This is a distance learning course, concentrating on uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. It also is intended to give you enough web sites and leads-in to more web sites to be a continuously useful resource for your learning and doing.

This is a PASS/FAIL course. Therefore, SELECT and BASE YOUR WORK on those areas that best match your current interests. You can return any time to areas that match future concerns and changing interests--one of the many advantages of on-line learning

Assessment is based on work you produce in series of essays/listings for each Essential Question or topic you "connect with," and with an annotated list of sites supporting your views and reflecting your web work. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.

For instance, you might write “The site XXXX [] gave me a different perspective on how to help students learn _____. It also cleared up for me something I was confused about, and that is what educators mean by __________.” Certainly you would want to elaborate more.

This work may be emailed to me at, or snail-mailed to me at Chad C. Osborne 13634 Leadwell St. Van Nuys, CA 91405. If you email the work, you may wish to put it in a Zip file, which compresses text and makes it easier to send over the 'Net.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION 1: Based on the links on web sites specified below, what is involved in an "Individualized Education Plan," and what roles might I be expected to play as a classroom teacher?

  1. UNDERSTANDING THE IEP PROCESS -- An IEP give details about the educational supports and services that will help the child with a disability receive valuable instruction in special education. New regulations emphasize that the IEP team must consider a student's strengths as well as areas of weakness when formulating an educational plan. This page and its links to sample forms is key for coming to terms with the IEP process.

    ESSENTIAL QUESTION 2: Based on the links on web sites specified below, what range of special needs am I likely to encounter as a classroom teacher?

    1. The Learning Disabilities Association of California -- Learning disabilities (LD) are hidden disabilities that affect many individuals who usually have average or above average intelligence, but are unable to achieve at their potential. People from all economic and social levels may have unique learning differences. Estimates of the percentage of the school-age population who have specific learning disabilities as defined by the Education of the Handicapped Act of 1975 range from 5% to 20%. The links on this site will show you what you can expect and do in facing the challenge of included learning disabled students.
    2. Special Needs Schools In Capetown -- Our project is about Special Needs schools in Cape Town.The aim of this topic is to let more people become aware of these disabilities and support the schools as well as become more supportive of the children that attend these schools.
    3. RIPPLE -- Our website explores the impact that inclusion has had on education for both special education students and general education students. We wanted to know if placing students with disabilities in general education classes led to increased success for the special education students, and if it was beneficial for the general education students as well.
    4. Dyslexia: the Gift -- the positive talents that give rise to dyslexia, and knowledge about the best ways for dyslexic people to learn.

    ESSENTIAL QUESTION 3: Based on the links from the following web sites, what might I do to accomodate the needs of gifted and talented students also "included" in my classes?

    Among the immense variety of ways in which individuals are different, we all have gifts and talents. This is a perspective helpful to take about "learning disabled," as well as the more traditionally defined gifted and talented students. This question addresses both the specific and broader meanings of gifts and talents.

    1. A.D.D. The Karmic View -- Presents an interesting cross cultural view of this specific learning disability.
    2. The Animal School -- A fable of a school where differences are treated as deficits.
    3. National Curriculum of Britain: Inclusion -- Schools have a responsibility to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils. This statutory inclusion statement sets out three principles for developing an inclusive curriculum which provides all pupils with relevant and challenging learning.
    4. Education: Gifted and Talented Students -- Another key site with numerous links, including some exploring the combination of Learning Disability with Giftedness.
    5. Gifted & Talented Education
    6. School Equity and Access
    7. Making Inclusion Work

    ESSENTIAL QUESTION 4: Based on the links from the following web sites, what strategies might I use to accomodate the needs of the individual differences "included" in my classes?

    1. Teaching Strategies and Techniques -- Specific by type of disability problem; very practical!
    2. Characteristics of Behavior Disorders & Emotional Disturbance -- Terrific array of sites, including Teaching Strategies
    3. Collaborative Teaching: Special Education for Inclusive Classrooms -- In particular, read Chapter 6 on Accomodation Strategies, applicable to both teaching and testing.
    4. The National Association of Special Education Teachers -- the only national membership organization dedicated solely to meeting the needs of special education teachers and those preparing for the field
    5. Differentiated Instruction -- You’ll never find a job in the Lake Wobegon School District, where all students conveniently arrive above average in their academic readiness. The long-term solution for challenges presented by inclusion is to progressively shift to differentiated instruction.
    6. Parents Helping Parents -- A family resource center serving parents of children with special needs. Consider roles parents might play; also see Tips for Parents, Families and Teachers for suggested lines of "division of labor."
    7. Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring -- Studies show that both the tutors and the tutees show academic and attitudinal improvement as a result of participating in the tutoring process. This is a cost-effective means to provide individualized help.
    8. Cooperative and Collaborative Learning -- Students work together on academic tasks in small groups to help themselves and their teammates learn together. This strategy has been used successfully on all levels.

    ESSENTIAL QUESTION 5: Based on the links from the following web sites, what strategies might I use to accomodate testing and assessment to the needs of the individual differences "included" in my classes?

    We operate in an era of Standards and high-stakes testing for all students. Some states allow modifications of testing for students with disabilities. The SAT has recently begun offering adjustments in time limits for learning disabled students. Is it equitable and fair to test all students with the same tests, even though all do not have the same abilities? How should included students be assessed? What modifications are warranted for them? How should students be screened to qualify for special education services? How should they be periodically re-evaluated? How might assessment be used to improve leaning?

    These are questions to guide you through the following links. They are questions many teachers continue to ask themselves today.

