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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


IDEA Practices

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Sep 02, 2001 by Teacher Education
Overview: The IDEA Practices website is designed to assist teachers, school administrators, and related service professionals implement recent changes to the nation?s primary special education law, IDEA ?97. This site provides up-to-date hyperlinked versions of the IDEA ?97 Law and Regulations, informed analyses, summaries, FAQ?s, and other resources which all demonstrate best practices and strategies that work for students with disabilities. The IDEA Practices website is a service of the ASPIIRE and ILIAD projects at The Council for Exceptional Children, two of the IDEA Partnership Projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education?s Office of Special Education Programs.
Learning Goals: Students will read, research, and investigate the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Target Student Population: This site is for anyone seeking information about the Individuals with Disabilities Act. It can easily be applied to those learning about special education and disabilities.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic abilities to navigate a web page. No prerequisite content information is necessary. Yet, the information is very organized so that if the student or teacher has background in special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, specific links can be located easily.
Type of Material: Reference Materials
Technical Requirements: The site is a series of HTML pages. No additional plug-ins or applications are needed for most of the pages. Some of the reference materials presented in the "ideaQuests" section are available in pdf format. Acrobat Reader is needed to view these selections. It is available at: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The four linked projects, with a network of more than 105 organizations, address a range of important content covering law, partners, current issues, assessment, accommodations, cultural and linguistic diversity, and others. The four projects contributing to this content are (1) ASPIIRE: The Associations of Service Providers Implementing IDEA Reforms in Education located at The Council for Exceptional Children brings together teachers and related services providers; (2) ILIAD: The IDEA Local Implementation by Local Administrators Partnership, also at The Council for Exceptional Children, supports associations of educational leaders; (3) FAPE: The Families and Advocates Partnership for Education at the PACER Center links families, advocates, and self-advocates; and 4) PMP: The Policymaker Partnership at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education increases the capacity of policymakers. This site is quite organized and includes a search engine for efficiently finding specific information. Current issues, training, professional development opportunities, and a huge list of relevant links provide an extensive amount of information on understanding and implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The "ideaLINKS" section offers a multitude of current information that would be appropriate and useful for any student teacher or classroom teacher to read and review. Topics such as assessment and evaluation, classroom management, curriculum and instruction, and more are covered.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site can be used in teacher education situations, special education courses, with parents, and for community outreach presentations. The organization of the information allows for individual or group research. Charts, reports, and presentations could be developed for any one of the many topics addressed here. Students can develop model lessons based on selected IDEA information at this site. The updating makes it well worth revisiting. Clarification of definitions and terms, administrative resources, and access to actual law allow for innovative instruction and assignments.
There is so much here that instructors and students alike will need to focus on a specific topic. The vast amount of relevant links, a newsletter, legislative updates, and professional development opportunities all help to make this a most impressive site covering the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Student teachers and teachers in special and general education classrooms should all bookmark this site.
Because the information included in this site is presented so clearly and concisely, parents and caretakers will find the site particularly useful.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: With the vast amount of information found on so many web pages, the site map and search engine make the finding of specifics easy. The information appears to be updated on a regular basis. This site is "Bobby approved" which should serve as a model to other sites.
Concerns: None
One member of the Teacher Education Review Board commented, "The feedback that is posted is interesting and somewhat useful, but it is presented in one long list. Eventually, it might be more efficient to post feedback under sub-headings."