"When Anna Franz, a 23-year-old UAB exchange student from Munich, Germany, was in elementary school, she desperately told her mother: “Mommy, I think there is only space for one word in my head.” She realized that she had much more difficulty learning how to read and write than most other children of her age. Franz is one of several persons in her family to struggle from dyslexia, a reading and writing disorder. Despite Franz’s fight with orthography and reading, she has been successful in school. Unlike many other people with the same symptoms, she graduated from high school in 2008 and is currently studying biology as an exchange student at UAB....."
The Newport Beach Film Festival has brought some great films to local audiences and one of my favorites is The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia.
I viewed the 52 minute film at Island Cinemas and enjoyed how well it explains the difficulties people with Dyslexia deal with on a daily basis. Filmmaker James Redford -- whose son Dylan also has Dyslexia-- said the film presents an opportunity to help others living in turmoil and I would have to agree. I felt it did a good job at providing specific examples about the learning disability, and it shows rather than tells by bringing the audience into peoples' personal lives.
The film includes interviews with young Dyslexics and there are some famous faces in the film too, who share their experiences about living with Dyslexia including Richard Branson who says he copes by "keeping things simple and saying what you mean.”
"In the last month, I have talked with students at six institutions that represent nearly every corner of our diverse higher-ed system.
Face-to-face education matters even more now. Because these students see the world through screens (mobile, tablet, and laptop), I expected them to embrace the idea of online education. Just the opposite. They want to engage with a professor and with their classmates More career exploration is needed before college. When describing how they picked their majors, many of the students described it either as a random process or a last-minute decision. That's in contrast to the extended, thoughtful plan some of them had for choosing a college. Majors don't matter. Perhaps a better question is why we force students to pick a major at all. Thenumber of majors on campus has proliferated in the last two decades, but some academics, such asMark Taylor or Roger Schank, think we should abolish our traditional notion of majors and build the undergraduate curriculum around broad ideas or problems we face, like water and food production...."
"In his book "Start with Why" and the accompanying TED talk, author Simon Sinek claims that we're all very clear about “what” we do. In fact, you often define yourself by what you do - "I'm a teacher" for example. You focus heavily on "how" you should do whatever it is you do and usually develop a routine to make it easier."
Simply purchasing and using technology to address questions of "how" we teach won't advance education. If we use technology to reinforce the same age-old educational processes then why bother? Some examples: We often use technology to project a document or post it online instead of handing it out. We still have students read a chapter and answer the questions at the end but now they can use technology to submit typed responses. In some cases, they can even submit them online. We can continue to demand that students memorize facts for a test and use tools such as flashcard apps to help drill the facts. We still lecture from the front of the room but now we have a digital whiteboard to enhance the process.
The fundamental processes haven't changed. Asking "why" and looking outside the walls of our schools may lead us to different visions and new directions. Why only focus on text for exchanging information when the world now communicates with a variety of multimedia and media fluency is a valuable skill in the workplace? Why continue using the same old textbooks when we can access updated information on any topic within seconds using the internet or digital books? Why focus on static, delivery and memorization of educational content when that content pool is growing at unprecedented speeds and it's clearly more important for students to be skilled in finding, analyzing and using information as they need it?
A new book by Tony Wagner, a Harvard authority on educational change and leadership, includes a chapter holding up Olin College of Engineering as a model for innovation in higher education.
The book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (Scribner, April 2012), is by Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The just-released volume explores what parents, teachers and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. The book profiles compelling young American innovators such as Kirk Phelps, product manager for Apple's first iPhone, and Jodie Wu, who founded a company that builds bicycle-powered maize shellers in Tanzania. Wagner reveals how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failures and persevere. Wagner identifies a pattern—a childhood of creative play leads to deep-seated interests, which in adolescence and adulthood blossom into a deeper purpose for career and life goals. Play, passion and purpose are the forces that drive young innovators, according to Wagner. He shows how educators can apply this knowledge and what parents can do to compensate for poor schooling.
So what is really important and what will prepare students for 21st century success? The Partners for 21st Century Learning identified several 21st century literacies that should be incorporated into the school curricula: financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial, civic, global awareness, health, and environmental (see Figure 1).
As a school, audit your curriculum. Does it authentically reflect these 21st century exigencies? If not, it is time to ascertain it does. First, determine how course content could be adapted to 21st century literacies. Identify where each of these literacies could be integrated and complement existing courses. Second, in order to potentially alleviate the curricular overload per subject, decide how some topics can be thematically bundled. Third, instead of eliminating electives, add them. In order to decide which ones to add, determine which ones will accommodate student interests and career needs, emulate 21st century literacies, and reflect future occupational demands. According to Wagner, the top future professions in 2030 are robotician, smart car designer, global system architect, global sourcing manager, clone rancher, chef-farmer, bio-regenerative integrator, seed capitalist, personal brand manager, mobile biomass therapist, bio0biotic physician, and alternative currency banker . In 2020, Webley alleges the top future jobs will be vertical farming, patent lawyers, sustainability experts, genetic counselors, elderly care professionals, cyber security specialist, and statisticians . Thomas and Kelley project the top careers for 2014 include network systems and data communication analysts and administrators, physician assistants, computer software engineers, medical scientists, physical and occupational therapists, and college instructors . Does the curriculum offering courses in these fields to better prepare students a productive and germane role in society? If not, perhaps they should.....
