Teaching students with Asperger’s Syndrome

have-fun-teachingBy Paul Silli

According to OAR (Organization for Autism Research), there are many strategies a teacher can use to be successful when working with students who have asperger’s.

First, allow “extra-time” for your kids to complete assignments. Don’t rush your class and establish an easy-going pace. Try to minimize class changes because students who have asperger’s favor set routines within their academic and social engagements.

It also is essential to know that students who have asperger’s are prone to be “visual learners.” Offer many “hands-on” activities with pictures/graphics and show them what they need to learn. Kinesthetic learning is vital for understanding.

You should keep your language simple… Avoid complex dialog – unless learning a new term is the objective. To introduce new words use visual aids and examples.

If there is a need to change your class — tell your kids why things are changing. Take the time to explain why you are going in a different direction and review any new goals. This will ease tension.

With any successful teaching approach — be sure to offer a lot of positive feedback and reassurance to your students. All kids need consistent monitoring to stay focused and on track.

Actively keep your students parents informed about their child’s progress. If you have parental support your students will do great. To create a comfortable class environment you could have items placed around your room that represent a topic or display characteristics that are interesting to you. Kids love getting to know their teacher — so share things about yourself that make you approachable and friendly.

Additionally, collaborate with your peers. You will learn a lot by asking what your fellow teachers are doing in their classrooms.

Finally, try to prevent behavior outbursts or “meltdowns” by creating a stress-free class. Prevention through the use of appropriate academic, environmental, social and sensory support systems are effective. Be aware that you will have behavior issues; but if you are calm and fair your problems will be minimal. 🙂


Interview with Janet Lowe of UCD

interview[1]Paul Silli

On Tuesday I had the excellent opportunity to interview Janet Lowe who is the Director of Employee Learning & Development at the University of Colorado.  We discussed many aspects of the eLearning field. Included is the presentation of that phone interview (please wait a few seconds for load).

Creating a Good Website Layout

Layout Website DesignHere are a few suggestions you can use to create a well balanced, legible, user friendly website layout design. You should ask yourself or a client some key questions such as:

  • Is the product design theme: (light, friendly & fun), (sleek & professional), (innovative & techie), or (scientific & savvy)? Please describe the “feel” you want from the design. The feel of a site is essential!
  • What colors do you want in the product? (Primary, pastel, or mixed-fresh). Visit this site for some great info and HTML Colors: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_colors.asp
  • What graphics, logos, images might help deliver the product message? Do you have any on-file images you want in the design?
  • What kind of layout do you prefer? For example, do you want a lot of white space and text block design, white-text on dark backgrounds (text blocks), three columns or two column designs, or maybe a simple one textbox content area?
  • Do you want a custom Header /Banner with your institution name and/or logo? What colors do you prefer?
  • Is there any text content messages you want highlighted in the layout (maybe important titles or communication tools emphasized – near top of site or center zone)?
  • Is there anything important you want to see in the site or product? (You could have them draw a sketch or explain)
  • Is there something I did not ask that you want included within the design or content of the site? (Please be specific)

Three Fundamental Layout Designs (Without getting too busy)

  1. Text block with center navigation bar (Basic)
  2. Two Column with side bar navigation left or right (Traditional)
  3. Three Column with side bar navigations (This site uses three column design)

The more your know about what you or your client wants the better the output. Please let me know your thoughts about layout design.

Technology In Education Conference 2009

event_logo1By Paul Silli

Hello to all you fellow teachers and techies out there. It’s that time of year again to “plan ahead” for the premier technology conference in the state of Colorado.  Please mark these important dates: June 23-26, 2009 – at Copper Mountain, Colorado.

What is the TIE Conference?

Technology in Education (TIE), is a Colorado-based organization founded in 1986 by a group of teachers with a vision to host a conference focusing primarily on the role technology plays in education (TIE, Online). It is a fun, four-day conference where attendees learn many new,  innovative methods using  technology in the classroom or corporate training setting.

