Thursday, October 03, 2013

North Carolina's State Superintendent's Message for Teachers for the 2013-2014 school year.

This is how public education funds have been cut in my state, North Carolina:
  • "Public schools enrolled 33,000 more students in 2013-14 than they did in 2008-09 yet these schools actually received more than $283 million less in state dollars than they did five years ago."  
  • "Funds for textbooks should be $68 per student in 2013-14, but were reduced to $15 per student. That is a 78 percent reduction. Dollars for instructional supplies were reduced from $57 per student in 2008-09 to $29 per student in 2013-14."
  • After only a 1.2 percent raise last year and no raises for the three years preceding, lawmakers did not include a raise for teachers or other school personnel in their 2013-15 biennial budget. 

Read the full message:
Subject: State Superintendent's Message for Teachers for the 2013-14 School Year
Dear Educators,

Across North Carolina, talented and dedicated teachers have welcomed students back to public school classrooms. Many of you probably read the news stories about the first days of school and all of the opportunities and challenges such an occasion brings for students and parents.

Among this coverage, there also were powerful stories about teachers. We read about teachers giving up time with their families during the summer to learn how to use Home Base and other technology tools. We read about teachers putting in extra hours to expand their knowledge of the state’s new standards and to share best practices and lesson plans with their colleagues. There are stories about teachers who came to set up their classrooms long before the first work day and who paid for art supplies, paper or new books with money from their own pockets. And there are the stories about how cuts to the state budget and other changes made during the 2013 legislative session will affect many teachers’ abilities to do their jobs and meet their students’ academic needs. These are the stories that matter the most. These are your stories.

You work hard to prepare each one of your students for college and a career. You are tireless advocates for your students and you make countless sacrifices to ensure our young people are learning and reaching their goals. You give so much, yet you receive more challenges and fewer resources in return. Those are just some of the reasons why some of the new legislation passed this summer by members of the General Assembly is so disappointing to educators.

By now, many of you are aware that:

·        After only a 1.2 percent raise last year and no raises for the three years preceding, lawmakers did not include a raise for teachers or other school personnel in their 2013-15 biennial budget. You will receive five days of one-year special bonus leave. There is more information about this leave here: under “Annual Bonus Leave 2013-14 Q & A.”

·        Lawmakers eliminated the future salary bump for teachers who will earn master’s degrees. This means that if a teacher has not completed his or her degree and moved to the master’s degree pay scale by the end of this school year, he or she will not be able to receive the 10 percent salary increase in FY 2014-15.  Last month, I requested that the State Board of Education look at an alternative degree validation process to allow more teachers who are in the process of completing their degrees by spring to move to this scale by the end of the school year. This week, the Board approved a change in State Board of Education policy that enables all teachers who earn their master’s degree and submit the necessary paperwork to the NCDPI’s Licensure Division by May 7, 2014 to move to the master’s pay scale and avoid losing the supplement. We will certainly keep you informed if members of the General Assembly make additional changes to this policy in the 2014 legislative session.

·        Once again, there will be fewer adults in our schools serving more children. This trend has occurred over the past few years as district leaders were forced to cut teacher, teacher assistant and other positions so they could return enough dollars to the state to meet the discretionary reduction. This budget eliminates the discretionary reduction, and instead makes direct cuts to funds for teacher, teacher assistant and instructional support positions. These cuts result in the loss of thousands more positions from public schools across the state.

·        Funds for textbooks should be $68 per student in 2013-14, but were reduced to $15 per student. That is a 78 percent reduction. Dollars for instructional supplies were reduced from $57 per student in 2008-09 to $29 per student in 2013-14.

·        Up to $11.7 million will be taken from the K-12 public schools budget in 2014-15 to fund vouchers for children to attend private schools. While I support school choice, I do not believe it is fair to provide taxpayer dollars to schools that do not administer the same tests and are not held to the same level of accountability as public schools.

Nonetheless, thanks to your hard work, we transitioned to new standards and assessments last year while also reaching a record-high graduation rate. This is a testament to the quality of teachers we are fortunate to have in our state. You are not recognized or rewarded nearly enough for the valuable contributions you make to society and to our future.

