Sunday, April 25, 2010

The New Media Consortium's Horizon Report, K-12 Edition: Emerging Technologies to Watch - Cloud, Collaborative, Gaming, Mobile, Augmented,

"Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession." - 2010 Horizon Report, K-12 Edition

"The second Horizon Report for the K-12 sector describes the continuing work of the NMC’s Horizon Project, a research project that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies that will likely have a significant impact on K-12 education. This report was produced in partnership with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and was made possible via a grant from HP. "

Emerging technologies to watch, and how they might affect education, according to the Horizon Report:

A few key points regarding emerging technology and education:
  • "Many policy makers and educators believe that deep reform is needed, but at the same time, there is little agreement as to what a new model of education might look like."
  • "Students are different, but educational practice and the materials that support it are changing only slowly."
  •  "Many activities related to learning  and education take place outside the walls of the classroom — but these experiences are often undervalued or unacknowledged."
About the New Media Consortium
"The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an international not-for-profit consortium of learning-focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. Its hundreds of member institutions constitute an elite list of the most highly regarded colleges and universities in the world, as well as leading museums, key research centers, and some of the world's most forward-thinking companies. For more than 15 years, the consortium and its members have dedicated themselves to exploring and developing potential applications of emerging technologies for learning, research, and creative inquiry. The consortium's Horizon Reports are regarded worldwide as the most timely and authoritative sources of information on new and emerging technologies available to education anywhere.

Horizons K-12 Advisory Board 

Don Henderson, Chair, Apple Inc. United States
Larry Johnson, Co-PI, The New Media Consortium, United States 
Keith Krueger, Co-PI, Consortium for School Networking, United States
Rob Ackerman, Bedford Public Schools, United States

Cristiana Mattos Assumpção, Colegio Bandeirantes, Brazil
Jeffrey Bajgot,Center for Educational Leadership and Technology,United States
Roger Blamire, European Schoolnet, Brussels Belgium
Stephen Breslin, Futurelab, United Kingdom
Christopher Brown, Pearson, United States
Jeanne Century, CEMSE, University of Chicago, United States
Horn Mun Cheah, Ministry of Education, Singapore
Kim Cofino,International School Bangkok,Thailand
Gavin Dykes,Cellcove Ltd.,United Kingdom
Lucy Gray, CEMSE, University of Chicago, United States
Claus Gregersen, Herning Gymnasium, Denmark
Steve Hargadon, Elluminate, United States
Marisa Hartling, Houston Independent School District, United States
Karen Greenwood Henke, Nimble Press, United States
Julie Hoo, Raffles Girls’ School, Singapore
Øystein Johannessen, Ministry of Education and Research, Norway
Barry Joseph, Global Kids, United States
Jim Klein, Saugus School District, United States
Alan Levine, The New Media Consortium, United States
Adrian Lim, Apple Inc., Singapore
Julie Lindsay, Beijing (BISS) International School, China
Julie Little, EDUCAUSE, United States
Jan Morrison, Washoe County School District, United States
Kathryn Moyle, University of Canberra, Australia
Judy O’Connell, St Joseph’s College, Australia
Alice Owen, Irving Independent School District, United States
Dan Phelan, Lake Washington School District, United States
Garry Putland, Education Services,  Australia
Will Richardson, Powerful Learning Practice, United States
Rachel Smith, The New Media Consortium, United States
Tammy Stephens, The Stephens Consulting Group, United States
Kari Stubbs, Brainpop, United States
Stan Trevena, Modesto City Schools, United States
Michael Trucano, World Bank, United States
Jim Vanides, HP, United States
Darrell Walery, Consolidated High School District 230, United States
Jeannette Weisschuh, HP, Germany
Guus Wijngaards, INHolland University, The Netherlands

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Math Curriculum Makover - Dan Meyer TED xNYED Talk Video

Dan Meyer is a high school math teacher. Watch the video of his TED xNYEd Talk. I am sure you will enjoy his insights.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CyberSmart! Free Cyberbullying Awareness Curriculum, partnership with the National Association of School Psychologists

CyberSmart! Cyberbullying Awareness Curriculum

"NASP is pleased to partner with CyberSmart! to bring to educators and parents theCyberSmart! Cyberbullying Awareness Curriculum, a positive and empowering suite of K-12 lessons provided free to schools. These materials can facilitate prevention of cyberbullying at the classroom level, and help provide outreach to families and the community."
"In developing these lessons, CyberSmart! adopted an integrated approach, examining all current research findings and using best practices from the fields of cyber security, school violence prevention, and character education to affect behavioral change. The new curriculum is designed to guide students to think and act creatively and critically, defining the problems and issues themselves, and thus “owning” them. Without this ownership, no behavioral change can occur."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Early Intervention, Reading, and RTI: Great article from Education Week

Responding to RTI
"Early-reading expert Richard Allington believes response to intervention is possibly "our last, best hope" for achieving full literacy in the United States. So why does he sound so unhopeful?"

By Anthony Rebora

I'd like to see an RTI approach to supporting students with disabilities at the high school level. Too many are dropping out of school.

