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. 🙂


Filezilla for FTP Host Editing

filezilla_logo[1]By Paul Silli

Hey, to all you FTP’ers out there! I am somewhat new to using FTP site editing for uploading & downloading files such as: .docs /.ppts /.pdfs and jpegs. My main domain and website host is at fatcow.com.  It was recommended that I use Filezilla (client version) to install onto my pc so I could easily upload files to my host site, and then create direct URL links to the files so people could access my work on the Internet.

filezilla screenshotThe Filezilla program is Open Source, meaning it is free for private use. It is easy and fun to use. However, it will take some time to learn (For example, dragging and dropping your files into the proper folders through its multiple layered windows); but the program works well.

For all of your FTP solutions, both a client and server-based version are available. There is Filezilla help support through its forums and wiki trackers. If you are new to FTP, you may want to give it a try. Let me know what you think. 😉

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!

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. 

What is Instructional Design?

By Paul Silli

Instructional Design and Technology is a comparatively new field dedicated to applying what is empirically understood about how humans learn and improve upon performance to the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of learning and performance support products, processes, and environments (eLearning, ref-7).

Instructional technologists understand and leverage technologies as both product (such as a Web-based course for distant learners, eLearning, or print-based job-aids for the workplace) and process (such as a formative approach to learner assessment and evaluating if a work was successful). Instructional technology is a unique, multidisciplinary profession that practices a variety of settings including industry, pre to K-12 schools, higher education institutions, to government work.

To further define the term, according to Wikipedia, Instructional Design is the practice of arranging media and content to help learners/teachers transfer knowledge most effectively. The process consists broadly of determining the current state of learner understanding, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some media-based “intervention” to assist in the transition.

There are many positions that reflect the practice of this incredible and growing field such as instructional designers in special technical training/curriculum, or performance consultants in industrial settings, and as professional teachers or technology coordinators in K-12 Education.

Why Hire an Instructional Designer?

  • Subject matter experts aren’t always effective as instructors in design implementation.
  • Teachers don’t always have the needed time to develop new curricula.
  • Instructional Designers know the systems for teaching a variety of students, from at-risk kids to working adults in the corporate field.
  • Instructional Designers can design instruction that works within the limits of your situation, such as restricted budgets, high teacher turnover, corporate needs, or specific learner development.

Gimp, Similar to Photoshop but Free

By Paul Silli


Gimp is a free photo + screen shot editor which is somewhat similar to Adobe Photoshop. It is a great Open Source Web 2.0 application. To access gimp visit http://www.gimp.org/. Gimp takes about 17 megabytes of compressed memory to download, and installs easily to your PC. If you notice the tag at the end of the link “.org.” Meaning, this is not a commercial software product. It is meant to be used by everyone, and with no obligations to its creators. Open source software is wonderful! 


Within the Gimp program you have the option to clone-edit, photo retouch, image author, and more… It has lighting effects, text editing, add lines, graphics, art, images, blur, burn, whiten, color manipulators, resize effects, and other features.  


For example, take a look at the two photos. The picture on the left is the original of my mom holding me at age two; and the picture on the right has been edited with Gimp. You can do a lot with this program. The clone feature and feather options are especially nice. With the right picture I lightened its tones, removed several blemishes, marks, and old stains. I also whitened the teeth and darkened the eyes. This program rocks. 😉




To download gimp visit: http://www.gimp.org/downloads/


Students learn more from “Clubs” then what we teach

By Paul Silli

281405sdc1.jpg     According to Frank Smith, author of “The Book of learning and Forgetting,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Smith_%28psycholinguist%29, teachers are often wasting their time in class teaching repetitive, mundane things that only promote short-term memory with their students. Smith believes, and supports his work with research that children, especially under seven years of age, learn more from the people & associations that they are surrounded with, then the Traditional View methods of teaching and learning. He argues that the Classical View of teaching and learning — is the best overall method for promoting long-term memory, and creating “real” learning outcomes. What he calls the “clubs” that we associate with, for example, the people we see day-to-day, the activities we participate in such as going to the gym, or hanging out at a local library, are more influential to our learning experiences, then sitting in a traditional classroom, and being “told” how to think, and what to memorize.

When he mentions the term “clubs” he is referring to the people, direct-interactions, or books that we encounter everyday. He includes books because he believes that a learner can relate or associate with the author of a book that he or she is interested in… So “clubs” does not have to be a physical interaction.

If you think about it, he has a point! When we are infants we can and do learn many languages without any formal training or cognitive development. We “mimic” the people we are around, and over time, we learn the language that is in our environment.

Smith believes the best learning is through cooperative, active interactive engagements. Now, I know this is not a new concept — however he takes the idea of shared or grouped learning to a new level. For example, following the extreme-Classical View of learning (You learn from the company you keep), he believes teachers should not offer formal test assessments, and that “most” of the learning should be based on a child’s “social development.” Meaning, there would be no defined grade levels, and students would be encouraged to learn by the association of their peers. Group participation would account for the majority of the class work. (Kind of a Confucius learning style). 😉  f00164211.jpg

As I’m sure you are aware, we do learn and are influenced by the people or “clubs” that we associate with. What do you think? Are you more of a Traditional or Classical type of educator?