The bottom line is that North Carolina’s public schools have more students and educators are facing more challenges than ever before, yet the support the state provides to K-12 education continues to fall well below the levels required to maintain a high level of teaching and learning. Public schools enrolled 33,000 more students in 2013-14 than they did in 2008-09 yet these schools actually received more than $283 million less in state dollars than they did five years ago.  At this point, it is your passion, enthusiasm, resilience, sacrifices and dedication that enable our students to succeed and thrive. I do not know what we would do without you.

Thank you for choosing this noble profession, for showing up and working hard, and for all you do for our 1.5 million public school students. You are making a difference in our state and it is my hope that one day soon, North Carolina will recognize this and return to making strong investments in you, your work, and our students.


June St. Clair Atkinson

Visit us on the web at

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Real Talk for Real Teachers: Audio of an interview of veteran teacher Rafe Esquith

After listening to veteran teacher Rafe Esquith's words of wisdom during a radio broadcast of WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show yesterday, I thought I'd share the audio on this blog, and also a link to his upcoming book. 

In my opinion, every politician who is involved in making decisions about education should listen to this interview and plan on reading the book!

Why Great Teachers Are Fleeing the Profession
Rafe Esquith, Speakeasy, The Wall Street Jourhal, 7/17/13

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

National Association of School Psychologists: Stigmatizing Mental Health or Developmental Disorders is Harmful

The following is a statement released by the National Association of School Psychologists in response to the recent tragedy at an elementary school in Connecticut:


Bethesda, MD—As the initial shock of the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut begins to subside, the nation is left to contemplate why such a terrible tragedy occurred. There have been frequent reports in the news that the perpetrator had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and this may have been related to his homicidal behavior. While it is natural for people to want to understand why such an event occurred, speculating on possible causes at this time would be irresponsible. To conclude that the presence of such a diagnosis predisposes someone to commit this type of violence perpetuates an incorrect stereotype and maintains a stigma that often creates a reluctance to seek treatment.

Homicidal or sociopathic behaviors are often the result of a complex combination and interaction of risk factors, which may be environmental, biological, or both. In most cases, the presence of a diagnosable disorder or disability alone does not predispose someone to extreme or calculated violence. Implying so risks undermining the important efforts to reduce stigma around mental health problems and disabilities and may discourage individuals and families from seeking appropriate treatment. With appropriate treatment, especially early intervention, people with mental health issues can lead rich, full, and productive lives. 

The same is true for children exhibiting problem behaviors and learning difficulties. With proper interventions, children can overcome barriers to learning, display positive behavior, and engage in positive socialization. Indeed, the primary focus of school-based mental health services is to provide students with the necessary supports to thrive in school and throughout life. Providing ongoing access to these services also promotes school safety by helping students feel connected and supported and by helping to identify students who may need more intensive services. In these cases, collaboration among school, community providers, and families is critical to ensuring continuity and effectiveness of supports. Improved access to mental health services in schools remains among the most critical factors in preventing and responding to school crises. 

 Our nation must engage in a serious discussion about how we can improve our efforts to provide for the mental health needs of our children and youth; not just to prevent horrific acts of violence, but to support their well- being, academic achievement, and success in life. Speculating or circulating misinformation can be harmful and distracting to the mission of providing a safe school environment for our children. Numerous organizations have accurate information on the real risk factors and interventions for specific disorders and disabilities. These include, among others: the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), The Child Mind Institute, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and the Autism Society of America

NASP believes that ongoing efforts to improve school safety and to create safe and welcoming school environments are vital to promoting the well-being of all of our children. Eliminating stigma and providing needed mental health services and accurate information is critical to this mission. 

For additional information, visit or contact NASP Director of Communications, Kathy Cowan at


Below is a short list of articles that might be of interest. The first few focus on psychiatric co-morbidity and autism spectrum disorders. The last two articles provide information about the challenges young people with autism spectrum disorders face as they transition to adulthood.  These topics are important areas for further research.

