The general framework of the project

ISaR is the largest existing, originally German, web-based database and resource centre in the field of inclusive education and rehabilitation of children and young people with visual impairment (VI). ISaR also has the possibility to function as a virtual workspace, i.e. a pedagogical laboratory online. It supports all persons involved in inclusion of children and young people with VI. Furthermore a quarterly newsletter is published in german. The name of the project is an acronym of the words Inclusion of Students with visual impairment at Regular schools.

The ISaR project was initiated by the department of Rehabilitation and Education of visual impairment at the Technical University Dortmund. The university of Dortmund is based in North Rhine Westphalia and one of the four universities which offer courses for students specializing in teacher training for education of children and young people with VI. The German ISaR project started in February 2001 and has been mainly funded by the Heidehofstiftung GmbH in Stuttgart.

The need for a centralized ‘resource centre’ in the form of a database became evident as more and more children and young people with VI in Germany were being integrated into the regular school system and the decentralization of the educational system made spreading the knowledge and know-how outside the special school system crucial. Counselling and support for children with VI in regular schools and in special schools require special knowledge and raise many questions and produce some problems all over the world. On the other hand many problems have been solved by teachers, parents and other people involved in their education, many good learning materials have been worked out, methods tested, organizational forms established etc. But in most of the cases the specific knowledge and know-how referred to one particular situation and the knowledge gained, remained in the given school or institution.

The initial idea on enlarging the ISaR to become an international (English) database and resource center was put forward at an ICEVI Europe Workshop on Teacher Training – preparing teachers of the visually impaired to support integration/inclusion – in Poland 2002. The interest among the participants was palpable. As the German ISaR had got a good start, Dortmund University wanted to give other countries in Europe which might not have the financial opportunities to create a data base of their own, a chance to use the existing framework. This has been realized in 2009.

ISaR intends to promote the chances of children and young persons with visual impairments for participation in regular education and to help schools develop competence for inclusion. It became clear that ISaR depends on support from and cooperation with many colleagues at special and regular schools, with parents and students. Only through cooperation with colleagues in other countries, through exchange and networking further development and a better quality of inclusive education can be achieved. ISaR is looking forward to receiving user feedback as well as materials for the data bank from all of you.

ISaR International flyer

The ISaR flyer outlines all relevant activities of ISaR International. You can download it as a pdf file.

The following paragraph descripes each work area of ISaR International in greater detail and links to available databases.

ISaR International offers

1. The home page - contains current information and news

2. The Didactic Pool - Development and Maintenance of a Collection of Instructional Methods and Solutions will

  • initiate an exchange of existing ideas, proved lesson plans and projects in close cooperation with colleagues, parents and students,
  • gather and make available examples of good practice and their implementation
  • make available information and possible solutions to specific questions
  • offer advice on teaching designs and methods that facilitate inclusive learning for students with and without visual impairments.

3. Didactic Laboratory - Virtual Workshop

This laboratory makes it possible for a closed circle of teachers to work together on a project before publishing the result on the ISaR didactic pool.

4. Databases with Teaching and Learning Materials

The database of teaching and learning material will consist of books, games and other commercial materials that are adapted or suitable to the needs of students with visual impairments or blindness. Apart from materials for the individual school subjects there are also games, children's books and assistive devices. The collection will give information on where they may be available for purchasing. They will be selected from the range of products of publishers and vendors of assistive devices.

5. Database with Literature

ISaR offers a database of literature on inclusion and VI which can be searched thoroughly. The intention of the project is to provide a broad collection. Topics include general inclusive education as well as specific issues on visual impairment. All entries come with a short abstract. That way the users can obtain more information on the content of the text. The database can be searched by full-text and keyword search. Entries of articles and texts that are available online also provide the respective links.

6. ISaR-Web & Databases

Apart from the four specific areas of work which was just described, the ISaR homepage will offer a link list of institutions and other useful databases.

Supported by Heidehof-Stiftung, Stuttgart
Logo ISaR

ISaR - Inclusive Services and Rehabilitation