(DEMO USERS: In this demo, clicking the IRIS logo (above-left) will always take you to the demo account page.)

Top Tips for PD Providers

Our tips for professional development providers include many suggestions about how to use IRIS resources and online tools. Read on or click the link to download an annotated copy of your own!

Take advantage of all the IRIS Center has to offer: Modules, Case Studies, Information Briefs, Activities, Interviews, Evidence-Based Practice Summaries, Video Vignettes, Sample Syllabi, and more!


  • Use Modules in face-to-face, hybrid, or online professional development.
  • Show teachers how to navigate the STAR Legacy Cycle by showing the video “Navigating an IRIS STAR Legacy Module” and by doing a Module together as an in-service activity.
  • Challenge teachers to complete two Modules of their choice before the next training.
  • Show teachers the Module Outline to use for notes; use it yourself to preview the Module.
  • Let teachers know they should expect to spend 1-4 hours on each Module; they can break it up or do it all at once.
  • Assign the Module’s Assessment questions to supplement teachers’ professional action plans.
  • Remind teachers the IRIS resources are free and available 24/7.

Information Briefs, Activities, Interviews

  • Use these additional resources to support inservice events by supplementing books/reading, opening with attention getters, enhancing discussions, and supporting professional development topics.
  • Have teachers present Information Briefs on the professional development topic.
  • Show teachers how Activities enhance other IRIS resources, such as Modules and Case Studies.
  • Use Interviews to allow teachers to hear more in depth conversations about hot topics from experts in the field.

Evidence-Based Practice Summaries

  • Explore the IRIS-vetted Evidence-Based Practice Summaries.
  • Prepare your teachers to become consumers of research and to understand what makes data reliable and valid.
  • Accustom your teachers to using IRIS-vetted Evidence-Based Practice Summaries instead of broad Internet searches.
  • Inform your teachers about where to find and how to identify evidence-based practices for use in their teaching.
  • Use the Summaries as handouts to provide more detail about practices described in textbooks.

Case Studies

  • Model cooperative learning in your inservice by grouping teachers to work on Case Studies.
  • Model differentiated instruction by assigning the Case Studies’ scenarios to different teachers based on levels of experience and grade level.
  • Use one Case Study with the whole groups, then explore different levels based on individual needs.
  • Use Case Studies and STAR sheets to problem solve real-life classroom challenges.
  • Discuss how STAR sheets can be used in Professional Learning Communities.

Video Vignettes

  • Explore videos on a variety of topics.
  • Hear stories of individuals with disabilities and their family members.
  • Use videos as a coaching tool to improve classroom practice.

PD Planning

  • Use posted Planning Forms to integrate IRIS in your PD events.
  • Brainstorm ways to apply the information to current situations within each participant’s classroom.
  • See to it that participants leave the training with a plan of action based on their needs.
  • Foster cooperation among colleagues with districts (e.g., general educators, special educators, and related service providers).
  • Assign district level or school level needs to tailor professional development and align IRIS resources.

Tech Tips

  • Expand the content to full screen for better viewing by clicking the page expander in the upper-right corner of your browser window.
  • Show videos in full screen for easier viewing by clicking the full-screen button in the bottom-right of the video clip.
  • Add closed-captioning to videos by clicking the CC in the bottom-right of the video clip.
  • Find resources quickly under IRIS Resource Topics on the homepage.
  • Remind teachers to update software before using IRIS resources by using links to the required software in Help & Support.
  • Click on the Help & Support link at the top-right of the page if you need additional assistance.
  • Print or save your favorite resources by selecting the printer or PDF icon at the top of the page.
  • Use your mouse or trackpad to scroll through a page when the scroll-bar is not showing.
  • Receive training through online navigation videos, Webinars, and Web Tours or face-to-face at an IRIS Seminar or Work Session.

More IRIS Resources

  • Watch videos on “Navigating the IRIS Website” and “Navigating the IRIS Resource Locator (IRL).”
  • Find the IRIS Module about Adult Learning Theory, Sample Syllabi, Sample Wrap-Around Content Maps, Planning Forms, and Manuals & Answer Keys to some IRIS resources.
  • Review evidence that IRIS resources are effective.
  • Read articles that cite the work of the IRIS Center.
  • Locate IRIS Modules, Case Studies, Activities, Information Briefs, Video Vignettes, and more.
  • Find resources available in Spanish.
  • Locate other federally funded projects through the Web Resource Directory.
  • Explore tools that list films and books that feature characters with disabilities.
  • Use a glossary of special education terms.
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