Monday, July 20, 2009

From the Week of July 19th

TECHNOLOGY IN INSTRUCTION. In the July/August issue of 2e Newsletter, we featured the use of technology in educating twice-exceptional students. The New York Times, on July 22nd, reported on "The School of One," a summer school pilot program in a New York middle school in which students use laptops to work their way through a math program that consist of online quizzes, games, and worksheets. The students' progress on any given day determines the next day's curriculum. The superintendent of New York schools says that the program tailors lessons to student strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Read more.

NATURE VERSUS NURTURE -- A NEW PERSPECTIVE. Science Daily reports on a newly published research from the University of Iowa that calls for burying the "nature versus nurture" debate in favor of a systemic, multi-causal perspective. The research team rejects the idea of genetic expression as a one-way, deterministic mechanism. Instead (from the article):
"The UI team believes genes are expressed at every point in development and are affected all along the way by a gamut of environmental factors -- everything from proteins and chemicals to the socioeconomic status of a family. These ideas are unified by a perspective called developmental systems theory." Find the article.


DISABILITY AWARENESS. Easter Seals has released Friends Who Care, a disability awareness curriculum to help presumably "normal" children understand what it's like to have a disability involving vision, hearing, AD/HD, autism, and others limiting factors. Find out more.

ASK AN ASPIE to anticipate another person's state of mind -- and the Aspie may be able to respond correctly to the prompt, even though many with the condition don't spontaneously "read" the mental state of others -- that's the message in a short piece in Scientific American. Read it.

POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS -- BAD FOR IQ. A study reported in Science Daily links environmental pollutants by that name (also called PAHs) to lower IQ test scores in children who are exposed to high levels of those pollutants prenatally. Exposure led to a difference of 4.31 points on full-scale IQ scores and 4.67 points on verbal IQ scores, as compared to less-exposed children. PAHs come from burning coal, oil, and other organic substances (including tobacco). Chalk it up as another one of those things that affect us beyond our control. Read the article.

ADVOCATING FOR THAT 2e CHILD. Wrightslaw, in its newsletter Special Ed Advocate, is offering a refresher course in effective advocacy. Find the first lesson -- along with a link to an advocacy resource directory -- in this week's edition.

LEARNING IS COMPUTATIONAL, SOCIAL.
Science Daily reported on research converging to "create foundations for a new science of learning," according to the article. The research, from the University of Washington's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, notes that infants "learn the sounds and words of their language by picking up probabilistic information as they listen," that they are calculating statistically. But the researchers also emphasize the social aspect, noting that babies need other people to learn, not just a TV screen. That said, the article also covers the role of technology in learning. Read the Science Daily article. (To read more on the research, find the June 17th edition of the journal Science.)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews reviews the book Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools. While the book emphasizes process and can seem academic, implies Matthews, he urges those interested in education to take a look. To encourage such a look, Matthews offers some lessons titles from a key chapter, titles that might entice those with a stake in 2e education. One sample lesson title: "Implementing a strategy of common, rigorous standards with differentiated resources and instruction can create excellence and equity for all students." Does that sound like what a 2e kid needs? Readers of 2e Newsletter know that MCPS has a reputation for serving 2e kids well; this book about the schools and its leaders may offer reasons why that's so. Find Matthews' article.

MORE NEWS AND RESOURCES as the week goes on.

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