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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Gateway to Educational Materials

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 1 star
Reviewed: Sep 02, 2001 by Teacher Education
Overview: The key to one-stop, any-stop access to high quality lesson plans, curriculum units and other education resources on the Internet! Mainly a database of K-12 resources.
Learning Goals: As stated by the author, "The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) project is a consortium effort to provide educators with quick and easy access to the substantial, but uncataloged, collections of educational materials found on various federal, state, university, non-profit, and commercial Internet sites." The reviewers found that it is a resource for teachers and teacher educators to identify resources for and about teaching practices and educational materials. Consequently, it does not fit into a direct instructional framework
Target Student Population: Teacher education faculty and K-12 classroom teachers. The author notes that the site is for "educators."
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: To use this site effectively, educators must be able to navigate to and within the site. Boolean or keyword search skills are useful. Teaching experience would be helpful to understand and apply the information; however, may not be necessary.
Type of Material: This site is a resource object that contains no direct instruction, although several of the links provided are to instructional objects.
Technical Requirements: The site itself is primarily text-based and requires no special plug-ins for the browser. However, there are literally hundreds of links to other apparently valuable resources, which the reviewers did not access and may require special plug-ins. For example, one site warned that the browser needed to be equipped with a level of Java script reading ability.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: It allows the user to choose among 17 grade levels for the search for resources (Pre-Kindergarten through Higher Education). This should significantly reduce search time. Searching can be done by simple subjects or keywords, and includes full text searches as well as limited searches.

When selecting a particular resource, a description divided into 13 categories, including a link to the actual resource is provided?.
Description:
GEM Subjects:
Keywords:
GEM Audience:
Pedagogy:
Resource Type:
Format:
Relation:
Rights Management:
Date:
Publisher:
Cataloging Agency:

For example, a search on "educational technology" and "university" yielded 25 resources.

Allow educators to submit their materials to be included in the site, if they follow guidelines and standards provided by GEM. It seems there could be valuable resource materials offered.
Concerns: Although selection criteria for inclusion is available for those who would voluntarily submit their materials, rating or evaluation of the sites by external agencies doesn't appear available.

The link "New Resources" revealed 13 new category entries.

To utilize it effectively, searching, identifying and applying the resources to classroom instruction require a great deal of time.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: As a teaching tool, this site would offer models and examples of high quality lesson plans and instructional units for Pre-K through 12th grades, for vocational education, for adult/continuing education, and or higher education use.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 1 star
Strengths: The site provides easy to follow directions to conduct searches through its thousands of collected resources.
Concerns: None