Somewhat Related:

KIDS COUNT Indicator Brief: Reducing the High School Dropout Rate (pdf)

"Since 2004, 28 states increased their requirements for graduating from high school with a standard diploma for students both with and without disabilities, and some states report that one result was a rise in dropout rates (National Center on Educational Outcomes, 2007)."
Anna E. Casey Foundation

Call for Papers: Theme Issue on Technologies for Autism

Call for Papers: Theme Issue on Technologies for Autism
Editors: Gillian Hayes, University of California, Irvine and Karrie Karahalios, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Publication:  Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), also known as Pervasive Development Disorder, includes impairments in social interaction, communication—both verbal and non-verbal—and stereotypical or repeated behavior, interests and activities. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control using data from the United States in 2006 indicated a rise in prevalence of ASD to 1 in 110 children: 1 in 70 boys and 1 in 310 girls. Individuals across the Spectrum can potentially benefit from the use of novel computing technologies, including assistive and augmentative technologies, social computational systems, sensing and context-aware systems, capture and access applications, wearable systems, and more.

This special issue calls for original research and methodology papers on the integration of personal and ubiquitous computing technologies in support of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The purpose of this special issue is to bring together a set of research papers that will (1) advance our understanding of Technologies for autism, (2) discuss the role of technology in Supporting individuals with ASD, their friends and families, and (3) provide examples of effective technologies for autism. Through this special issue, we hope to bring together a diverse set of researchers working in autism, pediatrics, computer science, cognitive science, education, sociology, psychology, anthropology, information science, and more.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):
Empirical studies exploring issues related to autism that might be amenable to technological intervention;
Empirical studies of technologies in use to support individuals with ASD;
Methodologies for conducting research on technologies for autism;
New designs and technologies that support individuals with ASD, their friends, relatives, co-workers, and acquaintances;
Evaluation techniques for technologies for autism;
Case studies on the deployment and long-term use of technologies for autism.

Important Dates:
Papers to be submitted: August 16, 2010
Peer reviews completed: November 16, 2010
Revisions completed and submitted: January 1, 2011
Publication date: March/April 2011

To submit your paper, please email as PDF format to and


Here are a few of my posts related to technology, intervention, and autism spectrum disorders in some way. I hope that the links and references I've posted will be helpful to researchers in this important field of study and practice:

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Digital Native Speaks.

One of my Facebook friends posted this video of a digital native letting teachers know that in no uncertain terms that they MUST get on board with the interent & technology thing:

Friday, April 09, 2010

Cool iPad App for Speech and Language Therapy! (Video demo via Eric Sailer and Jason Rinn)

Eric Sailers, a speech and language pathologist and assistive technology specialist, has developed ArtikPix, an articularion applicaton for the iPad, along with Jason Rinn.

The application is free, and there are options to purchase additional levels for use. Here is the video demo:

Eric Sailer's Blog:
Speech and Language Pathology Sharing

Jason Rinn's Website:
RinnApps: Mobile Apps for Educators and Parents

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Thoughts while updating my "Mega-List of Resources and References: Technology, Psychology, Intervention & Prevention"

On August 1st, 2006, I posted my "Mega-List of Resources and References: Technology, Psychology, Intervention & Prevention".   At that time, I had taken only a few computer courses, such as game design/development, beginning programming, internet/computer multimedia, etc.  Since then, I've been collecting more resources- some scholarly, some not.

If you are new to this blog, here is a little history:

Not long after I posted my 2006 "Mega List", I watched Jeff Han's TED Talk video of his multi-touch table, and I was bitten by the bug.  I knew immediately that I had to have something just like it, and I knew that it would be great for use at work.  As a school psychologist, I have provided group activities for "at-risk" students and students with special needs, and most often, around a table.  That led me to focus my projects on large display/surface interaction in some of my subsequent computer courses.  I joined the NUI-Group in 2007 because I wanted to build my own table. Unfortunately, there was little time left at the end of the semester to do so- my team mates were also pretty busy.

Three years later:
I can't believe that I have a multi-touch table, a SMARTTable, at one of my schools, just three years after wanting to build my own. I have all sorts of design ideas for tabletop applications, but little time to implement them, as I still work full time as a school psychologist.  (Some of my references and resources will focus on this aspect of my tech journey.)

I'm hoping that the next wave of educational technology will have more of an impact than the last wave.  In my opinion, much of what I've seen has been more of the same stuff that was around in the 1980's and 1990's - electronic worksheets dressed up with electronic bells and whistles.  

With the ever-spreading 1:1 laptop initiatives, I predict that the dressed-up "skill and drill" applications will morph just a bit and pretend that they are perfect for meeting the needs of 21st Century Learners, even though 21st Century Learners should be learning how to work cooperatively and collaboratively in groups, and focus on learning activities that stimulate deep understanding of concepts.... As some of my colleagues say, "worksheets don't grow dendrites",  1:1 skill-and drill applications, masquerading as 21st Century learning tools, probably won't grow many dendrites, either!  
Most of the young people I've known over the years were strong visual thinkers. They love movies and video games.  They often are artistic or musical.  They don't like to sit still and listen for long when teachers present information through lectures and discussions. 

