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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) Homepage

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Aug 27, 2007 by Teacher Education
Overview: This is the website of the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), an educational, not-for-profit organization, that uses technology to expand opportunities for all people, including those with disabilities. CAST created Bobby, a Web-based tool that analyzes Web pages for their accessibility to people with disabilities.
Learning Goals: 1. Provide examples and rationales for the use of universal design for learning 2. Introduce issues of accessibility and provide responses for classroom teachers.
Target Student Population: Teacher candidates and professional educators that teach students at all levels, pre-K through university.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic knowledge of education would be helpful.
Type of Material: The CAST website includes several types of material, such as Collection, Reference Material, and Case Studies.
Recommended Uses: Any pre-service or in-service teacher training.
Technical Requirements: Acrobat Reader, QuickTime Plug-in, and Adobe Flash Player

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The content and variety of materials in the CAST website is current and comprehensive. It provides opportunities for learning across all disciplines and all grade levels. This site allows the development of content in a variety of ways of presentation to reach all learning styles. The resources provide current research and examples of application and practice, including research-validated examples and techniques for students to learn from and build upon. The entire website is a usable example of how to make learning materials accessible for all.
Concerns: The site is so comprehensive and filled with so many resources that a student might need some introductory instruction to use the site well from the beginning.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The site is comprehensive. It targets both in-service teachers as well as pre-service teachers. Not only does the site teach accessibility, it demonstrates it as well.
Concerns: When using this site to support a class, it is advisable that the instructor review and establish specific starting places for students.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The website is designed with several easy to use and familiar features such as, tabs at the top of the page, navigation links at the bottom of the page, and “bread crumbs” are provided for the user. A search area is provided on pages and there are many cross-linking to assist the user and to eliminate traps. It should also be noted that some links open in new windows.
Concerns: Be aware that some links open in new windows.

Other Issues and Comments: If being used in a lab setting, headsets for audio portions are recommended.