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MERLOT II

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Peer Review


Federal Resource Center for Special Education

 

Ratings

Overall Numeric Rating:

2 stars
Content Quality: 1 star
Effectiveness:
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Sep 02, 2001 by Teacher Education
Overview: The Federal Resource Center for Special Education is a five-year contract between the Academy for Educational Development, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Their website is a repository of federally related information regarding individuals with disabilities.
Type of Material: Information?academic and administrative and legislative
Technical Requirements: Need Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) and link is provided on the FRC site.Some information is available in either Microsoft Word or Acrobat Reader.
Identify Major Learning Goals: FRC provides a national perspective for establishing technical assistance activities within and across regions by identifying and synthesizing emerging issues and trends. This site is a resource for information on those issues and trends.
Target Student Population: Special education in-service teachers, pre-service special education teachers, university faculty involved in training special education teachers, and parents of students who are disabled.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Knowledge of special education issues would provide a helpful background for the user of this site, as would knowledge of IDEA, and general special education termnology.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 1 star
Strengths: This site provides information on some of the major pieces of legislation that impact the education of children with disabilities. It also has links to several Federal agencies that administer programs that affect the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Substance over style! Bravo!

There is a section involving Special Education in an Era of School Reform. There are excellent resources in that section; e.g.,
Preparing Special Education Teachers
Michael Hardman, Ph.D., John McDonnell, Ph.D.,and Marshall Welch, Ph.D.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating:
Strengths: Ease with which instructors can incorporate some of the reading materials into a well-planned lesson. For research and class discussions, this site is very good if assigned ahead of time. The instructor will need to be very creative when building assignments.

This Teacher Education Review Board looks forward to the evolution of this site. The Federal Resource Center for Special Education (FRC) is a five-year contract between the Academy for Educational Development (AED), its partner, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Since the quality of resources this site has is excellent, this reviewer predicts that additional materials of similar quality will be added throughout the project and those additions will enhance the site?and consequently the service it provides.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Functionality is good. Because of the contend of this site, the lack of engagement and eye appeal was not of major concern for the Review Board. The Review Board however does ask that the authors of this site, consider these two areas when they revisit the design in the future.
General Comments:
?Promising Practices? is a promising feature of this site, when it becomes more populated with practices from more states. Most of the information is from Arkansas?kudos to Arkansas for disseminating their successful strategies.
Concerns: The layout changes. For example, http://www.dssc.org/frc/about.htm the left hand links are different from the left hand links at http://www.dssc.org/frc/nmpp/whatsnew.htm
Perhaps using a pop-up window for the link to the National Monitoring and Promising Practices Web Site would help. That way the user would not actually have to ?leave? the FRC site.