If you are a school psychologist, you know this type of student.  They do really well on spatial reasoning and non-verbal reasoning subtests.   They don't do so well on measures of short term auditory memory or short-term auditory working memory.    What this means is that in a nice, quiet testing environment, without distractions, they can barely remember number sequences, and stumble when asked to repeat short sentences and passages.  If you happen to administer a cognitive test, like the WISC-IV, during some of the verbal sub-tests,  they will forget what you just asked them, or even forget what they were going to say.   Sometimes you know they know it, but they just can retrieve the information from long-term verbal memory.  If you administer the WJ-III cognitive assessment, they often will perform poorly on the Cognitive Efficiency cluster,  and as a result, will receive an overall cognitive score that is more of a reflection of their short-term memory and attention difficulties than their ability to reason and think at a higher, more abstract level.

Some of these students have difficulty with taking notes, especially from the board.  They often can't locate important information from their textbooks.  You can spot this type of student right away.  They are still flipping through textbook pages as the teacher moves forward with the lesson or directions.   Sometimes they don't even realize what they are supposed to be doing, so they just sit there. The teachers and parents of these students will tell you that anything they say "goes in one ear and out the other".  

My fear is that electronic work-book applicatons(dressed up with 21st century bells and whistles) bundled with 1:1 laptops will be welcomed by many teachers.  This approach will fit right in with teachers who have a fondness for worksheets, but don't like having to check so many papers.   The laptop/electronic workbook will fit right in to this sort of pedagogy. (I am not against a little bit of skill and drill supported by a worksheet or two, electronic or otherwise, by the way.)
Here is a blurb for a 2001 product from School Zone that is an example of my point:

  • "School Zone Interactive’s award-winning Electronic Workbook CD-ROM series is being heralded by teachers nationwide for its refreshing back-to-basics approach to educational software for children. Based on School Zone Publishing’s top-selling workbook content, which has been trusted by teachers for over twenty years, Electronic Workbooks provide a prodigious amount of educational content adorned with entertaining games and delightful animations for children ages 2-12."  Current examples:  School Zone Third Grade Software List

In a way, the electronic workbook-on-a-laptop method of instruction doesn't have to be just skill-and-drill.  There are some advantages to this approach, especially if you consider applications that incorporate an adaptive feature.  One good example of this the Wayang Outpost, an application that does go beyond skill-and-drill. This application is accessed via the internet:

"Funded by several research programs at the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of EducationWayang Outpost is state-of-the-art technology designed to increase standardized test scores and help teachers in their assessment of students' strengths. Wayang Outpost is designed to learn along with the student. As the student progresses though the math problem presented, Wayang Outpost adjusts instruction, using individualized strategies that are effective for each student. It is available free to teachers, schools, after-school programs, and for use from home."
FYI:  Here is an example of one of the publications:

Arroyo, I., Ferguson, K., Johns, J., Dragon, T., Meheranian, H., Fisher, D., Barto, A., Mahadevan, S., Woolf, B.P. (2007) Repairing Disengagement with Non-Invasive Interventions. To appear in Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of Artificial Intelligence in Education. IOS Press

Other applications that go beyond skill-and-drill that can be accessed via a laptop with an internet connection include the DimensionU series, which includes a multi-player algebra game, as well as games for different core subjects.

"Welcome to DimensionU, a prestigious game-based training facility for K-12 students. In DimensionU, you can access multiplayer educational video games that help you hone your skills, connect with friends, climb the ranks and have a blast.  Click on the orbiting green M above to transport yourself to DimensionM, where multiplayer educational games for Math can be found, or click on the blue S to transport yourself to DimensionS where you can work on your Science skills.  Challenge other students around the corner or around the world. No matter whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there’s always more to learn and do in DimensionU. Where do you want to play today?"   

DimensionU product efficacy studies

The best part of these applications is that they track progress with reliable data, which is integral to regular education RTI (Response to Intervention) efforts. Additional, this form of data tracking is useful to special educators who need to track their students' progress towards IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals. 
At any rate, I have lots of references and resources that I'd like to share in the near future. They cover topics such as interactive whiteboard and 1:1 laptop research,  emerging technologies in education,  the use of video games for learning and therapeutic purposes, issues of technology integration,  and topics such as "RTI and Assistive Technology",  RTI and UDL",  cloud computing and educational technology,  new forms of data/progress monitoring software, and so forth.  Of course, there will be more about interactive mult-touch displays and tables for learning!

Other Thoughts
I'm also interested in looking at how technology can move school psychologists into the 21st century.  Take the subject of cognitive assessment for a start.   Here is an example to illustrate my point:

A couple of years ago, I was administering a WISC-IV to a high school student that I also saw for counseling.  My hand started to cramp as I was recording his responses to some of the Verbal subtest items.  He said something like, "Mrs. Marentette, you always use your laptop to take notes during our sessions.  Why do you have to use a pen and paper to write down everything I'm saying now?"   Until that moment, I hadn't given it much thought.   
An additional topic I'll discuss in the future: "Seamless/Ubiquitious Learning" - and how it can support learners, teachers, parents, and related service providers, including school psychologists.
2006: Mega List of Resources and References:  Technology, Psychology, Intervention & Prevention
Technology and the 21st Century School Psychologist, Speech and Language Pathologist, Special Educator, Etc.
TPACK Framework:  Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Assistive Technology, and Universal Design for Learning
UPDATE:  Cognitive "bursts", technology-supported interventions, interactive whiteboards, digital storytelling, and reflections about a new SMARTTable.

