Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Harvard Education Letter

Harvard Education Letter

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Scratch allows students to reason out and execute programming, using a graphical interface created at MIT’s Media Lab.

Volume 27, Number 2
March/April 2011

Nine Hot Web Tools for Students

Forget poster board. Forget chalk. Forget drill and kill.

Get ready to bookmark a slew of new web-based tools designed to let students take learning into their own hands. With these new web tools, students can now explore lessons introduced in the classroom virtually by creating their own 3-D interactive presentations, for example, or by modeling math and scientific concepts online. Here are some teacher favorites:

Streamlining Student Presentations
Educational technology experts say that a big difference between the tools of the early 2000s and today is their ability to create elaborate environments for student creatiAnimoto2vity. This is especially true for slideshows, which have gone multimedia. Using Animoto (right), students can aggregate photos and videos to create a show complete with musical background. With XtraNormal, students can even create talking avatars for web-based dramatic presentations. Now every student can create a three-minute modern-language scene from Macbeth, or reconstruct the historic Lincoln-Douglas debate by creating avatars.

Like a lot of other tactile information, student poster-board presentations may be headed for history’s recycling bin. Enter the glog, or “graphical log,” developed by the Czech company Glogster. A new version for educators, called Glogster EDU, is virtually walled off from mass-market Glogster, where adults assemble and display any combination of media. The web-based tool gives students a way to aggregate different media in one place—a virtual poster—on a specific topic or concept, whether that topic is binomials or Sojourner Truth.

Robin Metaj’s eighth-grade English class in Oxford, Conn., created glogs around the theme of intolerance, as depicted in Jerry Spinelli’s novel, Stargirl. Because the finished product can be posted online, other teachers, students and their parents can all see the final, public version, motivating students to do their best; it can also be embedded in a student’s wiki. Metaj, who now trains teachers statewide, likes the program for its convenience. “We could swap out the paper and keep the sound instructional elements of the project intact, including standards that address inquiry. The students are expected to research topics using a variety of quality source material that they access online.” Prior to the unit, Metaj taught the students how to evaluate online sources for legitimacy and to determine what could legally be copied from the Internet.

Playing Isaac NewtonNew Scratch
Lest you think the humanities get all the fun, here are a few tech tools catching on with math and science teachers. Scratch (right), a freeware program, has been around for a few years, allowing students to reason out and execute programming, using a graphical interface created at MIT’s renowned Media Lab. Patricia Warner, a science teacher in Grant City, Mo., likes the suite of free online simulation tools available from the University of Colorado’s PhET Interactive Simulations, (Physics Education Technology Project), observing that it’s safer if students explore physics by “throwing projectiles virtually” via the web, instead of across her classroom. Matthew Wright, a science teacher at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, uses Algodoo, to illustrate the relationship between radius and velocity in orbiting objects by adjusting different settings for mass, density, friction value, and others. His students then use Phun, a free, earlier version of Algodoo. “The kids love using it because it allows them to control every aspect of the scenario,” says Wright.

Math Made “Hot” and “Cool”
“I happen to know that in the future, I will not have the slightest use for algebra,” Kathleen Turner’s title-role character tells her 1960s math teacher in the film, “Peggy Sue Got Married.” Then again, Peggy Sue never learned to solve for ‘x’ by exploring the highly visual pre-algebra activities at HotMath.com, Cool Mathwhere mouse clicks allow users to test out how different iterations of ‘x’ change areas, shapes and numerical outcomes. The site has free and paid content.

After thrilling to this surprisingly congenial presentation of algebraic fundamentals, students can chill with newfound numerical insights at CoolMath.com (left), where an extremely large, albeit finite, number of games can lead to finding ‘x’ in all its many permutations, through everything from polynomials to quadratic equations. And, CoolMath comes with its own specialized calculators that help you see just how your changes to any given equation change values.

With algebra conquered, the world of arcs and tangents beckons budding Euclids. But rather than mark-up paper with nasty mistakes that just confuse later on, users can run the java applets at The Math Open Reference Project to create digital manipulatives that show an array of possibilities for various geometric scenarios—and they can run them repeatedly, getting step-by-step modeling. Developed by Silicon Valley software designer John Page, this free resource also provides calculators and applets for other mathematics subspecialties like trigonometry.

It seems that in the digital classroom, even Peggy Sue could learn to use algebra.

Dave Saltman is a writer and teacher in the Los Angeles area and a contributor to Spotlight on Technology in Education (Harvard Education Press, 2011).

