ONLINE NEWS ARCHIVES
OCTOBER - DECEMBER, 2011

Following are online news stories that appeared on this site between October, 2011 and December, 2011.


DECEMBER, 2011:


NOVEMBER, 2011:


OCTOBER, 2011:



DECEMBER, 2011


E-READERS VERSUS TEACHERS?


Did you get an e-reader like a Kindle or Nook for Christmas? Have you thought about what this new technology means in terms of our education system? Here is a summary of a controversial article at American Thinker.com about schoolteachers versus e-readers. It’s an interesting read.


Mr. Miniter happens to point out what might happen in the education establishment with the surge of e-readers. He mentions that

“for the first time in history, Americans should be able to envision a future without public school teachers…”

or anything attached to public education.


These convenient hand-held devices called e-readers can download any book, at anytime, anywhere in the world. There are over 800,000 free books available for download. Over 1 million books can be downloaded at less than retail purchase and many classics can be downloaded for $.99.

Mr. Miniter also explains the process of tutoring as being where a student reads a book, writes an essay and then the tutor critiques the essay. Mr. Miniter’s point being that the tutored student learned more in a shorter period of time than students in classrooms learn today.


He says that students today are simply memorizing facts. He is making the argument that the e-reader can be the tool where by students can once again have this “character and skill building technique” available to them.


In the past 15-20 years, our textbooks have incorporated a lot of “politically correct” verbiage which is detrimental to students’ thinking process. Also, many textbooks have been found to have incorrect history facts which help promote a certain biased agenda. Mr. Miniter likes the idea of e-readers for schools so children can read original works, fiction and non-fiction, and do their own thinking.


A child learns to draw their own conclusions and opinions when they have explored a topic not from one person’s writing but once they have explored the topic. Mr. Miniter says it this way:

“but examining it (body of knowledge) from one perspective and then another until you develop a detailed three dimensional view of the topic.”


I would love to see the classroom change like Mr. Miniter is describing. However, there are many drawbacks to this argument. First, public (government schools) are here to stay. Although some schools may adopt e-readers to use in the classroom, I doubt that they would be used for anything more than downloading the chosen textbooks.


Private schools would have more flexibility. BUT here again, most are accredited by the state and therefore have to follow state (government) guidelines.


Homeschooling parents are the ones that can use the e-readers to the fullest advantage. In fact, parents who feel stressed because they have to do lots of preparation in order to teach many grade levels at home would benefit the most by teaching/tutoring as Mr. Miniter suggested using e-readers.


HOW DOES AN E-READER help the LD child? Many LD children won’t read because of the small print in most books. Any child that struggled with reading early, struggles with reading a book of any length. An e-reader can magnify the page, making it easier to read. When the stress of reading small print is taken away, a joy for reading is gained.


A 12 year old that only reads at a 2nd grade level will be embarrassed at his lack of ability. Therefore, he will shun any reading. HOWEVER, an e-reader allows him to read books at his reading ability without others seeing the book. The more a person reads, the better reader they become. If an e-reader allows a child to read more, than it is well worth the investment.


In the coming weeks, I will have some suggestions on how to use an e-reader for schooling. Make sure you bookmark this site. Also, follow me on FaceBook.




NOVEMBER, 2011


BLACK FRIDAY'S HOTTEST TOYS



ROCK STAR MICKEY DANCING TOY


What can I say? Except that this is one of the cutest toys of the season. OF COURSE when isn't Mickey cute. This Mickey has glasses and a guitar. He sings and dances! He even does a flip! What kid wouldn't want Mickey?



As always, I try to find toys and educational games that will appeal to those not just with a learning disability but toys that the developmentally delayed child will enjoy also. A few years ago, I saw how an autistic child interacted with a Dancing Elmo. I am sure that Rock Star Mickey will have just as big of impact with ANY child.



MY KEEPON

In August, I reported about a new toy especially designed for autistic children. BUT this toy isn't just for developmentally and learning challenged children. It is one of this year's HOTTEST TOYS. The toy is My Keepon

This toy is interactive. Plug an iPod into it and it will dance to the rhythm of the song on the iPod. Touch it on the head and it will bop. TOYS R US has this toy. But if you are to late, buy it here.






THE LASER BAND

The Laser Band is not your typical toy. However, it can provide hours of fun and music to the developmentally delayed child or adult. From PlayabilityToys.com


The Laser Band doesn't just provide music, but it helps those with severe physical and cognitive challenges to create their own music! What a thrill this is for them when they are able to create something themselves. The thrill that will last all year long.




OCTOBER, 2011



STAMPS TO PORTRAY AUTISM AWARENESS


Stamps portraying autism awareness will be issued for the first time next April.


HOWEVER, these stamps won't be issued by the US Post Office. These will be issued by the United Nations and will be used by the United Nations Offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna.


The UN will pick only three designs that were submitted by anyone with Autism. Although these stamps aren't issued by the US Post Office, anyone can purchase them through the UN after April, 2012.


Reported in Disability Scoop.




DOES "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" REALLY WORK?


This is a summarized article from The International Dyslexia Association's Newsletter.


Does "No Child Left Behind" really work? OR is it dedicated individuals who make sure students can read?


This story starts in 1996 in Brownville, TX. It's a story that I hear about often. Alec Garza was having problems learning to read in the first grade and was still struggling to read when he got to 4th grade.


Mrs. Garza took her son to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, TX for a diagnosis of her son. The experts explained to her that reading should be taught using a scientific based research method.


At that time, the Brownsville School District was using a computerized reading program which didn't meet state standards. The Brownsville school district wasn't using a balanced approach either which should have included phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills as well as phonological awareness activities.


Mrs. Garza decided to get involved. It was 1996. The Brownsville School District, which is on the US-Mexico border, had a 98% Latino student population with very few native English speakers.


Mrs. Garza wanted to see her community of Brownsville become more literate. She joined forces with a local speech-language pathologist, Elsa Cardenas-Hagan, to start Brownsville Reads Task Force.


Over the last 15 years, this task force has implemented several changes within the school district. They were able to team with the Neuhaus Education Center, in Houston, Texas to help train teachers in Language Enrichment.


In 2008, the Brownsville School District received the Broad Prize for Urban Education. This prize consisted of $1 million in scholarships which will allow many students the chance to go to college.


Was this the result of "No Child Left Behind" or individuals wanting to change what was happening in their community?


Maybe it was a little of both. The school district was failing in their approach to literacy. Maybe the fear of not meeting the mandates in "No Child Left Behind" motivated them to allow Mrs. Garza and the Task Force to do what they could to see that children were reading at grade level.


I want to applaud Mrs. Garza and the Brownsville Reads Task Force for their dedication in seeing that their community took literacy seriously. Because of their efforts, many children are reading who could have grown up as illiterate adults.






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