Mazzone, Luigi; Ruta, Liliana; Reale, Laura.   Psychiatric comorbidities in Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism:  diagnostic challenges. Annals of  General  Psychiatry. 2012; 11: 16.
Published online 2012 June 25. doi:  10.1186/1744-859X-11-16
Link from publication:
Summary of studies published between 2000-2011 exploring psychiatric comorbidity in Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism:

Gagan Joshi, Carter Petty, Janet Wozniak, Aude Henin, Ronna Fried, Maribel Galdo, Meghan Kotarski, Sarah Walls, and Josephe Biederman: The Heavy Burden of Psychiatric Comorbidity in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Large Comparative Study of a Psychiatrically Referred Population
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders10.1007/s10803-010-0996-9

Taylor, Julie Lounds, Seltzer, Marsha Mailick. Employment and Post-Secondary Educational Activities for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders During the Transition to Adulthood Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 201010.1007/s10803-010-1070-3
Link to online publication:

Hendricks, D. (2010). Employment and adults with autism spectrum disorders: Challenges and strategies for success (pdf).Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 32(2), 125-134.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

UPDATED: Links and Resources for coping with (and preventing) tragedy - Sandy Hook and beyond

I have spent much of my adult life as a school psychologist,  working with children, teens, young adults, and those who care about them. This Sandy Hill Elementary tragedy hit close to home, because among those killed was a fellow school psychologist, Mary Sherlach.  My heart goes out to everyone who has been touched by this event in some way, especially the families of those who lost their lives. 

Before going on to the rest of my post, I encourage you to take a few moments to listen to the children singing Silent Night in honor of those who lost their lives on Friday, December 14, 2012.



Over the past few days, members of the National Association of School Psychologists  (NASP) have been providing information and resources for the public to assist with coping with the tragedy, and Twitter and Facebook have proven to be great ways to spread the word. 

Some of the information below is appropriate for those who are directly involved with the children who attend Sandy Hook Elementary or those who attend other elementary schools in the community.   Other articles have suggestions that would be appropriate for parents, teachers, and support staff in schools around the nation (and world).  There are other articles below that are good for those responsible for planning longer-term safe school strategies

Leading School Psychologist Advises How to Talk to Kids about Sandy Hook ShootingNASP: A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope - Tips for Parents and Teachers 
NASP: Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events: Tips for Parents and Teachers (pdf)
NASP: Threat Assessment at School: A Primer for Educators (pdf)
NASP: Threat Assessment: An Essential Component of a Comprehensive Safe School Program (pdf)
NASP: Helping Children Cope With Crisis: Care for Caregivers (pdf)
NASP: Tips for School Administrators for Reinforcing School Safety (pdf)
NASP: School Safety and Violence Prevention (Multiple links on topics such as mental health, suicide prevention, bullying, violence prevention planning, crisis prevention and intervention, and behavior/discipline). 
NASP: National Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT)
North Carolina Dept. of Justice: Keeping North Carolina Schools Safe & Secure (pdf)

If you are a parent or concerned member of your community, check your school district's website to learn more about what local safe school policies are in place. There may be a section with tips for parents. (Additional related resources can be found in the body of the comments below and at the end of this post.)


Violence prevention is a complex problem.
From my point of view, preventing or minimizing tragedies such as the one experienced at Sandy Hook Elementary will take a systems approach, and involve people from a number of disciplines. I am convinced that it will take a larger number of people, who can commit to sustaining their efforts over a long period of time. 

What troubles me in this case is that the perpetrator was homicidal, suicidal. and matricidal. He had the wherewithal to know that the school most likely had a school safety plan in place.  He did the unthinkable - he  used a powerful weapon to gain access by blasting through the entry doors. And he would not stop until he had killed 20 young children and a good handful of caring adults.

The problem of protecting schools from intruders can't be solved by making schools more prison-like. Sandy Hook school reportedly had a video surveillance system, locked front doors, a policy for visitors to be buzzed in, and a safe schools policy that required that all teachers (and students) receive training in what to do in an emergency requiring a school lock-down.  If these things were not in place, many more lives would have been lost.  

Firearms:  The Elephant in Our Nation's Living-Room
The elephant that is taking up a huge space in our country's living room?  Weapons that are appropriate for military and law enforcement use, such as the semi-automatic rifle that was in the hands of this young man, are readily available in most communities. We know that the perpetrator did not own the weapons he brought to Sandy Hook Elementary School.  We know that he had easy access to it because it was purchased legally by his mother, and apparently was kept in his home.  

