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. 🙂

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Web 3.0 Trends

By Paul Silli

Many consider Web 3.0 to be a change in the way websites are created and how people interact with them. Web 2.0 universally is viewed as how people collaborate and share information online while using social networks and other interactive services such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter…

Here are some Web 3.0 features according to ScienceLab 2011:

  • There is Real-time Data: Information is moving faster online today than it has ever been. Breaking news stories occur on Twitter and Real-time searches allow users to get the latest information within seconds by the touch of a keypad.
  • Searches Online: Programmers are trying to teach computers to better understand people so they will know what we mean when we are searching online. For example, Google is developing ‘Semantic Web’ searching styles; This is when a computer understands what people are saying when they are using jargon and slang expressions.
  • Mobile & Geography: Some say geography is playing a big role in the information posted online. The rise of GPS-enabled 4G phones and small handheld devices is feeding into the Web 3.0 trend.

It took more than 10 years for Web 2.0 to catch on as an accepted industry term. I think it will take some time for people to clearly define what Web 3.0 is for consumers.

What do you think? Is Web 3.0 just another netlingo?

Hybrid Learning… the new wave

By Paul Silli

Hybrid instruction refers to some K-12 & college classes offered to students where there is both traditional classroom instruction (first-hand meet and greet) and online learning activities accessed through the Internet.

Hybrid classes can effectively combine Blooms Taxonomy and the Core Knowledge Sequence. Students have the opportunity to make meaningful connections with their teachers — yet are no longer required to travel to campus everyday in order to attend courses because a lot of the workload can be accessed online.

Going Hybrid

In order to make a class “Internet-ready,” many teachers need to adjust their class instruction and move away from traditional lecture materials. In doing so, they are making their lessons more  beneficial than using traditional classroom instruction. Rather than having students sit in a lecture hall taking notes, teachers now can offer many “active-learning” activities such as researching case studies, emailing essays, promote self-tests, offer in-depth tutorials, create podcasts that can be used to review instructional material, and develop interactive online projects. I use Google Docs to give students group projects online. It is free and user-friendly.

For example, I have many Internet activities and podcasts within my Silli’s Tech Class website. The content on my site is derived from using the ISTE Standards and created for middle school (5-8) students. Here is my site: http://sillitech.wordpress.com/

Are Hybrid Education methods a better way to teach? Let me know your thoughts. 🙂

Desktop Publishing

By Paul Silli

Desktop Publishing (also known as DTP) is when work is created using software such as MS Word to design page layouts on a computer. For example, DTP can range from writing a business letter, creating an events calendar or brochure, to making a flier or writing a news article…

How do you use computers? What DTP skills would you like to learn? (Include three sentences for a full-grade). Put your ideas in the comment section below and remember to only write your first name and last initial in the comment box. You do NOT need to include a website or email.

What made you feel like you were growing up?

By Paul Silli

Online Journal: Write about an event or something that happened to you that made you feel like you were growing up (Five sentences for full grade). Put your first name only in the comment box below and then press the submit button. You do NOT need to include an email and website. Your work will appear online soon. 😉

Should teachers be allowed to search student backpacks?

By Paul Silli

What was designed to hold textbooks and school supplies now seems to carry things like knives, candy and MP3 players. Today many students use backpacks to store items that often have nothing to do with their education. But should  teachers have the right to search student backpacks?

It is a tough question! If we want to teach our kids about respect, trust and responsibilities — so they grow to be valuable citizens in society, how do we accomplish this while maintaining their right to privacy (although they are under 18)? This pertains to the 4th Amendment.

If a student is accused of bringing a weapon or maybe on a lighter note — an electronic device that is not allowed on campus and a teacher is told about it… what should be the protocol? It is a teacher’s responsibility to provide a safe, learning environment. However, how can we effectively teach students about privacy laws if we violate their property?

Reaction time! What do you think?

Why Teach through E-Learning?

elearning[1]By Paul Silli
What are some of the reasons you would want to create or teach an eLearning program? There are many advantages and some disadvantages to eLearning.

Advantages of e-Learning

  • Anytime & Place: A participant can access the learning program at any time that is convenient -not just during the specific 1-3-hour period that is set for a conventional course. That means they can be anywhere to do the needed work.
  • Asynchronous Interactions: Unlike face-to-face or telephone conversations, electronic mail does not require participants to respond immediately. As a result, interactions can be more succinct and to-the-point, discussion can stay more on-track, and people can get a chance to craft their responses. This can lead to more thoughtful and creative conversations.
  • Ongoing Assessment Opportunities: Learning is checked everyday by activities and interactions among learners. You can easily see if students are learning through input.
  • Group Collaboration: Electronic messaging creates new opportunities for groups to work together, creating shared electronic conversations that can be thoughtful and more permanent than voice conversations.
  • New Educational Methods: Many new tools and programs like using Web 2.0 applications can offer innovative learning strategies that can become economically feasible through online courses. For instance, the technology makes it feasible to utilize faculty anywhere in the world and to put together faculty teams that include master teachers, researchers, scientists, and experienced professional developers. Approach is global and media rich.
  • Access to Vast Web Resources: Through instructor’s webliographies, del.icio.us and many search engines, the student has the unprecedented advantage of knowledge resources immediately available at the click of a button.
  • Integration of Computers: The online learner has access to a computer (hopefully), so computer applications can be used without excluding some participants. This means, for instance, that a mathematical model implemented in a spreadsheet can easily be incorporated into a lesson and downloaded so all participants can run, explore, and refine the model and then share their findings with others.
  • Lower Cost: The cost and budget needs are far lower than a traditional summer school program or office setting. This is because the cost to hire an instructor, allocate digital and Internet resources and maintenance are much lower to maintain. The instructor’s salary can be a bit lower, there is little to no insurance, security, paperwork, electricity bills, or support staff needed for an e-Learning program. Because the course is online, costs are greatly reduced.

Disadvantages 

  • Access to a Computer /Internet: Some learners may not have a computer or the needed computer skills with programs such as word processing, Internet browsers, and e-mail. Without these skills and software it is not possible for the learner to succeed in eLearning.
  • Comfort Levels: Another issue is e-Learners need to be very comfortable using a computer. Slow Internet connections or older computers may make accessing course materials difficult. This may cause the learners to get frustrated and give up. In many cases a students also needs an Internet connection and printer to do assigned work.
  • Self Motivation Issues: ELearning also requires time to complete work, especially those with assignments and interactive collaborations. This means students have to be highly motivated and responsible because all work performed is on their own. Learners with low motivation may not complete work on time or at all…
  • Isolation: One more disadvantage of e-learning is students may feel isolated or unsupported while learning. Instructors are not always available to help the learner so students need to have good discipline to work independently – without direct assistance. ELearners may become bored or overwhelmed because of the lack of  interactions that can take place within a course setting. 

What do you think? Is eLearning worth the fuss, or is it just a trend?