    1. Assessment: A Key Component of Special Education and Education Reform
    2. Testing Students with Disabilities [ERIC Digest] -- summarizes concerns in light of federal law and regulations.
    3. Screening for Special Diagnoses [ERIC Digest] -- Discusses the uses and limitations of preliminary screening for special education diagnosis
    4. Accommodation Strategies -- Chapter 6 of an online book, gives a basis for determining accommodations that should be made for testing special education students. The same accommodations used in the classroom should be the ones used in testing.
    5. What Do Tests Test? -- By Howard Gardner. States the high stakes testing controversy in light of inherent limits of testing.
    6. How Important Should One Test Be? -- Discusses proper uses of tests and controversial aspects of their current use
    7. Teachers Learn from Looking Together at Student Work -- This proposes a focus for assessment that improves teaching and learning
    8. Understanding the Special Education Process: A Guide for Parents -- Shows what happens from the time a child is referred for evaluation and is identified as having a disability, through the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
    9. Learning Disabilities, Special Education Assessment Professionals -- Shows areas covered by assessment professionals in this field, a useful guide to considering tests and modifications
    10. ASSESSMENT MATTERS! Toward Authentic Assessment -- Has over 60 sites to virtually every aspect of assessment, including Portfolios, rubrics, specific content area suggestions, and test construction.

    ESSENTIAL QUESTION 7: Based on the links from the following web sites, how might I assist in planning for transition for students "included" in my classes?

    All students benefit from effective guidance and information about post-high school work and college options, even moreso special education students. IDEA, the federal legislation that regulates the rights of the disabled, requires that planning for life after high school begins at age 14. These links focus on transition services, how to help the child gain as much independence as possible, and how to move from being a student to being a member of the community. Only about 20% of high school students complete college; most high school guidance programs, in fact many feel that most of the high school curriculum, are oriented toward this minority of students. Ensuring that all students have access to high quality career-related learning programs and systems is critical to sustaining education in a democracy, and to unlocking student motivation through contact with competent, caring adults in a variety of settings.

    Since about 80% of high school students will look to find a place in the working world without a college career, including but not at all limited to the majority of special need students, it is imperative that career guidance, school to work transition programs, and wider use of internships and apprenticeships are needed. Transcending barriers through cross-age tutoring and cross-generational projects will both further transition and strengthen schools. Helping students set and reach higher academic, career and personal goals depends largely on the models they see for reaching real life gains and rewards. The web can be a tremendous aid to students, families and schools; an excellent resource is, that includes sites for students with disabilities.

    1. California CareerZone -- Information on careers, job requirements and outlook, Self-Assessments, Reality Check of independent-living expenses, and a Search Feature that makes it easy to find job data on any career.

    2. Best Practices in Planning for Transition from School to Adult Life -- Is a Kansas site with excellent examples of the varied elements of transition. This site is a “mini-course” in itself to learn the in’s and out’s of this legally demanded and ethically required planning process for secondary students.
    3. Transition -- Understanding the elements required for effective transition planning is the focus of this site.
    4. Transition: Life After High School -- Discusses the legal requirements for planning with secondary students
    5. The Wisconsin Center on Education and Work -- Shows a number of areas of focus typical of the best state-wide leadership in school-to-work transitions with equity for all secondary students.
    6. Equity/Special Populations -- Note this site’s summary of projects
    7. The University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration -- Describes its Transition Services Program Area works to enable schools and community service agencies to better prepare secondary level youth with disabilities for life as productive, responsible adults in the community.
    8. Teens with Disabilities - Transition to Adulthood -- Discusses transition-planning tips for parents, as well as teachers of teens
    9. Charting a Course for the Future -- A comprehensive ste!
    10. Taking Charge of Special Needs: Recent College Grad Shares Wisdom of Experience -- Written by a recent college graduate who has cerebral palsy
    11. Model Transition Projects/Transition System Change Projects/Technical Assistance/ Information Dissemination/Transition-Related Web Sites -- Lists a wide array of transition projects
    12. Tackling the Tough Skills -- Adult life skills/teen life skills

    ESSENTIAL QUESTION 8: Based on the links from the following web sites, how might I adapt to Bilingual, English Language Learning Special Needs students included in my classes?

    Very seldom does life hand us challenges one at a time. We all need to deal with multiple obstacles, as many of our special education students and their families have learned. According to the U.S. Office of Special Education, an estimated 948,000 children may both be linguistically different and have disabilities (based on 1985 data). It is probably safe to assume that the same percent of language minority students as other students need special education; this would be 12-15%. To have learning disabilities and also be an English language learner raises fear and prejudice in some people in school and society. This fear and prejudice is rooted in what may be called the “Fear of the Other.”

    Our nation's motto, on the back of all our currency, is the Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one. The idea of multiculturalism is to preserve the richness and flavor of the many, of diversity, even as we strive to be one nation, one people. For those in the “majority,” this means learning to overcome fears and prejudice. Inclusion, embracing diversity, is part of the means to accomplish this.

    Teachers benefit from knowing where to find resources to teach for and to diversity, and to understand and adapt to those students seeking to master English and compensate for disabilities at the same time as they study academic subjects.

    1. Empowering Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students with Learning Problems -- Takes a pro-bilingual stance in stressing the self-concept outcome of retaining students’ first language
    2. Five Strategies to Reduce Overrepresentation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education -- Considers why more minority children are served in special education than we would expect based on their percentage in the general school population, and what can be done to increase equity
    3. Functional Language Instruction for Linguistically Different Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities -- Suggests using “ecological inventories” to determine vocabulary and concepts matched to the students’ world
    4. ESL Instruction and Adults With Learning Disabilities -- Offers practical methods for both instruction and teacher training based a review of research and experience with the ESL-Learning Disabilities population
    5. Referring Language Minority Students to Special Education -- Discusses process to ensure English language learners with special needs receive effective services