This topic is a political hot potato, but worthy of serious study.  With "Big Data", advanced analytics, and some engaging information visualizations, I am sure something positive can emerge from the 'debate'.   (Nate Silver, author of the New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog, might have a few words to say on this topic, judging from his December 14th post, "In Public 'Conversation' on Guns, a Rhetorical Shift".)

Need for Research - Co-Morbidity - Identification, Evidence-based Treatment, and Prevention

At the time of this post, it was not certain if the perpetrator had a disability, a personality disorder, or a mental health disorder that may have contributed to his violent acts. We do not know if he was receiving treatment, or if he had ever been hospitalized or prescribed medication.  

Whatever the case, I am sure that the tragedy that happened at the Sandy Hook elementary school has caused additional worry for a number of parents of teens and young adults who struggle from mental health problems and other disorders.  Having worked with a number of young people with challenging mental health concerns over the years, including psychiatric patients with a history of serious violence, my heart goes out to these parents. I am sure some of them wonder if the next crisis that flashes on the news is something that was initiated by their child, no matter what the child's age.

Not everyone is aware that serious mental health disorders can crop insidiously during the early teens. The "red flags" might be attributed to puberty, and not be interpreted as precursors to something more serious.  Some mental illnesses become full -blown during the later teen years or during young adulthood, often past the age where a school psychologist or similar professional in the education system can step in to intervene, or provide resources and information for parents. 

Many families have struggled to obtain an appropriate level of care for their teen or young adult child, only to find that these services have been reduced due to budget cuts to mental health and transition-to-adulthood programs in their communities.  Many of these young people have good potential, but their mood states, unusual mannerisms, or periods of erratic thought processes make it difficult to interview for jobs and keep them unless they receive consistent support in the form of counseling, job coaching, and/or medical management. 

There is a need for more research and support that focuses on the needs of teen to young adult age group. This includes research in psychological treatment,group counseling approaches, psychopharmacology, mental health education, and more.   

For a graphic description of what this might be like for a parent of a teen who struggles with emotional/behavioral issues at time, see the blog post that has been circulating around the internet.  The mother, Liza Long, wrote the post  immediately after she learned of the Sandy Hook shootings. Her post triggered hundreds of comments, some of them critical.  In response, an anonymous school psychologist reflected on some experiences with a student in need of support.  I do not think the school psychologist's story exaggerates reality in any way. 

Role of technology in Intervention and Prevention:
Interactive digital media, such as serious games, might play a role in this effort.  For example, the Australian National University developed the MoodGym training program, an interactive, free web-based application that use a cognitive-behavior approach to cope with anxiety and depression, and E-Couch, an online program for preventing and coping with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.  

For middle-school children, the PBS ItsMyLife website provides a number of activities, games, and videos that explore topics such as emotions, school, friendships, bullying, and more. The website includes lesson plans for teachers and tips for parents. 

More research is underway to support the use of interactive digital technology to support mental health.  One example is the work of Stanford University's Calming Technology lab. Another example is the use virtual reality for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. The USC Institute of Creative Technologies has been involved in this area for a number of years. MindHabits, a suite of games developed by psychologists in Canada, was based on research and aims to help people reduce stress. 

Coincidentally, Connecticut's Southwest Regional Mental Health Board is developing a web-based resource for young adults with mental health concerns, if the information from a job posting for the project is correct:

"The goal of this project is to design or adopt an electronic/virtual system to engage young adults in mental health services.  This system would assist young adults in enhancing their own mental health, and addressing mental health issues as they arise or develop via an interactive, multi-media electronic platform.  This platform would integrate social networking and information media which may include website, facebook, You-Tube, Skype, blog, chat room, texting and phone apps.  Development of this platform will be informed by Connecticut youth and young adults and advised by an advisory group of statewide young adult leaders in the mental health and addiction fields."

It is my hope that the power of the "social" web will support efforts to collaborate and tackle this problem, on many levels.


Mental Health Issues - Co-morbidities
After I learned that it was speculated (but not confirmed) that the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings may have had Asperger's Syndrome,  I thought it would be helpful to include additional on the topic of Asperger's Syndrome and co-morbid mental health disorders.  