Monday, April 05, 2010

TPACK Framework: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Assistive Technology, and Universal Design for Learning

Note:  This did not format properly on my last post.  This is a discussion about assistive technology and 21st Century Schools, and is important information for educators, special educators, school psychologists, speech and language therapist, or anyone else who works with at-risk students and technology in the schools.

TPACK and ASSISITIVE TECHNOLOGY (TPACK Information and links are provided after this discussion

Marino, Sameshima, and Beecher, from Washington State University, have looked at a newer model of educational technology, TPACK (Technology Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge) and extended it to assistive technology.  In my opinion, there needs to be more of an interrelationship between AT and TCPK in diagram 2.

1) TPACK   Framework              2) TPACK Framework Applied to Assistive Technology

TPCK diagram

Marino, M. T., Sameshima, P., & Beecher, C. C. (2009). Enhancing TPACK with assistive technology: Promoting inclusive practices in preservice teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education,9(2). Retrieved from

Abstract: "As the global community continues the transition from an industrialized factory model to an information and now participatory networked-based society, educational technology will play a pivotal role in preparing students for their futures. Many teacher preparation programs are failing to provide preservice teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to adopt and utilize technology effectively. This paper presents an enhanced technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) model that adds assistive technology as a means to promote inclusive educational practice for preservice teachers. This model offers substantive promise for improving learning outcomes for students with disabilities and other traditionally marginalized populations who receive the majority of their classroom instruction in general education settings. This paper extends the TPACK model by providing specific examples of how assistive technology and
instructional technology are distinct yet overlapping constructs. Essential technology skills for preservice teachers and strategies supporting inclusive educational practice are identified."

Parette, H.P., Smith, S., Gray, T., Silver-Pacuilla, H. : The State of Assistive Technology: The Outcomes Summit. (pdf)

ISTE.CommunityNing Discussion, Special Education Technology SIG:

The model I've had in my head is a mix of TPACK and the 3-tiered model, described by David Edyburn:

David L.  Edyburn.  Response to Intervention (RTI) Is There a Role for Assistive Technology? (pdf) Special Education Technology Practice   Jan/Feb 2009 15-19.
Response to Intervention (RTI) Is there a Role for Assistive Technology (html)

David L. Edyburn. (2010) ISTE CommunityNING discussion: Response to Intervention (RTI), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Assistive Technology (AT): How to Connect the Dots
From  Special Educational Technology Practice:
Three tier RTI model
Quotes from Dave Edyburn:
"My concern is that the AT field is not really at the table in these discussions. And, as we use RTI to collect more data-based evidence about student performance, neither AT or UDL is prepared to contribute to the discussion. I think this puts special education technology professionals at the margins.. Descriptions of RTI typically make little mention of technology. Unfortunately, this communicates a message that technology is not a core tool to be used when designing interventions within each tier.. Advocates of RTI typically have little experience with technology. As a result, technology is not routinely consider to be an essential tool when designing solutions for struggling students. Therefore, technology advocates will need to be much more aggressive to ensure that technology tools continue to be considered as part of the solution set for struggling students. Technology developers will need to become much more committed to creating products that collect data on student performance and generate reports that clearly communicate student progress."

David Edyburn's References:

Bradley, R., Danielson, L., & Doolittle, J. (2007). Responsiveness to intervention: 1997 to 2007. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39(5), 8-12.
Edyburn, D.L. (2007). Technology enhanced reading performance: Defining a research agenda. Reading Research Quarterly, 42(1), 146-152.
Edyburn, D.L. (2006a). Cognitive prostheses for students with mild disabilities: Is this what assistive technology looks like? Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(4), 62-65.
Edyburn, D.L. (2006b). Re-examining the role of assistive technology in learning.Closing the Gap, 25(5), 10-11, 26.
Edyburn, D.L. (2006c). Failure is not an option: Collecting, reviewing, and acting on evidence for using technology to enhance academic performance. Learning and Leading With Technology, 34(1), 20-23.
Hoover, J.J., & Patton, J.R. (2008). The role of special educator in a multitiered instructional system. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43(4), 195-202.

TPACK: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge 

Information from the wiki:

"Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge(TPACK), builds on Shulman’s idea of PCK, and attempts to capture some of the essential qualities of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge. At the heart of the TPACK framework, is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK). See Figure."

Key Papers about TPACK:
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record. 108(6), 1017-1054.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing Technological Pedagogical Knowledge. In AACTE (Eds.). The Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Educators. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.  for a copy:

Punya Mishra's Website

Developing a Game-based Learning Environment in Classrooms: A Conceptual Model Wen-Hsiung Wu, National Kaohsiung University of Applied Science, Taiwan; Wei-Fan Chen, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

“Bit by Bit Putting it All Together” How a Holistic View of Assessment Changed Our Perception of the TPACK Framework Colleen Sexton, Governors State University, USA; Michael Gordon, Governors State University, USA; Kathleen Hickey, Governors State University, USA

Testing a TPACK-Based Technology Integration Assessment Rubric Judi Harris, College of William and Mary, USA; Neal Grandgenett, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA; Mark Hofer, College of William and Mary, USA

Figg, C. & McCartney, R. (2010). Impacting academic achievement with student learners teaching digital storytelling to others: The ATTTCSE digital video project. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 10(1).

