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. 🙂


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.

Top 10 Research Topics for Education

research_gameeducation11By Paul Silli

Below is a list of broad research topics. These subjects affect many parties within a school setting.


1. Learning new research tools/methods, Student Access, Internet & Public Libraries: It would be interesting to research the variety of possible solutions, including filtering, online-search, restricted access, blocking software for student’s in class or at the media center, training, parental permission procedures etc… to learn what teachers can do to improve research skills for students and staff.


2. Improved Integration of Technology into Lesson Plans: Learning new ways to incorporate technology into learning across the board for teachers (all school subject areas /grade levels) would be beneficial to education.


3. School Crime: What can your school do to reduce theft, vandalism, assault, verbal harassment, physical harassment, abuse, fighting and other issues that hinder learning for students? Researching the causes, effects and outcomes of this topic — and hopefully finding new ways to reduce crime in your school would be a worthy task.


4. School Safety Improvements: How can your school create new safety methods to better protect your kids & faculty? From running in the hallways – to how your school dismisses students at the end of the day could be reviewed to find new ways to improve safety. 


5. Class Tardiness: Why are students late to class? How are teachers and learning affected by student-tardiness? How can this issue be reduced? What can you do as a staff to deal with tardiness? Learning how to create a “unified tardy policy” for your school would be a tremendous effort.


6. Truancy (Overboard absences): Often teachers have different policies, punishment/consequence, and develop a different overall outlook when dealing with students who are excessively absent from class and/or school. What is the underlying cause of this issue? How can you collectively work toward improved student-attendance?


7. Enhancing Methods to address the Needs of  Diverse Learners: From gifted to non-English speaking students — there are often extreme diverse populations on school campuses. What methods, policies and strategies are in place — and could be created or improved to aid in the learning of your diverse learners? How can using technology shorten this gap and improve learning? 


8. Incorporating More School Community Service Programs & Promoting Parent Volunteering: What can your school do to improve community service programs? How can you attract more parental-volunteer-involvement? What have you been doing… or what can you be doing to enhance the learning for students by showing them the value & need of community service activities?


9. Improved Integration of Web 2.0 Technologies into Curriculum: How can your staff utilize more programs such as implementing Web 2.0 tools within your curriculum to improve learning? Is your school doing “enough” to engage-learners by using a rich variety of methods to teach students?


10. Your School /District /State often has to deal with Censorship Related Issues: It  would interesting to learn the boundaries of Censorship as it pertains to a collection of documents, position papers, research reports etc… It would be beneficial to review how the Privacy Act and the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” affect learning for students. Are these laws in anyway infringing on certain civil rights to better educate students? You also could broaden your scope by researching  how Censorship comes — as a guide for teachers, librarians, booksellers and others who disseminate the printed word…


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. 

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.

Why should School Districts Invest in Technology?

By Paul Silli

Technology, technology… it is part of our lives and here to stay. But many educators think investing in technology should be restricted for use in schools. Many “naysayers” (those against teaching technology in the classroom) believe schools face more serious problems such as overcrowded classrooms, teacher incompetence, and lack campus security. It is true that many local educational budgets do not have the needed funds to cover teacher salaries, books, and paper supplies… and buying top-notch computers addresses none of these problems. Computers are expensive, costly to maintenance, and quickly become obsolete – which drains essential capital budgets. Yet many school administrators want them desperately.

Of course I’m a huge supporter of investing in, and teaching technology. But the naysayers may have some points.

Have we, as a society become “too dependent” on technology? How do you feel about this?