Mazzone, Luigi, Ruta, Liliana, Reale, Laura.   Psychiatric comorbidities in Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism:  diagnostic challenges. Annals of  General  Psychiatry. 2012; 11: 16.
Published online 2012 June 25. doi:  10.1186/1744-859X-11-16
Link from publication:
Summary of studies published between 2000-2011 exploring psychiatric comorbidity in Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism:

Taylor, Julie Lounds, Seltzer, Marsha Mailick. Employment and Post-Secondary Educational Activities for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders During the Transition to Adulthood Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 201010.1007/s10803-010-1070-3

Mental Health Issues: Funding
State Mental Health Cuts: A National Crisis (pdf) (2011) National Alliance on Mental Illness

Systems Approach/Prevention
The following resources are from various disciplines:

Systems Theory (Wikipedia)

2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action (pdf)
A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General and of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

Sunday, November 04, 2012

CFP for Special Issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing on Educational Interfaces, Software, and Technology (EIST) - Extended Deadline: December 9, 2012

CFP for Special Issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing on Educational Interfaces, Software, and Technology (EIST) - Extended Deadline: December 9, 2012
One of the primary goals of teaching is to prepare learners for life in the real world. In this ever-changing world of technologies such as mobile interaction, cloud computing, natural user interfaces, and gestural interfaces like the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect, people have a greater selection of tools for the task at hand. Given the potential of these new interfaces, software, and technologies as learning tools, as well as the ubiquitous application of interactive technology in formal and informal learning environments, there is a growing need to explore how next-generation technologies will impact education in the future. 

As a community of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and educational researchers, we need to theorize and discuss how new technologies should be integrated into the classrooms and homes of the future. In the last three years, three CHI workshops have provided a forum to discuss key issues of this sort, particularly in the context of next-generation education. The aim of this special issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing is to summarize the potential design challenges and perspectives on how the community should handle next-generation technologies in the education domain for both teachers and students.

We invite authors to present position papers about potential design challenges and perspectives on how the community should handle the next generation of HCI in education. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
  • Gestural input, multitouch, large displays
  • Mobile devices, response systems (clickers)
  • Tangible, VR, AR & MR, multimodal interfaces
  • Console gaming, 3D input devices
  • Co-located interaction, presentations
  • Educational pedagogy, learner-centric, child computer interaction
  • Empirical methods, case studies
  • Multi-display interaction
  • Wearable educational media

Important Dates
  • Full papers due: December 9, 2012
  • Initial reviews to authors: January 18, 2013
  • Revised papers due: March 15, 2013
  • Final reviews to authors: April 26, 2013
  • Final papers due: June 14, 2013

Submission Guidelines
Submissions should be prepared according to the Word template located at the bottom of this page. All manuscripts are subject to peer review. Manuscripts must be submitted as a PDF to the easychair submission system. Submissions should be no more than 8000 words in length.

Guest Editors and Contact Information
  • Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Cornell University
  • Quincy Brown, Bowie State University
  • Jochen Huber, Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Si Jung “Jun” Kim, University of Central Florida
  • Lynn Marentette, Union County Public Schools, Wolfe School
  • Max Mühlhäuser, Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Alexander Thayer, University of Washington 
  • Edward Tse, SMART Technologies

Information about the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Got Interactive (Multimedia) Textbooks Inside Your iPad or Tablet? Lots of Links!

Reposted from the Interactive Multimedia Technology Blog:

If you live in the US, and haven't yet heard, the U.S. government is encouraging K-12 schools to adopt interactive digital textbooks within the next five years.  Are we ready?  I don't think so.  There is a battle of the tablets going on as I type this post.  

Traditional, "old-school" textbook publishers appear to be key players in this game, but I am not sure if they have the know-how to create interactive content that is fresh, "touchable", engaging, and meaningful to young people.  A boring textbook, tweaked tweaked for a bit of interactivity and multimedia content will not suffice.

Feel free to take your time and visit the links I've shared so far. I'm still reflecting on what I've learned so far and will share more of my thoughts in future related posts.

Leaders Discuss Transition to Digital Textbooks
The LEAD commission 

Nation's Digital Learning Report Card (Interactive map)
Digital Learning Now!