Archambault, L, and Crippen, K. (2009) Examining TPACK Among K-12 Online Distance Educators in the United States CITE: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education.

Schmidt, D.A., Baran, E., Thompson, A. D, Koehler, M.J., Mishra, P, and Shin, T. Survey of Pre-service Teachers' Knowledge of Teaching and Technology. (March 3, 2009).

So, H.-J. & Kim, B. (2009). Learning about problem based learning: Student teachers integrating technology, pedagogy and content knowledge. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25(1), 101-116. Available online at

TPACK as Shared, Distributed Knowledge Hæge NoreAkershus University College, Faculty of Technical and Vocational Teacher Education, Norway; Kirsti L. Engelien, University of Oslo, Department of Teacher Education and School Development, Norway; Monica Johannesen, Oslo University College, Faculty of Education and International Studies, Norway

From the TPACK WIKI:

"The Learning By Design approach is used to help teachers develop a flexible and situated understanding of technology (Koehler & Mishra, 2005). In this approach, inservice teachers work collaboratively in small groups to develop technological solutions to authentic pedagogical problems. In order to go beyond the simple “skills instruction” view offered by the traditional workshop approach, we have argued that it is necessary to teach technology in contexts that honor the rich connections between technology, the subject matter Content (content), and the means of teaching it (the pedagogy).
This approach has been influenced by a number of theoretical traditions, including: socialconstructivism (Cole, 1997; Vygotsky, 1978); constructionism (Harel, 1991; Harel &Papert, 1991); and personally motivated and meaningful design projects for students (Blumenfeld et. al, 1991; Carver, Lehrer, Connell, & Erickson, 1992; Harel & Papert, 1990, Kafai, 1995; Kafai & Resnick, 1996; Kolodner, 2002; Lehrer, 1993).
In practice, this approach has been used by Mishra & Koehler over semester long projects, such as the design of online-courses, the design of educational films, or the re-design of existing web-sites. This approach, and the subsequent study of teachers who participate in the environmnent, has been instrumental in the theoretical building of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK)Framework."


Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice (Blog)
A "Naked Truth" about Technologies in Schools

Dr. Edyburn's 2007 Map of the Special Education Technology Literature

Topics:  Trends and Issues, Assistive Technology, Professional Development, Instructional Design, Access for Diverse Populations, Technology and Instruction, Access for Diverse Populations, Historical/Policy/Legal

Technology and the 21st Century School Psychologist, Speech and Language Pathologist, Special Educator, Etc....

If you work in a school setting, you've probably heard a lot of buzz about technology and "21st Century Learning".  The purpostie of this post is to provide readers with a list of links that are worth taking the time to read.  I also encourage readers to participate in the discussion about "21st Century Schools" with their colleagues - within their respective fields, and with their regular-education work-mates.

Much of the effort towards the 21st Century Schools movement is focused on providing pathways to ramp up the skills of regular education teachers so they can harness new technologies and more effective pedagogical practices to ensure they prepare their students for life in an increasingly technological society.     How will these changes impact current models that are proving to be effective, such as school-wide systems like Response to Intervention (RTI), Problem-Solving Teams, School-Wide Positive Behavioral Supports, and so forth?

Many teachers may not be aware of the range of technologies available to their students, and there are many questions that need to be addressed:

  • What are the emerging technologies we need to know about? 
  • How do we determine the effectiveness of emerging technologies with "at-risk" and special needs students, especially when there is little research in this area?
  • How do we incorporate emerging technologies into the way we approach Universal Design for Learning?
  • What sorts of emerging technologies can be viewed as a form of assistive technology?
  • How can assistive technologies be used in a prevention/intervention model, such as RTI?
  • What sort of information do we need to make "evidence-based" decisions regarding the interventions we recommend for regular education (and special needs) students, given the move towards using more technology and collaborative learning strategies in regular education classrooms?     
One of my concerns is that higher functioning students with autism-spectrum disorders who have the skills to work well in traditional classrooms may need additional support to participate in collaborative group activities. How will this play out in middle and high school settings that are moving towards inclusion/co-teaching models of instruction?

More questions: 
One of my schools recently received a multiuser, multi-touch SMARTTable, something that I think would be great for "21st Century" psycho-educational and language assessments.  Are the test publishers thinking about this sort of thing?     Has anyone developed an assessment for measuring cooperative and collaborative skills that goes beyond a checklist or rating scale?

Those are just a few thoughts. Below are some links related to "21st Century" schools. At the end of this post is a slide presentation about Response to Intervention (RTI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Below this section are links to information about using technology for  RTI (Response to Intervntion) and UDL (Universal Design for Learning).  My next post includes information about AT (Assistive Technology), and a framework called TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) that has been extended to incorporate assistive technology.

Transforming American Education:  Learning Powered by Technology: Draft National Educational Technology Plan 2010. (pdf)  Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Dept. of Education

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Joan Ganz Cooney Center
"The Joan Ganz Cooney Center will focus new attention on the challenges children face today, asking the 21st century equivalent of her original question, "How can emerging media help children learn?"