The Bilingual Brain Is Sharper and More Focused, Study SaysWall Street Journal (blog)Scientists have long suspected that some enhanced mental abilities might be tied to structural differences in brain networks shaped by learning more than one language,...
"There are rumblings in the jungle of neuroscience. There’s been a recent spate of high-profile papers that have drawn attention to methodological shortcomings in neuroimaging studies (e.g., Ioannidis, 2011; Kriegeskorte et al., 2009; Nieuwenhuis et al, 2011) . This is in response to published papers that regularly flout methodological standards that have been established for years. I’ve recently been reviewing the literature on brain imaging in relation to intervention for language impairments and came across this example......
How is it that this paper has been so influential? I suggest that it is largely because of the image below, summarising results from the study. This was reproduced in a review paper by the senior author that appeared in Science in 2009. This has already had 42 citations. The image is so compelling that it’s also been used in promotional material for a commercial training program other than the one that was used in the study. As McCabe and Castel (2008) have noted, a picture of a brain seems to make people suspend normal judgement."
Know your child's strengths and weaknesses. As a parent, you want to support your children any way you can. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses can make a big difference, says Tracy Packiam Alloway, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.
She says that sometimes teachers tell their students with dyslexia to just keep repeating the information over and over to themselves. "But this will be hard to do for students with dyslexia who have a verbal working memory problem," says Alloway. "It's really better to target their strengths -- to try to use visual aids to support their learning, for example."
H. Lee Swanson, Ph.D., distinguished professor of education with the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside, agrees. Use your child's preferred way of processing information. For a child whose visual-spatial skills are strong, he suggests taking information from a math word problem and inserting it into a visual diagram. This uses a strength to help solve a problem.NCLD (RT @DrSelz: Helping kids with active working memory issues : http://t.co/CytcUrrm #dyslexia #LD #ADHD...)...
In numerous locations across the country parents are gathering together to raise dyslexia awareness and push for policy changes for the thousands of children who are struggling with dyslexia.
Decoding Dyslexia-NJ (DD-NJ), a brand new dyslexia awareness grassroots movement, is part of a remarkable national wave of parent-driven energy that is sparking awareness and pushing hard for public policy changes for children who struggle with dyslexia. DD-NJ is a grassroots movement driven by New Jersey parents of children with dyslexia who want to empower other parents, educate the public, and persuade policymakers to change the State’s educational system. With just a mere five months since DD-NJ’s first formal meeting in Mercer County, NJ, they already discussed dyslexia with eight different State representatives and two USA Federal representatives. Reason enough for Hans Dekkers, CEO of Dynaread Special Education Corporation, a dyslexia remediation company, to interview Liz Barnes, a founding member of the DD-NJ parent group.
Eton Academy students don’t let learning disabilities get in the way of their hopes of going to college.
In fact, they and school officials often refer to learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, as learning “differences.”
Returning alumni credit the Eton program for teaching them how to overcome their differences, be accepted at a college and go on to a successful career.
Since 1986, almost all of Eton’s graduates have gone on to higher education, compared to 14 percent of similar students nationwide, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, a statistic cited by Dawn Frasa, Eton’s spokeswoman......"
"Kildonan School (RT @KildonanSchool: They're here! “@ATKSMan: New iPads arrive @KildonanSchool !
Over the past several months, members of the administration and heads of departments have been investigating the potential of iPads in our curriculum and the many benefits offered by incorporating tablet technology (including Assistive Technology applications, iBooks textbooks, and a reduced reliance on and use of paper). Thanks to a generous donation, we will be moving to an iPad-based platform over the summer, which will be fully integrated into our curriculum by Fall 2012. This marks an important step for the school as we continue to look for ways to provide the best learning environment for students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences."
With more than 150 million copies of her books in print, author Debbie Macomber has come a long way from her childhood diagnosis of dyslexia. This is part of the motivation behind Debbie's recent choice of World Vision's Teacher Resource Centers (TRCs) as the designee of the generous donation her publisher Random House made to the charity of her choice.
http://www.ted.com Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of...
This provocatively title TED talk would be an excellent resource for discussing sustainable development. What are the economic, environmental, political and cultural ramifications of suggested policies that seek to lead towards sustainable development? What are the ramifications of not changing policies towards sustainable development?
Cleveland Municipal School District CEO Eric Gordon and Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke appeared Tuesday alongside Jackson and testified about their support for the plan. Republican Gov. John Kasich and several lawmakers from both parties also support the plan. Jackson said he would ask Cleveland voters to support a school levy this fall if the legislature approves his plan. He said a levy would help the district cope with a $66 million budget deficit and would speed up implementation of his education reforms. Jackson said voters would not be asked to renew the levy in the future if the school district does not perform as promised. The mayor already has cleared one significant hurdle in building support. He reached an agreement with the teachers union that would allow the city to give more weight to teacher evaluations instead of seniority when making layoffs and termination decisions and to set a new salary table that will reward the best teachers..