US FCC: Digital Textbook Playbook (website)

Digital Textbook Playbook (pdf)
The Digital Textbook Collaborative, 2/1/12

Slide PresentationCharting our Transition to "Interactive Digital Textbooks"  (pdf)
FCC LEAD Commission (Leading Education by Advancing Digital)
Video: Remarks by (FCC) Chairman Genachowski and Digital Education Leaders on National Adoption of Digital Textbooks

Key players: 
Dan Caton, McGraw-Hill
Will Ethridge, Pearson
Jose Ferreira, Knewton
Bill Goodwyn, Discovery Education
Joel Klein, News Corp
Matt MacInnis, Inkling
Osman Rashid, Kno
Dan Rosenweig, Chegg 
Linda Zecher, Houghton Mifflin 

Arne Duncan Calls for Textbooks To Become Obsolete in Favor of Digital  
Josh Lederman, Huff Post Education 10/2/12

Kno Interactive Textbooks App Now Available for Google Nexus Tablet and Google Play 
Business Wire, 10/29/12  Kno

Teaching with tablets: Will our children be using electronic textbooks to learn?  
Jamie Carter, 10/19/12

In digital textbook transition, device availability is just the beginning
Ki Mae Heusser, Gigaom, 10/22/12

Amazon challenges Apple in education with Whispercast
Ki Mae Heussner, Gigaom, 10/17/12

To empower students, let's bring interactive learning tools into the classroom  
Troy Williams (President of Macmillan New Ventures) Venture Beat, 10/30/12

Press Release: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Launches New High School iBooks Textbooks Digital Book Wire, 10/25/12

South Korea Classrooms to go fully Digital by 2015
Ben Gruber, Reuters, 10/5/12

South Africa: Launch of OS-Agnostic Digital Textbook Publishing Platform 
All Africa, 10/23/12

Whitepaper: From Paper to Pixel: Digital Textbooks and Florida Schools (pdf) 
Marcia Mardis, Nancy Everhart, Daniella Smith, Janice Newsum, Sheila Baker, Florida State University PALM Center, 2010

Whitepaper:  The Digital World of Young Children: Imact on Emergent Literacy (pdf))  Jay Blanchard, Terry More, Arizona State University, 2010 (Includes demographics about digital media survey data in selected developing and least developed nations.)

Apple Pushes Interactive Textbooks on iPads  
NPR Staff and Wires, 1/19/12
"Forrester Research said e-books accounted for only 2.8 percent of the $8 billion U.S. textbook market in 2010."

Engage: Apples New Tools for Interactive Books on iPad  

Tim Carmody, Wired, 1/19/12

Inkling Reinvents Textbooks as Interactive, Multimedia Learning Tools on the Tablet  David Weir, 7x7 SF, 7/1/11


iBooks Author (free app)  -Apple

What's New in iBooks Author 2.0 -Apple

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press Release: Student Math Scores Jump 20 Percent with HMH Algebra Curriculum for Apple iPAd; App Transforms Classroom Education1/20/12HMH Fuse Pilot Program (Website)


Digital Book World (Website)
MediaShift: Your Guide to the Digital Media Revolution (PBS website)
The Transition to Digital Journalism  Paul Grabowicz, Knight Digital Media Center, Berkeley, 10/26/12
How to make BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) work for your schools Laura Dvaney, eSchool News, 10/29/12
BLOG: Mind/Shift: How we will learn (KQED)
iBooks Author

iPad3 and iPad Mini: Hands-on Side-by Side Comparison Video, by Eric Sailers (quick post)

Here is a good side-by-side "hands-on" comparison of the new iPad3 and the new iPad Mini by Eric Sailers:

Eric Sailers is a speech and language pathologist who has co-created apps for iOS devices since 2009. His website has a wealth of information iOS devices and apps for education, especially for children with special needs.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

NAO/Aldebaran has an opening for a developer and intern to work on special education applications for the NAO robot.

NAO has a variety of positions available for application developers, engineers, and more. The following two opportunities would be ideal for people who have multi-disciplinary skills that include technology and special education, with a focus on young people with autism. The following job descriptions are from the Aldbaran website.

For more information about the NAO robot, take a look at the videos and links provided one of my previous blog posts.