Wallis, C. The Impacts of Media Multitasking on Children’s Learning & Development The Joan Ganz Cooney Center - Meeting Report - 2010 (pdf)
Shuler, C. 
iLearn: A Content Analysis of the iTunes App Store’s Education Section The Joan Ganz Cooney Center - Report - 2009 (pdf)
Wellings, J., Levine, M.H.
The Digital Promise: Transforming Learning with Innovative Uses of Technology The Joan Ganz Cooney Center - White Paper - 2009 (pdf)
Thai, A. M., Lowenstein, D., Ching, D., and Rejeski, D. Game
Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children's Learning and Health The Joan Ganz Cooney Center - Policy Brief - 2009 (pdf)

Shuler, C. (2009) Pockets of Potential:  Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children's Learning.
Gee, J.P.: (2008) Getting Over the Slump: Innovation Strategies to Promote Children's Learning. 
Shore, R. (2008) The Power of "Pow! Wham!": Children, Digital Media, & Our Nation's Future-Three Challenges for the Coming Decade. (pdf)
Chiong, C. (2009) Can Video Games Promote Intergenerational Play & Literacy Learning?(pdf)
Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds The Kaiser Family Foundation - Report - 2010

There are a number of  articles published by CISCO and/or the Metiri Group:
Lemke, C., Coughlin, E., Reifsneider, D. (2009). Technology in the Schools: What Does the Research Say? (pdf)
Lemke, C. (2009) Multitimodal Learning through Media:  What the Research Says (pdf)
Williams, S.M. 
The Impact of Collaborative, Scaffolded Learning in K-12 Schools: A Meta-Analysis (pdf)
A Complete Guide to One-to-One Computing in the K-12 Environment (pdf) 2008, e.Republic/ mpc| Gateway;  Center for Digital Education
Weston, M.E., and Bain, A.  The End of Techno-Critique: The Naked Truth about 1:1 Laptop Initiatives and Educational Change. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment. V 9, 6, February 2010. (Special Edition:  Educational Outcomes & Research from 1:1 Computing Settings)

Shapley, K.S., Sheehan, D., Maloney, C., & Caranikas-Walker, F. (2010). Evaluating the Implementation Fidelity of Technology Immersion and its Relationship with
Student Achievement. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 9(4). (pdf)
Interactive Whiteboards
Marzano, R.J.  Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards. (Nov. 2009) 67,3 pp 80-82 Educational Leadership ASCD 
Wolpert-Gawron, H.  Technology Combined with Good Teaching Leads to Success. Edutopia What Works in Public Education. (3/17/09)
Beeland, W.D.  Student Engagement, Visual Learning and Technology: Can Interactive Whiteboards Help?
Rudd, T. Interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Futurelab (2007)
Futurelab Reports
Williamson, B.  Computer games, school, and young people: A report for educators on using games for learning. (2009). Futurelab (pdf)
Hauge, C., Williamson, B. (2009) Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects: A review of the policies, literature and evidence.  Futurelab (pdf)
Grant, L. (2009). Children's role in home-school relationships and the role of digital technologies. Futurelab. (pdf)
Williamson, B.(2009) Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum Futurelab (pdf)
Using Technology Effectively With RTI

The last half of this post did not format properly, and is now part of my next post.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Updates - Cognitive "bursts", technology-supported interventions, interactive whiteboards, digital storytelling, social skills, and reflections about a new SMARTTable. (long post)

In this post, I share some of my reflections about the new multi-touch SMARTTable that arrived last week at one of the programs I serve as a school psychologist.  I decided to update two posts I wrote in 2008, because they provide links and resources that will be useful to my colleagues as we explore this exciting technological tool.
We have a SMARTTable!  

The SMARTTable arrived last Thursday!  
I'll be meeting with some of my colleagues to review our growing library of digital content and figure out what sort of content and activities we can quickly import into the toolkit that came with the SMARTTable.  We also will  refine our ideas about a new application that we hope to enter in a contest sponsored by SMART Technologies.  (I have a few experiments I created using C#, WPF, and Visual Studio 2008 that I'd like to flesh out for the SMARTTable.  I'm counting on one of the teacher assistants, a retired computer programmer who is familiar with C++, to help, and hopefully, a few high school computer students.)

UPDATE - The SMARTTable developer's SKD works on 32-bit Windows computers, according to a representative from SMARTTechnologies.  My computer is 64 bit.  I am investigating ways to work around this problem without having to spend additional money.  

In the meantime, I'm thinking of ways the SMARTTable can be used for the students I work with to share their developing "sense of self" with others, focusing on the following questions:

Who am I? (Strengths, skills, preferences, barriers, etc.)
How do I feel? How do I share my feelings with others?
What are the coping strategies I can use when I feel upset?
What is my relationship to the physical world? (Objects, Places)
What is my relationship to the social world?     (Family, Community)
How can I share my sense of self with others?
How do I respond to what others share with me?

I have worked with students of all ages and abilities, usually in pairs or small  groups, on non-digital tables my entire career.  This is the case for many support professionals in the schools, such as school psychologists, school counselors, speech and language therapists, and literacy specialists.  In my case, I have over 20 years of activities related to just about any problem that has come my way.  Coming up with content isn't the problem - the challenge is figuring out how things can be transformed for use on the multi-touch tabletop.

I think the best approach is to focus on the activities I use  when I start a new group. Many of the teamwork and icebreaker activities  I use that help the students learn how  to participate in a group would translate nicely to a multi-touch table. These activities would be useful to counselors and speech and language therapists. They might also be useful to teachers when form new cooperative or collaborative learning groups in the classroom.  