Monday, April 18, 2011


Teen/Young Adult Group in NE Philly

When: You can suggest the date
This Meetup needs your help! Suggest the date
Where: You can suggest the place
This Meetup needs your help! Suggest the place
12 Parents of Children with Autism going
Samantha added this Meetup on Apr 16, 2011
Chance for teens and young adults with Aspergers to socialize in safe environment, make new friends, and give back to the community. Indoor and outdoor activities, group volunteering opportunities, future planning, and...?
I have a 16 year old son with mild Aspergers and would love to work with others in helping him and other teens and young adults build a supportive social network. We could do video gaming, hiking, movies, skating, frisbee, mini-golf, etc.
We could meet for specific events and maybe find space in a community center, library, or church for video game/movie watching?
Please let me know if you're interested!
Talk about this Meetup
  • Russell Woessner
    Russell Woessner Our son is 18 years old and has Asperger's and some learning issues. He is more of a movie/music kind of guy and not that interested in physical activities. We live in West Mount Airy in Philadelphia and may be interested in joining this group, depending on what you ultimately choose to do. Thanks for trying to organize something.
    Posted 10 hours ago | 3 likes | Like | Report as spam
  • Nancy Kleinberg
    Nancy Kleinberg We have a group with parents and teens/young adults from all over. The kids are a bit older, but it would be great if we could coordinate these groups, sometimes meeting in the NE and sometimes other places. I am posting a group for Sunday May 1. Please look for this Bonnie and Russell to try it out. As I said we cna move it around to make it convenient to everyone, but enlarging the group and the options would be better, I think, than dividing things.
    Nancy Kleinberg
    Posted 9 hours ago | 1 like | Like | Report as spam
  • Nancy Kleinberg
    Nancy Kleinberg Hi Everyone,
    I just realized our group is for older teens from around 17/18-22. Maybe a group for teens from 13/14-17 would be a good idea. Still I would be happy for anyone to ask me questions or contact me to try to coordinate or tell you our experiences.
    Posted 9 hours ago | Like | Report as spam
  • Deanna Strippoli
    Deanna Strippoli Hello! We live in Langhorne, PA. Our son is nearly 14 (8th grade) and we would LOVE to find some peers for him to interact with. He is diagnosed with Asperger's Sydrome and his interests lean toward movies (Star Wars/Star Trek/Matrix), anime/manga comics, and drawing. He is in a bowling league and enjoys "shooting hoops". We would DEFINITELY participate in group social activities in the NE Philly as long as the time/dates worked for us! I hope to meet some new friends soon. Thank you!!
    Posted 9 hours ago | 1 like | Like | Report as spam
  • Jim n Dawn
    Jim n Dawn Hi, I have a 17 yr old son with aspergers and would love to have a safe place for him to make friends! He is into music and video games. I think this is an awesome idea to help him improve his social skills. thanks so much for organizing this in a closer area, and let me know through email if there is anything i can do to help.
    Posted 9 hours ago | 1 like | Like | Report as spam
  • Samantha
    Samantha I love the idea of joining these groups--how can we do that? Ideally, I'm hoping to have a weekly "something" for Nick in the area. Nick is very much a gamer and anime fan, so something along those lines would be cool, but it'd be great to do some outdoorsy stuff (fishing sounds great, Susan, with frisbee or something too, if fishing's not your thing) This might be easier to talk them into after they've gotten to know each other?
    Maybe we could do a once a month thing as a larger group???
    Posted 7 hours ago | Like | Report as spam
  • Cynthia Wirth
    Cynthia Wirth I have a group pf parents and high school age/ college age students. We meet to discuss issues about preparing for college and career research. We meet 7PM the third Tuesday of the month at Barnes and Noble on Chemical Road in the Plymouth Mtg. Metroplex. There is a meeting 4/19. Come to talk with us and let's see how we can support each other. Plymouth Meeting College Aspies.
    Posted just now | Like | Del

Friday, April 15, 2011

Colleges Address Autistic Students' Struggles | KUNC

Colleges Address Autistic Students' Struggles | KUNC

Colleges Address Autistic Students' Struggles

In many ways, Mark Heim is a typical senior at Colorado State University. He has the kind of smart humor you'd expect from someone who excels in computer science, engineering and math; his T-shirt reads, "Department of Redundancy Department."

But as a student living with Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, the everyday social interactions of college life can be awkward. Heim is part of a new influx of kids with autism who are heading off to college, creating a new demand for college services to help students with autism fit in, graduate and find jobs.

Colorado State is one of a handful of schools that have adopted programs to help ease autistic students' transitions in and out of college. For Heim, that means meeting with his peer mentor, Jayne Mohar, to practice the very social interactions that can be so challenging for someone with autism — things like working in groups.

"With Asperger's, it's harder to negotiate the terms of what each person will do and what each person is expected to do," Heim says.

Opportunities for Postsecondary Success, Colorado State's program for autistic students, was launched earlier this year in reaction to an increase in the number of students with autism and Asperger's who were floundering in class or unable to understand appropriate social behavior.

"Some people really struggle with a roommate situation if they're living in a dorm," says Cathy Schelly, director of the program.

Jane Thierfeld Brown, who started a program for students with autism and Asperger's at the University of Connecticut, says she likes to talk about it as "an inability to hang out."

"Now that the numbers have started exploding within the colleges, people are saying this has to be the big end of the numbers," Thierfeld Brown says.

