the school-level technologies that schools expect students, teachers, and communities to utilize.

To discover what we can learn from these resources about educational technology adoption, I scraped the homepages of 51,496 K-12 school websites across the U.S. From these websites, I then extracted all external links that these sites connected to and truncated and organized these links by internet domain (e.g., “google.com”, “facebook.com”). This resulted in 1.1 million links representing 72,640 internet domains.

Results indicated that the two most-linked-to resources among school homepages were Facebook and Twitter (cf., Table 4) at a rate of almost 50%. This revealed that schools are likely using these ubiquitous social media platforms as part of their community outreach efforts, with other social media sites like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest also being highly represented.

Table 4

Most Popular Tools and Resources Linked From School Websites in 2019

Domain Homepage Representation Links
Facebook 49.6% 34,604
Twitter 47.1% 34,692
YouTube 18.3% 11,546
Instagram 17.5% 10,673
Google Docs 17.1% 20,272
Google Sites 15.7% 24,396
Google Search 13.3% 25,584
Google Drive 13.0% 21,997
LinkedIn 6.0% 3,381
SchoolMessenger 5.7% 2,919
Google Translate 4.9% 53,492
MySchoolBucks 4.5% 2,491
PeachJar 4.4% 2,518
Google Maps 4.0% 2,320
Google Play 3.8% 1,989
iTunes 3.6% 1,882
Apptegy 3.4% 1,731
Google Mail 3.3% 1,806
ISITE Lunch 3.2% 2,121
Clever 3.2% 1,771
Vimeo 3.1% 1,855
SchoolWires 3.1% 1,661
Frontline 3.1% 1,750

Video sharing services like YouTube and Vimeo were also highly utilized, along with a host of Google tools (like Docs, Sites, Search, Drive, and Translate) and school-directed communication and management technologies like SchoolMessenger, PeachJar, and Apptegy.

Notably, none of these most prominent links are educational tools, per se, but are rather ubiquitous in nature (e.g., Facebook, Google Docs) or are focused on management aspects of schooling rather than teaching and learning.

This content is provided to you freely by EdTech Books.

Access it online or download it at https://edtechbooks.org/landscapes_2020/websites.