Friday, November 20, 2009

Reading, Hearing, Educational Videos, and a School for 2e Children

READING AND THE MIND. On the Scientific American website, you can read an interesting interview with neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene on how the mind makes sense of written language. In his research, Dehaene wondered how the brain and culture interact, and he's come to the conclusion that "the brain did not evolve for culture, but culture evolved to be learnable by the brain." He hypothesizes that the elements of written language stem from shapes that the brain was already "wired" to see in primates. He contends, for example, that monkey brains already contain neurons that preferentially respond to shapes in nature such as T, L, and Y, and that we with our human culture have recycled these shapes for use in language. He describes his findings about the left-hemisphere region of the brain that activates when we read, which he calls the "letterbox." He also suggests that dyslexia is a failure to properly interconnect letter with speech sounds. (He does acknowledge, however, that dyslexia is a very heterogeneous condition.) Read the interview.

EDUCATION VIDEOS, ORGANIZED. According to Education Week, one of the founders of Wikipedia has launched a website to provide free access to over 10,000 educational videos for students up to 18 years old. In the article, the organizer describes his site as "YouTube meets Wikipedia." Find the article. Find the site.

CAN'T HEAR, CAN'T LEARN. Education Week also pointed us to a podcast on the topic of hearing screenings for students. According to the article, The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says that 2.5 million U.S. students have mild hearing loss, which can cause them to miss much of what transpires in the classroom. The Association's podcast is about 22 minutes long and explains how parents can ensure their children are screened. Find it. Other podcasts on the site deal with care tips for young athletes with concussions; protecting the hearing of the young; language delay; and aphasia (discussed by the creator of the comic strip For Better or For Worse).

2e SCHOOL IN SCOTTSDALE. In a recent issue of 2e Newsletter, we wrote about a soon-to-be opened school for young, twice-exceptional students in Scottsdale, Arizona. We hear from co-founder Kelly Rostan that the opening of the Open Doors Learning Center has been moved to January, 2010. Rostan says that the school is still accepting applications from families looking for alternative education for their 2e children. For more information, visit http://www.opendoorscenter.org/
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