Have you checked out a book from your public library and read it on your iPad yet? You didn’t know you could do that?
Step one: get a library card and sign up for an online borrowing PIN. Don’t limit yourself to the local branch of your public library. Often big library systems including the New York Public Library and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County will issue library cards to anyone who pays taxes in their state, even if the patron never plans to enter a library branch. If your local library doesn’t offer e-books, or even if you just want to access a larger selection of titles, find the largest library in your state and try to get a library card from that system. Most library systems can guide a new user through the registration process.
Step two: download Overdrive Media’s iOS app. Overdrive Media is an Ohio-based company that manages digital lending for 15,000 library systems. Overdrive’s holdings comprise 650,000 premium digital titles from more than 1,000 publishers, including Random House, HarperCollins, BBC Audiobooks America, Harlequin, and Bloomsbury. (Note: Overdrive can only let you borrow titles that your library owns.)
Step three: get an Adobe Id. The Adobe ID is free, and you can sign up from within Overdrive by tapping settings. Make a note of your Adobe ID because you will need it if you want to read a borrowed e-book on more than one device (e.g. iPad and iPhone or iPad and Kindle).
Step four: get books. The app opens to your bookshelf. This is where your digital titles will be stored. Tap the Get Books+ button in Overdrive’s upper right-hand corner. Tap the Add a Library bar to open up the app’s search function to search or browse for libraries. When you find the library you want to borrow from, tap the name of the library. A new page in the app opens that shows what type of digital content (e.g. audiobooks, e-books) the library lends. Tap the star next to the name of the library to save it as a source for future downloads.
At a public hearing Monday, Pittsburgh Public School board members were riveted by the story of a boy we will call Brian, a first-grader at Faison Elementary, a historically low-performing elementary school in Homewood. Beaten down by a perfect storm of obstacles, Brian had behavior problems and low self-esteem that put him on a depressing downward slide. The system labeled him "special needs," a designation that carries tremendous future costs -- primarily for the child, but also for taxpayers.
Brian's teacher, Keisha Jones, refused to be distracted by his acting out, her principal, LouAnn Zwieryznski, told the board. "She would not accept 'I don't care.' She would not accept 'I won't learn because nobody cares.'
"She worked to challenge him academically ... would not let him alone," Ms. Zwieryznski said. "And he is now in the gifted program instead of special education."
Being dyslexic. I trained as an actor, but because of my dyslexia I have great trouble sight-reading. So I kept going to auditions and not getting the roles. Then one day I went to a comedy club and asked if I could tell some jokes. It was 27 years ago, when there were no black British female standups. I became the first.
Since starting to use Learning Ally’s audiobooks last March, Kelly went from not reading at all, to reading nine books, in addition to all the texts required for her curriculum. “It’s totally amazing. I love that I can go on, look through the books, and download it to my iPad. I no longer have that big tape player. I can take it with me.” She looks forward to listening to all the classics that she was unable to read before, such as “Little Women” and “Pride and Prejudice.” Kelly has also taken full advantage of Learning Ally’s book request system, having already sent in nine books she wants recorded and receiving audio formats of the first three. She says having this newfound access has changed her outlook and level of confidence: “Going from thinking about what you can’t do, to seeing what you can do is amazing.”
Relentless: Investing in Leaders who Stop at Nothing in Pursuit of Greater Social Impact..
"The magnitude of the combined hits—greatly reduced funding and increased need—will require many organizations to literally reinvent themselves. Even the most accomplished leaders will need to raise the quality of their services while lowering the cost and serving more people.
Nonprofit and public-sector leaders can’t do it on their own. Funders, too, will need to rethink and reinvent for our new societal and economic realities. They will need to do much more to encourage and support courageous leaders and help them build high-performing institutions. And they will need to allocate their resources based on reason and merit rather than feel-good stories, blind loyalty, or faith.
In the midst of dramatic structural shifts, our society will only be as strong and successful as our institutions, and they will only be as successful as the talent that leads them.."
Rep. Ann Coody, R-Lawton, presented the amended version of her SB 1565, also by Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada. In response to questions about the funding for the program, Coody said the establishment of the pilot program is contingent on available funds. She also responded to questions regarding the need for such training. Coody said that some teacher candidates are not taught how to address students with dyslexia. The bill passed 81 to 9 and now returns to the Senate. The House will reconvene at 2 p.m. Go to <www.ecapitol.net> for the full story!
Characteristically, Mario had concrete recommendations for what can be done to address these issues, including the need for funders to do more than programmatic funding, to break their fixation on overhead ratios, and invest in great leaders. Most memorable of all though was his sense of urgency. As someone who “grew up poor, but just didn't know it” every word of his speech was imbued with the conviction that the lives of children are at stake in our willingness to rethink the work of the nonprofit and the public sector. “The challenge for all of us is to determine whether our hard work is adding up to the kind of opportunities that I had … that you had …that every parent here wants for his or her own children.”