Educational Technology & Society 2(1) 1999
ISSN 1436-4522

California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse

(Website review)

Reviewer: William K. Harmaning
Associate Professor in Business; Technology Coordinator (EXCELL)
Mount Vernon Nazarene College, 800 Martinsburg Road
Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050, USA
Email: wharmani@mvnc.edu

1. Site URL:
  http://clearinghouse.k12.ca.us

2. Site title:
  California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse

3. Objective of the site:
  The objective of the site is to assist "California educators to identify the highest quality electronic learning resources. If an instructional program marketed to schools uses a computer, a VCR, or laserdisc player, a network or the Internet or any combination of these, the Clearinghouse will evaluate it for use in California schools." More than 900 K-12 educators throughout California have been trained as evaluators, and all programs recommended by the Clearinghouse are in full compliance with the Standards for Evaluation of Instructional Materials with Respect to Social Content.

4. Expected audience:
  The expected users are K-12 teachers, library media specialists, curriculum developers, technology coordinators, and home schooling leaders.

5. Main topics covered:
  The site is composed of a searchable database of materials, a database of publishers and producers, a help area for searching the materials database, a link to the Clearinghouse objectives and procedures, limited links to other educational Websites, a listing of publications available for download, a "What's New" area, access to the California Academic Content Standards, and an email link for comments or suggestions.

The centerpiece of this site is a continuously updated database of information on all types of instructional technology resources. These have been rated as either exemplary or desirable and have been found to be effective, technically excellent, and appropriate for use in a California classroom. The search scheme is simple and very effective. The user can select one or more search parameters. The more parameters that are selected, the more focused the result of the search. When the search is completed, the titles are displayed and can be used to open the complete citation. Linked to each evaluation is complete information about the producer or publisher of the material and access to other titles in the database by the same producer or publisher.

The help section is concerned with using the database and is extensive. The California Academic Content Standards link accesses any adopted or draft standards before the California State Boards. The publications listing includes documents like Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia, the Clearinghouse Archives, and Instructional Technology Resources Not Listed in the TIC Evaluations Database. The resources listed are those that had been reviewed and found not to be worthy of an exemplary or desirable rating. This listing is just a title with the year the review was done. An additional desirable feature would be a link to the producer or publisher so that the material could be ordered for preview and a local evaluation. The What's New link highlights new materials added to the database, new features of the database, and recent news about the Clearinghouse.

6. Extent, appropriateness and quality of external links:
  The links outside the Clearinghouse are "partners, contributors, or resources that are of value to educators. While unlike the Online Learning Experiences evaluated by the Clearinghouse, these web sites provide valuable resource for both teachers and students." The ten links range from Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators to the International Society for Technology in Education's website. This selection of links could be more extensive, then once any of the locations are accessed the links expand exponentially.

7. Special remarks
  The California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse is focused and clearly meets its stated objectives. This reviewer would rate this site as an excellent resource for K-12 educators and even some lower division college educators.

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