Saturday, June 28, 2008

@ NECC2008 - 1

Well, here we are - some 15,000 educators - all passionate (to varying degrees) about technology in education - at National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) 2008 of the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE ) in scenic downtown San Antonio, TX. A small percentage of us more passionate than most others about web 2.0 in education met up at the EduBloggerCon earlier today.

It's great, as always, to convert online connections to f2f ones every once in a while...Here's to convene * connect * transform at NECC 2008.

The Swedish Model

A recent article in the Economist with the same title as this post was shared on recently - it's about Sweden's "Knowledge Schools" where students
"do much of the work themselves....(through) the Kunskapsporten (“Knowledge Portal”), a website containing the entire syllabus. Youngsters spend 15 minutes each week with a tutor, reviewing the past week's progress and agreeing on goals and a timetable for the next one. This will include classes and lectures, but also a great deal of independent or small-group study. The Kunskapsporten allows each student to work at his own level, and spend less or more time on each subject, depending on his strengths and weakness. Each subject is divided into 35 steps. Students who reach step 25 graduate with a pass; those who make it to step 30 or 35 gain, respectively, a merit or distinction."
So many of us have been talking for so long about personalizing the learning experience by leveraging tools of the new web, creating hybrid learning spaces - online and offline, with individual and group work, and each child moving at his/her own pace...Well, here is someone finally doing it, and succeeding, on a large scale!

Lessons to be learned, to be sure.

Monday, June 09, 2008

ZAC Browser for children with Autism

If you have not already come across this browser (and the related story of a grandfather who developed this browser for his autistic grandson), here is some info on and link to the ZAC (Zone for Autistic Children) browser.

"ZAC is the first web browser developed specifically for children with autism, and autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), and PDD-NOS. We have made this browser for the children - for their enjoyment, enrichment, and freedom. Children touch it, use it, play it, interact with it, and experience independence through ZAC.

ZAC is the zone that will permit your child to interact directly with games (a LOT of games) and activities (focused on MANY interests) that cater specifically to kids who display the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders, like impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, restricted interests and repetitive behavior. ZAC has been an effective tool for kids with low, medium and high functioning autism.

ZAC focuses on the children and their interaction - But we also provide an excellent forum for parents, caretakers, teachers, and others to share their experiences, tools and resources and to unite as a caring, compassionate, and extremely knowledgeable community. It is said that "it takes a village to raise a child", and that is exponentially true for raising a child with autistic spectrum disorders. The power of your experience yesterday is going to be instrumental in helping someone successfully tackle the circumstances of today."

Parents and caregivers of kids on the autism spectrum, please do share your views and your feedback on this...