I am no stranger to the needs and demands within a specialist education. Having worked as a member of staff at a special education school and have strong community roles within my own family, my experience stretches to both professional and non-professional caring and teaching. Something I like to look for is educational apps that are specifically designed for specialist learning, for children and adults who need extra support. We have heard the speech synthesizers, and we know they have been around a long time, but with modern technology, this is a simple peripheral to the other more empowering functions they offer. I discovered this poster, made by educatorstechnology.com
I really wanted to share it with you, and have linked them to it. Such an empowering list of apps can't be missed, I for one know of a few we could do with in our home.
Here's the list, linked up to the right page for you.
Read 2 Me
Phonics with Phonograms
Speech With Milo
Be My Eyes
TapTapSee - Blind & Visually Impaired Camera
I Write Words
iTunes has a great deal more on offer for special needs people, who by all rights stand the most able to benefit from new technology offered by augmented reality and digital aides. If you haven't already, take a look at the AppleiTunes dedicated education section.
Through-out the year, there is always foraging to be done. Food supplies in nature are incredibly varied, and provided the palette can handle it, a large variety of different foods lay in store for the keen eyed harvester. At Harvest time, however, this is when there is perhaps the most available. The heat of the summer combined with the early autumn rains make the season of mid October the time when everything is gathered and made ready for the year to follow. Seeds are retained, perishables are preserved and plans are made for the following season.
Having plenty and knowing how to make use of it are not the same thing, and if we are lucky enough to be able to select from a large harvest, or even just go to the shops, it is important that we know the guidelines for healthy eating. Most of us know the basic pointers, but when it comes to knowledge that can be treated as expert information, the majority of us look for the nearest nurse or nutritionist. But let's be honest, it would be really useful to have this sort of thing with us, as learned wisdom. Being the one to know what food groups go in which order of priority and how the varying "good for you" molecules within them actually benefit us in our diet would mean that we can provide sound and helpful advice to all who want it, plus making sure we stay healthy too.
It sounds expensive, and it kind of is. You need to apply yourself over time and put effort into learning. The price though, is free. The web is jam packed full of various nutrition information and educational resources, it's all over the place in little pockets of this and that on many many sites. A lot of work to go through all that lot would be one way, or enroll onto a free online foundation diploma in nutrition and do it the simple way.
Wiki Sites and Education
“A wiki is a website that provides collaborative modification of its content and structure directly from the web browser.” - Wikipedia
So Wikipedia might not be the best example for how wiki sites can be used in a purely educational setting, after-all, no-one but the expert is exactly sure if what is written is accurate. I am sure the people in the quality control department have their work set out for them, but we can always get a reference with more peered foundation from encyclopedia.com.
But that's not the point here. Wiki sites like w'pedia have so much to offer, that the most well known version of one perhaps leads us astray slightly. The concept is sound, and especially for education, the collaboration element is truly ground breaking when it comes to delivering education.
With a typical file and folder system, we know how to create groups of documents and media as in on the desktop. We can place items in specific groups called folders and then everything is in the right place, this keeps everything organised. Wiki sites do this same job but on a website that can be accessed and changed by anyone who has permission.
For teachers and educators, especially ones who work to the same curriculum across the country, this presents a massive advantage. Imagine how much collaboration could be done across a wiki site in order to make lessons more fun and rich with questions. Think how helpful it would be for students with homework assignments to find that they have a place where everyone who is doing the work is able to go and collaborate. School plus, perhaps it may need moderation to some degree if student led, however the possibilities extend much further than study groups.
Teachers can use their resources to produce private class based educational journeys through many set out and expertly designed pages and media that teach and inspire them as they go. Because it is online, the work can be done at any time, with any teacher at the desk. Back up lessons for sickness didn't do any harm either.
Student presentations and portfolios would make an excellent resource for future classes, as well as having a simple place for examiners to go in order to review the coursework uploaded. Once a few terms have rolled by and the wiki site has been worked on over time, by classes around the land, it is easy to imagine how variable and interesting the core network of educational material could become. With a co-ordinated effort from teaching staff and computer staff with various know-how within the school system, it wouldn't take long at all to create an amazing interactive and fully customisable educational resource that would technically stand free for all invited.
Once established and running well, these pages would make excellent packages to allow others to use, perhaps for charitable or national interests. An archive of education and learning set out in this way which is continually added to by employed professionals could in time become one of the most useful and empowering additions to human culture in the 21st Century. From nursery age to post graduate doctorates, the entire syllabus of everything could reach the internet within a few years, if everyone did their bit.
It's easy to get a free site for a classroom or community, with opportunity to have many editors across any distance,
Where Weebly do it all for you, 1&1 give the option of letting you do everything your own way. I am guessing many schools have eager computer staff who would just love that level of control.
Bullying By the Book
Bullying is a curse for any person, of any age, as it is a deliberate and focused attack upon the character and self esteem of another human being. It can happen in any number of ways, bullies like to intimidate, and once their subject is in a timid state, they can then assert their dominance. This can happen on a physical level with beatings, on an intellectual level with rational counter-productive arguments against character , or on an emotional level in which a bond is formed and then broken over and over via the use of name calling, accusations, and/or neglect to care.
The bullying subject begins to get acclimatised to the behaviour of others and they start to learn that this kind of behaviour is acceptable in life. They then therefore do not act against it in future, but accept it as a part of social interaction. This is how we become unwell, and possibly even become bullies ourselves as if we begin to treat the behaviour as normal then for us to do it also, it feels normal. Give as good as you get can only really work in two people, and not among the whole. Person C has nothing to do with person B, so don't take the feelings from C to B when we are A. It's difficult to maintain a base line of understanding and it is important to always be on the feel for slights and gists which could point out our errors of judgement.
One thing that causes bullying is the fact that the other person has some kind of aggressive reaction to another person. This could be for any number of reasons, but a lot of them are based on the fact that they feel the other person should or ought to be doing something differently. People who like certain clothes may be bullied into wearing other ones, people who like a certain artist may be peer pressured into denying it and pretending to like someone else. This sort of thing happens a lot.
The media has been defining men, women, boys, and girls since it began. By suggesting what we want, and who we are, we are given images of the ideal version of ourselves according to the retailer or sponsor. This is fine if the projections are accurate but more so now they are becoming pushed further to extremes. The definition of what a boy likes and what a girl likes, and how they behave, and interact has caused parents, teachers, and siblings that certain behaviour is wrong, or needs to be altered. The way psychological profiling has been done to such a general standard means that what is right and what is wrong according to the book no longer has anything to do with how well we behave in general but the way we behave at all. It's not about love and hate any more but about right and wrong, and what is right for one person is totally dependent on them.
We're not talking criminal cases here, this is way of life, thinking patterns, friendship styles, ways of communicating how we feel, the emotional reaction to various triggers, all of these things are unique to the person and mustn't be accredited to one type. We are all so complicated and inside there are so many ways we can be wired. Good and heartfelt action is not dependent on anything but the intention, and what colour we like, what we like to wear, and how we like to think have got nothing to do with that.
It is important that we stop defining people so generally, and then comparing how we are to the written points. It seems that we have it backwards, and it is our points that need to be altered, not our children. Peer pressure and bullying are both types of negative psychological grooming that are counter-effective against the issues that grip our younger generation and beyond.
Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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