I'm looking forward to learning how all of this can inter-operate:

From what I understand, the computer running the SMARTTable was not intended for accessing internet applications, and does not have anti-virus software.  I mistakenly thought that since the table was Wi-Fi enabled, I could readily access all of the single-touch web applications I use with students.  Maybe things will change.  I imagine that educational websites optimized for multi-touch would be something worth considering for the future, especially if more school schools adopt tabletop technologies.   (It would be nice to have AAC devices, video cameras, laptops, handhelds, and the Internet included in this picture.)

(Below is information from a previous post)

Over the past several years, I have worked closely with young people who have severe autism, and during this time, I have taken a variety of computer science, software information systems, and educational technology courses. Over time, I've integrated the use of technology, including digital photography and videography into my work. In some ways, it is still a much-unchartered territory.  Through this work, I've come up with some insights that I'd like to share.

Cognitive Bursts
I've noticed that many young people who are "on-the-spectrum" experience what I call "cognitive bursts", often around puberty, but also during the late teen and early 20's

To an untrained eye, these bursts might go unnoticed, or even minimized.  These bursts can't easily be captured through traditional psychological or educational assessments, since these tests were designed for more typically developing students. For example, a young person with ASD might not be able to make a choice in response to a test item by pointing. Another student might not be able to respond to a test item because they do not speak.  An individually-administered cognitive assessment might not generate "IQ" scores that fully reflect significant cognitive gains, especially when the student has delays in language development and working/short term memory deficits.

As a professional, I know that it is not appropriate to provide parents with false hope. I know that the tools we have for assessing cognitive growth among students with autism spectrum disorders are not adequate. For example, two students can have the same "IQ" at age 3, 5, 8- or any age, but function much differently at age 18 or 25.  This is especially true for young people who have attention problems, working memory deficits, and/or delays in language development relative to their non-verbal abilities.

My point is that we must take early cognitive assessment  scores with a grain of salt, and   ensure that there are multiple opportunities for meaningful assessment and significant intervention during other points of a young person's development.

In my opinion, the more severe the situation, the more intensive the intervention!

Special education for students with more severe disabilities has always focused on early identification and early intervention, and for much of my career, "early intervention" was my mantra.   Over the past few years, I have come to the realization that the focus on early intervention is only a small part of the bigger picture.   While some young people make tremendous gains through early intervention, some do not, and this does NOT suggest that they won't have the potential to make significant gains later in their childhood, teens, or early adulthood.   

By focusing primarily on early intervention, we might be missing the boat. We must do more across the young person's development through young adulthood (and of course, beyond.) Each child is different, and each brain's course of development is different. One child may be ripe for growth at 30 months of age, or at age 3 or 4. Another might start talking and initiating interactions at age 14, or begin to make sense of print at age 16! I know one severely autistic youth who was reading at an 8th grade level at age 22, something that probably would not have been predicted by those who worked with him during his early years.

From what I've observed in special education, cognitive bursts are often noticed by a team of perceptive teachers, therapists, and support workers, at which point meet to discuss ways to harness this opportunity to facilitate academic, communication, and at times, social interaction skills development. While this may not be the case for each student and in each school, it really does happen! 

When a student experiences a "burst", no matter how insignificant it might look on the surface, we are given a golden opportunity to fashion an integrated approach to moving the young person forward, and at the same time, help the student develop a more solid sense of self. For students with severe autism, this might be a key to opening up their world.

Technology can help.
Because each young person develops differently, it is important that interventions designed to facilitate this sort of growth be available at all points of development, not limited to the intensive support that is recommended for the youngest of this group. 
My mantra now is intervention, intervention, intervention, and INTENSIVE technology-supported intervention during periods of cognitive growth, across the developmental stages, as appropriate.

Here is what I've been doing:
I'm spending a higher percentage of my time observing students in a variety of settings, using video and digital photography to capture my observations. I am using digital content during my assessment process, and I'm using digital content for creating intervention activities that assist in measuring a student's progress over time.  

I am not alone in gathering digital content - at one of my schools, the speech and language therapist, the community-based vocational education teacher, and other teachers have still and video cameras on hand.  Every classroom in this particular school now has an interactive whiteboard (IWB), which has proven to be an effective means of sharing our digital content. The IWB is often used to provide the students with an opportunity to share their own digital content with others. By incorporating this digital content into curricular activities, were finding  that teens with autism can develop a sense of self, which in turn provides an internal  "anchor" that can scaffold their learning of social-interpersonal skills.  

What seems to be working?
I use quite a bit of digital content in my work. Some of it is generated by my colleagues, some of it I do myself, and some of the content is provided by parents.  I often take pictures and video of a student's familiar activities and settings, from the first-person point of view. To do this, I follow the student around in school, home, and/or community setting, and then shoot the various scenes as if I was in the young person's shoes.  In this way, the camera is a window to the student's world, as they see it. I supplement the video with digital photography of the same content, which then can be incorporated into an interactive PowerPoint or slide-show.   I share this content with my colleagues so they can incorporate it in their work.   

This content is used for digital social stories, preparing for community outings and job-trials, student-led IEPs, student-led presentations, and video modeling. 
I also spend some time taking video-clips and pictures of familiar
 items and objects the student encounters throughout the day, such as teaching materials that the teachers put up on the walls, computer screen shots, video clips of favorite songs and scenes from the television that the student watches, screen shots of educational software that the student uses, and so forth.