The cost is $315 which includes: Exhibit Hall admission, Keynote & Featured speakers, 200+ interactive sessions, Conference orientation,
Free onsite wireless network for attendees, use in convention center meeting rooms, Complimentary Internet/e-mail stations in the CyberCafe,
TIE Conference t-shirt, Lunch every day of the conference (except Friday) and breakfast on Thursday, and a formal TIE dinner party on Thursday night.
Today, TIE has become the leading statewide conference helping teachers integrate technology tools, technology competencies, and information literacy skills into a standards-based curriculum. TIE is organized and managed by a governing board of nine volunteers. Its major objective is to host the four-day, hands-on technology conference in a beautiful mountain community during early summer that models the use of technology integration in the classroom…  For more info about TIE or to register visit:
http://www.tiecolorado.org/Welcome_312.htm. I hope to see you there!

Computer Hardware Audits for your School

800px-quick_overview_of_pc_hardware1By Paul Silli

If you have older computers in your school lab, but are unaware of the type of systems they are such as knowing the hard-drive memory, RAM, video card installed, mother-board specs, CPU speed, band-width capacity, etc. performing a computer hardware audit could supply you  with essential information to support your school district “approving” the purchase of new equipment. As you know new desktops could be used to assist in the educational demands of your students. With high-speed computers you could infuse innovative technologies such as using Web 2.0 applications (wikis, blogs, media, video, & network sharing) into your curriculum. An audit could support your cause to get new computers which will improve academic success with your students. By having speedy computers you can enhance your student skills by preparing them for world work, and the workstations will better support your instructional management by providing the opportunity to make interesting lessons which increases productivity. After all, speedy computers not only run many online applications but also will save you time because they are more efficient. A computer audit will offer you data which could show your school has slow, outdated computers by inventorying the hardware specifications. To run most technologies such as Web 2.0 — your computer has to be fast and modern in hardware design… 

You can perform a computer audit using the freeware program: Management Service DeskIt is a free online software tool to use to determine the specific hardware your systems have internally. It can be a bit time-consuming, but in the long run an audit will be worthwhile. Just be sure to learn the hardware of each unit running both on and off your schools network so you do not have to do it manually. Before conducting a hardware audit it is wise to get the support of your principal and IT-Staff members. They can be helpful in obtaining the audit data you will need to support your claim to get a computer lab upgrade. Good luck! 😉

Teacher Technology Survey

 By Paul Silli

We really need your opinion. The below survey link is being conducted to gain important information about your experiences as a teacher. You are asked to kindly provide your “perceptions” about technology and how you use it with your students (14 questions). The responses to this survey will be analyzed by our IT-Staff to improve the quality of learning for our school. Your responses are confidential. Big thanks for participating. 

Storyboard Presentations: Ideas in Graphic Form

By Paul Silli

A presentation without a storyboard is like a wagon without a horse. Storyboarding should never be at the beginning of any creative project because you cannot get to this stage unless you have a clear vision of what you want (Indezine Online, 2). If you are undertaking a project for yourself or for a client, there would be little to be gained in using a storyboard without ideas – the storyboard is an element to capture and refine your thoughts.

What exactly is a storyboard? It is an organizational layout, that is put on paper or created on a computer as screen-shots. A storyboard is both abstract and physical. The abstract storyboard is a visualization or source of inspiration; and the physical is when you put your thoughts on paper in a timeline, graphical format. For instance:

Storyboard Example 1

In this example, the upper part shows a layout of the screen. The two middle boxes provide space to describe the interaction of buttons and text fields. Comments are added to detail the color scheme, text attributes, audio, and details for the programmer (Maricopa, 1).
Storyboard Example 2
For this example, you see two screen representations, one for the computer and one for a second screen that would detail a video (this was typical for multimedia where video was shown on an external device such as a VCR or a laser disk player). Again, there is space to define the interactive features, and the nature of additional media (Maricopa, 2).
Storyboard Example 3
This example provides a larger area for the representation of the computer screen, but provides plenty of room for describing what is needed. By having these areas on both sides, the storyboard artist can also use arrows to link descriptions to parts of the screen (Maricopa, 3).

No matter which storyboard format you choose, the following info should be included:

  • A sketch or drawing of the screen-shots, pages, or frames…
  • Color, layout/placement, and size of graphics included…
  • Actual text, title excerpts, if any, for each screen, page, or frame…
  • Color, size, and type of font, if there is text…
  • Narration, Animation, Video, Audio, other media, if any…
  • Audience interaction: target market directed…

Please visit: http://www.umass.edu/wmwp/DigitalStorytelling/Storyboard.htm, to see a storyboard worksheet that may help you develop your ideas.