This site is part of the Discovery.com and the Discovery Channel. This is a good site for teachers and parents, it has teaching tools, updates on whats on TV, a teachers store, clip art and links to many informative sites.
Type of Material:
Useful reference for teachers (pre-service and in-service) and parents of students with mild disabilites.
Best viewed on Netscape and Internet Explorer 5.0 or better. Adobe Acrobat may be needed to access some pages. A free down load link is provided where needed. QuickTime is also needed for some sites. A link to the free down load is site is provided.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
This site provides information resources and activities for teachers in both general and special education classes.
Target Student Population:
Pre-service teachers who plan to teach in any one of three settings: general education classroom, special education classroom, or the inclusive classroom. Material contained in this site will be of interest mainly to teachers in the elementary grades. Parents who also are looking for ways to assist their child at home, may find the information contained in this site valuable.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
None noted by the reviewers.
Evaluation and Observation
This site provides multiple resources for both disabled and gifted students. Some of the resources listed are: Brain Buster activities; Clip Art Gallary; A Treasure Hunt Activity for teaching web surfing; A Puzzle Maker for teachers; Custom teaching tools for teachers to use such as quizz center, work sheet generation, and vocabulary quizes. The information is accurate, though dated in some places. Directions for most of the work sites are clear and easy to follow. Since this is basically a repository site, its value is only as great as the accuracy of the links included.
The specific page, "Special Education, Counseling and School Psychology is one of many different tools on this web site. It is tempting to explore multiple sites and one can easily get lost without specific direction/purpose.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site provides many resources for both pre-service and in-service teachers to meet many of the needs of both disabled and exceptional learners. The activities can be used by the teacher educator for informational purposes, demonstration of teaching materials, and activities. Because the material is visual only, the instructor must provide the narriation. There is also a discussion board and newsletter that allows users to get ideas and assistance from practitioners around the world.
There does not appear to be any identifiable learning outcomes. The reviewers express concern on this issue. There is also the concern that pre-service teachers will adopt the lessons presented and rely less on their own creativity in meeting needs of the individual learner.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Easy to navigate by both the teacher educator and pre-service/in-service teachers. The instructions for most of the activities (e.g. Puzzlemaker and Brain Boosters) are clear and easy to follow. These activities are engaging and allow the user to become an active participant. Most of the other sites are static and informational in nature.
While trying the American Sign Language Browser, one of the reviewers computer locked up and was forced to completely shut down and reboot. This happen twice. The third time it worked well. The directions for some of the activities are inadequate (example: Cybersurfari).
Other Issues and Comments:
The teacher educator will have to carefully guide their students through a familiarization of the site and its various features. A pre-service or even an in-service teachers first visiting this site could get overwhelmed and getting lost is a real possibility.