CEC Website Review
Founded in 1922, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is an organization which works for the education of children with special needs. The professionals at CEC consist of a team of individuals who have devoted themselves to betterment of the lives of children with special gifts or disabilities. The website provides educational services and the organization itself conducts a host of webinars to for its cause. In addition to the aforementioned services, the CEC team also offers professional development and training courses to train individuals in order to ensure they are up to the tasks that lie ahead of them.
Before proceeding on with the main review, let’s consider the usability features of the web site due to the fact that the primary audience includes people with special needs or disabilities. The main page loads at moderate speed. The interface view is suitable for mass audience, except for the ‘Member Resources Hub’ which, due to its red and green theme, can be difficult to view for colorblind people. The search button is present on top of the page which yields accurate search results organized by categories, however, the search keywords are not highlighted when results are displayed. The headings give a preview of information when you direct the mouse over them. You can even search within a specific heading during the preview.
Presentation of the Web Pages
To a great extent, the website ensures a legible viewing to audiences of all kinds. Throughout the website, you will see relevant helpful illustrations which add to the user experience. The homepage is a nexus of important things like latest news, members’ login section, upcoming events and a flash banner advertising important events and updates. The tab on the top of the homepage contains an array of menus which are used to navigate around the site. Right below this menu is the site navigation address which tells you where you are on the website in case you want to trace your steps. There is also a small section featuring social networks icons which takes you to CEC’s presence on these networks.
The homepage features a simple, sleek and clean interface and there’s no clutter to hinder the user experience. The color palette is wisely chosen, and with high contrast colors like blue on white, the website retains excellent legibility. The font styles and font sizes ensure easy readability from a suitable distance
There are useful hyperlinks on the homepage. If we scroll down to the bottom of the homepage, we see that there are navigation hyperlinks for four key areas on the website namely Membership, Resources, Professional Development and About Us. All the subsequent menus follow the style of placing all hyperlinks in the left pane while the information relating to a hyperlink resides on the right side.
Using the Website Features
Much of the content on the website is limited to members. The website features a paid subscription which allows you to use premium features such as the CEC journals, study and education material. There are different types of memberships which cater to different audiences, each with its own perks, benefits, rates and access limitations. The membership section also highlights a Mentoring Program which can be undertaken by interested individuals. This program is intended for students as well. The mentor information form can be accessed from the ‘CEC/CEC-PD Mentoring Program’ subsection in the Members tab.
CEC publications can be found in the ‘Publications’ tab on the top of the page. These publications are paid and require a membership in order to be accessed. There is a dedicated CEC Store for this purpose which lets users buy publications like eBooks, journals, curriculum, and other CEC merchandise. A catalog showcasing all the publications can be downloaded from the aforementioned page.
In order to promote collaboration between educators, CEC has made a CECommunity which can be used by professionals to communicate, collaborate and share their ideas in order to improve the education standards. The community is just like an Internet forum where people can talk about their ideas and in this case, gather motivation from their peers to continue to deliver better education to the special and gifted.
4. Professional Development
Professional Development at CEC is one of the primary concerns of the organization. There is a ‘Professional Development’ tab on the top of the homepage which can be used to gain access to this section. To further this cause, CEC conducts webinars, events and professional training sessions all year round. An annual convention is held where all professionals, whether teacher or student, can come and collaborate amongst themselves. CEC members are offered a discount for registration to the CEC Annual Convention. There is also a preconvention workshop, with separate registration, which is conducted to prepare students and professionals for the annual convention.
a) Professional training workshops, webinars and events are held regularly to train professional educators.
b) There is an Events Calendar which highlights all upcoming events on the calendar so we can adjust our schedule to register for any of them.
c) Job Profiles in Special Education gives us an in-depth view of all the job positions in special education.
Teachers of grades 1-12 can get help from this section by registering for one of the events in order to collaborate with other professionals to improve their practice. The Professional Training courses conducted by CEC allow for special education teachers to get training according to international standards. Finally, Career Center gives teachers a list of available job openings so they can easily find work in their respective line of work.
