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Articles: Special Ed

Augmented reality

Brain Power is a digital coach that empowers children and adults with autism to teach themselves social and cognitive skills. http://www.brain-power.com/  

NuEyes is a lightweight, wireless, head-worn, voice activated device for the visually impaired https://nueyes.com/  

Though not yet used widely in special education, virtual and augmented reality have the potential to be game-changers.

Dan Phillips, director of the Technology Resource Center at the Marin County Office of Education in California, has given VR headsets to children in wheelchairs, allowing them to walk and move virtually as they work on a 3D digital science curriculum.

Digital games excel at building a range of skills without students realizing they are “learning,” says Marissa Miller, a special education teacher at Warwick Neck Elementary, which is part of Warwick Public Schools in Rhode Island.

Some of these games come with puzzle pieces, styluses and other physical components.


Link to main story: Edtech equalizers in special education 

Students who have significant physical disabilities can benefit greatly from advances in “eye-gaze technology.”

With various platforms, students move their eyes to type letters or select pre-programed phrases. They can also navigate the internet and use computer programs with eye movements.


Link to main story: Edtech equalizers in special education 

TOUCH POINTS—Apps have provided new, more nimble learning alternatives at Kent Intermediate School District in Michigan.

More elaborate technology has opened up more possibilities for students with a range of needs. In some schools, robots now help children develop social-emotional skills.

These district solutions serve as models for other districts, and cover the K12 spectrum, from English language learners to dropout prevention to data-driven decision-making to water conservation.

The 45 schools and systems recognized by this year’s District of Distinction program have created homegrown initiatives to support students’ social-emotional development, to provide powerful new opportunities for career-focused STEM learning and to improve the skills of educators.

ALTERNATE ROUTES—Students in a growing number of cities travel to class and other school activities via services such as Hop, Skip, Drive. The company hires parents and other caregivers as drivers.

The K12 transportation landscape is getting increasingly complex, as districts wrestle with issues ranging from school choice and questions of equity to how to subsidize mass transit for urban students.

Children from 19 El Paso ISD schools now engage in social-emotional activities at nearly two dozen new playgrounds, thanks in part to districtwide communication.

Rose Aldubaily is director of English learners and compensatory education, and Glenn Maleyko is superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools in Michigan.

Striving to ensure the implementation of best practices that support all learners is critical to academic achievement for diverse populations.

Doug Green has been an educator since 1970, serving as an elementary principal, district computer director, K12 science chair, high school chemistry and physics teacher, and adjunct professor.

In his book, Teaching Isn’t Rocket Science, It’s Way More Complex, Doug Green examines everything from flipped classrooms, standardized testing to special education.

REACHING AT-RISK STUDENTS—Through Berkeley Township’s Project Reach, at-risk students can participate in Camp Paw, a summer program that provides extra learning opportunities, including reading and STEM activities.

A combination of grants, donations, and discounted materials and services from the community led to the creation of Berkeley Township School District's Project Reach program for at-risk students.

The Valley Day School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a special education school, has introduced augmented reality to enhance students’ social asset and science curriculum learning as well as to offset high frustration levels and emotional outbursts.

Verletta White is interim superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools.

Districts are increasingly tasked with providing options for at-risk and underserved student populations to address persistent achievement gaps.

Source: Frontline Research and Learning Institute Survey 2017

A new report by the Frontline Research and Learning Institute sets out to provide actionable insights to help states and local districts address the needs of special needs students equitably.

Source: National Institute  for Early Education Research

Big city districts are taking the lead in funding pre-K programs as states work more slowly to expand access.

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