Application Developer - Autism Educative Treatments 


Following the creation of the Autism Business Unit in needs of new educative applications for kids with autism, ALDEBARAN Robotics is looking for a computer / cognitive sciences engineer able to address Python software development problematic on robotics technology.
To success this mission, you will work in relation with the Autism Business Unit and the Aldebaran Robotics Development Studio
Job description
You will be responsible for:
  • The design and development of new educative applications for children with autism on NAO, by making the most of Nao skills (motion, speech synthesis and recognition, vision, web…)
  • Project tuning after user tests and feedbacks
  • Reliable and professional solution development related to the autism problematic


  • Passion for disrupting and changing current special educational paradigms via robotics technology
  • Master Degree in computer or cognitive sciences
  • Experienced Python Programmer
  • Three years software development experience preferred
  • Able to integrate different technologies to create high interactive behaviors
  • Multi-disciplinary skills with interests and knowledge in cognitive psychology, developmental disabilities (especially autism), education and teaching skills
  • Creative, Dynamic, Organized, detail oriented, responsible and dedicated
  • Full Time availability
Javascript, previous knowledge of NAO/Choregraphe would be plus, as well as interests and experience in human-machine interaction, AI, image and audio signal analysis.
You might be asked to attend meetings and to help at beta testing in special schools
This position is based in Boston (MA - USA), possession of a work visa is required for non-Americans.
immediate position
send resume + cover letter atindicating the reference of this post (INFO10-0512)
Job based in Boston ( MA - USA).


The Studio of Aldebaran Robotics is responsible of providing applications for internal (demonstrations, commercial material) and external (for customers or research partnership) use. As member of the studio allocated to the Special Education project, you will exchange with the R&D team as well as with the Autism Business Unit.
You will vouch (with the studio) for the coherence in the applications and the success of commercial demonstrations.
Internship description
During the internship, you will:
  • Develop new educative applications for children with autism on NAO, our humanoid robot, by making the most of his skills (motion, speech synthesis and recognition, vision, web…)
  • Tune the applications after end-user tests and feedbacks


  • Bachelor Degree in computer or cognitive sciences
  • Experienced Python Programmer
  • Able to integrate different technologies to create high interactive behaviors
  • Creative, Dynamic, Organized, detail oriented, responsible and dedicated
  • Full Time availability
  • Multi-disciplinary skills with interests and knowledge in robotics technology, cognitive psychology, developmental disabilities (especially autism), education and teaching skills

If successful, this internship might lead to a full-time job opportunity.
This internship is based in Boston (MA - USA), possession of a visa is required for non-Americans
immediate position
send resume + cover letter atindicating the reference of this post (INFO22-ST12)
Job based in Boston ( MA - USA).

Cute NAO robot performs "Evolution of Dance" and is an active participant in research with young people who have autism spectrum disorders

The following is a cross-post from the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog:

I came across a cute video of a NAO robot performing the Evolution of Dance, and as I smiled, I remembered that the robot was used in some research about interventions for young people with autism. 

The technology behind the NAO robot was developed by Aldebaran Robotics, and more details can be found on thecompany's website, along with the video and links I've provided below. (Aldebaran Robotics is hiring, btw.)

Enjoy the dance performance!

Evolution of Dance by NAO Robot 

DEPCO NAO Robot and Notre Dame Autism Research 

NAO Next: Gen: The New Robot of Aldebaran Robotics

New Robot Helps Autistic Children Interact (UConn) Research with Tim Giffort, CEO of Movia Robotics, and UConn professor Anjana Bhat 

(Above)Bruno Maisonnier of Aldebaran Robots Highlights Therapeutic Uses of the NAO Robot 

Aldebaran Robotics NAO Developer Website Psychologist explores effective treatment options for children with autism disorders 
Susan Guibert, Notre Dame News, 4/16/10 
Robot Speaks the Language of Kids 
Beth Krane, UConn Today, 8/5/10 
Movia Robotics: Systems for Learning, Training, Education and Therapy 
Timothy Gifford and Anjana Bhat on Using Robots to Help Autistic Children 
Rachel Z. Arndt, FastCompany, 4/1/11 
Anjana N. Bhat, University of Connecticut Timothy Gifford 
Social story powerpoint for children with autism who are participate in research at the FUN Lab at Notre Dame (ppt)