In fact, colleges are likely to see even more kids with autism in the coming years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism diagnoses have gone from an average of one in every 2,000 children before 1990 to one in every 110 in 2006.

Thierfeld Brown says a key part of working with that increasing population is developing kids' interests. She points to one example in Tennessee of a student who thrived as a water boy for his high school hockey team.

"They never had someone charting intake of fluids before," Thierfeld Brown says, "but it made him a part of this very popular hockey team at this high school."

The so-called "water management consultant" was a success story, she says, because he turned a difference into a strength, and turning a difference into a strength gets students closer to that ultimate goal of finding a job, says Boston University Disability Services Director Lorraine Wolf. Wolf and Thierfeld Brown both have autistic children and together started the website College Autism Spectrum to help counsel other parents and universities.

"We want our college students to work while they're in college," Wolf says, "to have a work-study position so that when they graduate they have those soft skills that are really what employers are looking for."

Back at Colorado State University, student Mark Heim is preparing for a job interview at a software company. He and his peer mentor practice introductions, shaking hands and answering questions.

Heim says he hopes his prospective employer will see beyond his diagnosis to all of the things he has to offer: a passion for computer science, math and engineering; a clever sense of humor; and, now, a really firm handshake. Copyright 2011 KUNC-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kunc.org.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to Write a Resume When I Don't Have Anything to Write?

How to Write a Resume When I Don't Have Anything to Write?

How to Write a Resume When I Don't Have Anything to Write?

By Penny Loretto, About.com Guide March 27, 2011

Each day I have students in my office in the process of applying for internships and summer jobs who are very frustrated because one of the first things an employer requires is for them to send in a resume.

What I often hear from these students is how do I write a resume when I really have nothing to write. What they often don't realize is that everything that they have done up to now is ok to put on a resume. Most employers aren't looking for students with vast amounts of professional experience and they understand that students are looking to gain the knowledge and skills that will be required when they are in the market for finding a full-time job.

If you are a first year or sophomore student you still have adequate time for building a strong professional resume prior to graduating from college. Don't overlook all of the opportunities that make for a great resume. In addition to relevant coursework and a high GPA, employers are also impressed by students who participate in co-curricular and volunteer experiences; those who possess computer, foreign language and other specialized skills; students who have participated in internships, collaborative research, service learning, study abroad, etc.

So instead of getting discouraged, focus more on your individual strengths, interests and abilities that you have gained up to now and less on previous experiences that you may believe you are lacking as a new undergrad.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Apply for Summer Jobs

How to Apply for Summer Jobs

When you're looking for a summer job, it's a good idea to start your job search early. The earlier you start applying for summer jobs, the more choices you'll have and the more likely you'll be to find a summer job that's a good match for what you want to do this summer.

Take the time to check out summer job options, get some references lined up, get working papers, if you need them, and then get ready to start applying for jobs for this summer.

Here's how to search for and apply for summer jobs, along with the information you will need to apply, summer job search tips, and advice on where to look to find a terrific summer job.

More: How to Apply for Jobs | Apply for Jobs Online | Apply for Jobs In Person | Email Job Applications

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Amazing video- Click on the link- guaranteed to make you think

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Not Everyone On Board With Autism 'Awareness' - Disability Scoop

Not Everyone On Board With Autism 'Awareness' - Disability Scoop

Not Everyone On Board With Autism ‘Awareness’


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As Autism Awareness Month kicks off, hundreds of buildings will light up blue and a documentary about autism will screen nationally, but not everyone in the autism community is pleased with so much attention being paid to “awareness.”

Through Facebook, a budding movement is growing among those hoping to shift the conversation from one focused on a cure to an effort centered more on tolerance.

“I was a bit tired of seeing ‘awareness day’ events tied to organizations that are asking for donations,” says Paula Durbin-Westby, 52, who has autism and started a Facebook event called “Autism Acceptance Day” after hearing from others who felt hurt by traditional awareness events that didn’t highlight positive aspects of the developmental disorder.

So far, more than 1,000 people have signed on to participate in the grassroots effort. Meanwhile, a similar Facebook group called “Autism Understanding and Acceptance” has just over 1,700 members.

“A lot of what gets passed off as awareness paints autism as a death sentence,” says Melanie Yergeau, 27, an Ohio State University graduate student with Asperger’s syndrome who’s helping plan a poetry and essay reading featuring the work of individuals with autism in honor of Autism Acceptance Day. “This year we want to start off April with an acceptance message.”

The efforts come as more traditional awareness month activities are taking hold.

Wretches & Jabberers,” a film about two men with autism, will start playing Friday at AMC Theatres. The movie will screen in 40 cities across the country during April through a deal with the Autism Society, which will receive some of the proceeds.

Meanwhile, more than 700 buildings and landmarks around the globe including Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House in Australia will light up blue Friday and Saturday nights as part of an Autism Speaks effort to mark World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

Many NBA teams are also participating in the “Light It Up Blue” initiative by turning arenas blue, airing public service announcements during games and other activities.

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