Special Ed Topics
1. International Special Education:
CEC ensures quality education for all special children with its global coverage and partnerships with organizations like WHO, UNESCO and UNICEF. There is an array of international organizations which help educate, fund and support individuals with or without disabilities. CEC works in collaboration with these organizations to provide more opportunities to special students for better education worldwide. CEC co-hosted the RIGA 2010 conference in order to help recognize children with disabilities as equal members of the society. The Step-by-Step Resource Center provides exhaustive information about reforms of childhood education systems.
a) Children in the Asia-Pacific region with various backgrounds do not get proper education and it remains one of the biggest challenges for CEC.
b) UNICEF has the biggest worldwide coverage program with services expanding in 190 countries and holds everyone accountable for the promises made to the children.
c) In RIGA 2010, the gist of the convention was to promise equal rights and opportunities to all people, regardless of their place of birth or their disabilities.
Teachers of grades 1-12 can get useful information from this area by studying up the Global Reports on International Special Education, acquainting themselves with the organizations involved in this noble cause so they can contact them for help. Outcomes of RIGA 2010 will also educate teachers on the latest policies and agreements. Finally, the Step-by-Step Resource Center will help them with training and professional development to improve their skills.
2. Specialty Areas:
This area informs the user on issues faced by special education and successful transitions of people with disabilities into society. There is a K-12 Common State Standard which is practiced for instructing the students. It also sheds light on bullying of special children in the school. Individualized Education Programs are tailored programs for the people provided at the comfort of the people. Furthermore, the tiered intervention systems provide an understanding of the level of attention a student requires. Finally, we get to know about the living conditions of poor and homeless children who deserve proper education.
a) CEC’s K-12 Common Core Standards have made their way into global incorporation in order to better serve the special education system.
b) According to a 2007 survey, about 80% children with disabilities are bullied at school. This makes them de-motivated to fit into the society.
c) For poor students, the McKinney-Vento Act states that schools must not ask families about immigration status, and must not segregate homeless students so that they do not feel left out.
Teachers of grades 1-12 can get information from this area by understanding CEC’s K-12 Common Code Standards guidelines in order to improve their practice. They can host Bullying Prevention events and suggest implementation of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) in their society. Furthermore, they can study the tiered intervention system to get more disabled children to participate in the society. Finally they can study the poverty and homelessness section to identify poor and homeless students and help them.
3. Who are Exceptional Learners
This area gives an overview of the different types of exceptionalities and their indicators for application to a particular individual. This is not just limited to children with disabilities but also children with special gifts such as highly developed intellectual capabilities.
a) If a child suffers from emotional disturbance, autism does not apply to it and it requires treatment concerning emotional disturbance.
b) Children with gifted minds or creative capabilities require special schools in order to fully develop their advanced capabilities.
c) A toddler under 3 years of age risks experiencing a substantial developmental delay if early intervention services are not provided.
Teachers of grades 1-12 can inform themselves of these exceptional conditions and help raise awareness in schools so that the relevant children of the society get the treatment and education they truly deserve.
The CEC website is an education portal which hits on all fronts of the relevant subjects in the area of special education. The website design takes good care of the fact that audiences with disabilities may use the site and thus ensures a perfectly legible, clutter-free experience to the user. The website features its own store and community which makes it a complete portal for anyone seeking information about special education.
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) (n.d.). Special Edition Topics.
Retrieved October 22, 2013, from Council for Exceptional Children web site: http://www.cec.sped.org/Special-Ed-Topics
Chrysan (2012, May 7). How to Review A Website.
Retrieved October 22, 2013, from Hub pages web site: http://chrysan.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Review-a-Website
Rand Fishkin (2011, October 27). A Framework for Site Reviews (with Examples).
Retrieved October 22, 2013, from Moz web site: http://moz.com/blog/a-framework-for-site-reviews
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