I use Kidspiration,  
Inspiration, Umajin, and Powerpoint for much of this work. These applications are user-friendly and provide multi-modal output.  In some applications, there is a text-to-speech component that is great for pairing words with visual representations.

How does this work? 
I usually sit beside a student in a comfortable, familiar spot, with my laptop placed where it can be accessed by both the student and myself. We look at the content together. For students who are used to using a switch, I have one available.

I've found that strategies that incorporate digital media provide a means for students to generated more language and communication. This is often initiated by the students!

With students who have autism spectrum disorders, establishing a connection, through digital photography and videography, focusing on familiar things is especially important. Taking the time to capture the student's world, from their perspective, is mandatory, in my opinion. By doing this, we are providing specific information that might help to answer unspoken questions that the young person has, but lacks the skills to formulate or articulate - for example, "Who am I, and what is my relationship to this physical world?"

By taking this approach, the adults - teachers, parents, assistants - who are involved with the student, can work to build a solid scaffold for further learning and interaction. Bit-by-bit, digital content - pictures, video clips, can be built into the process to facilitate social awareness and social-emotional interaction skills. By learning about familiar people, how they "tick", and how one should go about interacting with these people, the student might gain a sense of self within a social context.  We can help them answer the question we all have, at one time or another:
"Who am I, and what is my relationship to this social world?" 


At the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, I started bringing in my HP TouchSmart PC to use with students multiple needs and those who have autism.   I've used software that takes advantage of the HP TouchSmart's duo-touch capabilities, and found that paired activities using this feature increase joint-attention behaviors, something that is important in the development of social interaction skills among young people with autism. We've used the video camera and Skype to "call" various classrooms, with the image displayed on the classroom's interactive whiteboard.  Now that every classroom has an IWB, there are possibilities for all sorts of communication activities between classrooms at the school level, and with others outside of the school. 

My mantra now is intervention, intervention, intervention, and INTENSIVE technology-supported intervention during periods of cognitive growth, across the developmental stages, as appropriate.

An Interactive Whiteboard in Each Classroom!
SMARTboards were installed in classrooms at Wolfe School during the current school year (2009-10), and have been well-utilized. Most of the teachers caught on very quickly after a short workshop and a little bit of experimentation.   I've noticed that my colleagues are motivated to explore interactive educational resources on the web and play around with the SMARTBoard resources as well.  The reason is that on the large screen, much of the content grabs the students' attention.  This provides the  teachers  a window of time to engage the students in learning and communication activities.   

All of this has taken place in a very short period of time. 

Ubiquitous IWBs have changed the way I conduct assessments of students with multiple or more severe disabilities. I've started using the SMARTboard for informal assessment, especially for students who have limited language abilities and do not point with precision.  For example,  the National Gallery of Art has a website just for young people, the "Kids Zone", and on this site are many activities that are great for IWB interaction.   
interactive landscapes
PLACES is a panoramic landscape activity that introduces children to the fundamentals of landscape and genre painting while offering a glimpse of life in rural America from the late 18th through the mid-19th century. Music and surprising animations enliven the scene, as children experiment with perspective, composition, color, and scale."   

The student can put all sorts of items on the screen, move them anywhere, and resize things.  It is a quick and fun way to see if they have mastered the concepts of size, number, direction, and so forth.  It also is a way to assess basic receptive vocabulary.

The interactive Jungle application on the SMARTBoard was also useful in eliciting joint attention:
Jungle interactive game

"Create an imaginary landscape online with the NGAkids JUNGLE interactive. Mix and match the colorful characters, control the environment by changing weather and lighting conditions, or construct flowers, trees, and plants using special tools. An "AUTO" button generates random compositions, so you can sample program options and experiment with special effects as a starting point for your own designs."

If you plan to use these activities for informal assessment, make sure you have a checklist of what you plan to assess, and also make sure you've spent some time exploring the applications in depth, using the IWB.  The best thing is to practice before you try this with a student. Better yet, see if you can get the student's teacher to practice with you.

If you have an IWB in your classroom and you work with students who have autism spectrum disorders, it is good to think of ways you can harness this technology to encourage joint attention among your students.  Here is some information about joint attention, from one of my previous posts:

Joint Attention:Definition of Joint Attention from UConn:
"Joint Attention is the process of sharing one’s experience of observing an object or event, by following gaze or pointing gestures. It is critical for social development, language acquisition, cognitive development…"
Establishing joint attention is an important step in the development of social interaction skills among young people who have autism spectrum disorders.

Joint Attention Study Has Implication for Understanding Autism Science Daily, 9/29/07
Asperger-Advice: Joint Attention
Autism Games: Joint Attention and Reciprocity
Why is joint attention a pivotal skill in autism?
Tony Charman
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2003 February 28; 358(1430): 315–324.


Resources for the (therapeutic) use of digital and multimedia storytelling and social stories for children and teens...

One of the most popular posts on this blog is  Interactive Multimedia for Social Skills, Understanding Feelings, Relaxation, and Coping Strategies.  If you are interested in this topic, check out the extensive resources, which I'm in the process of updating. Below are some resources and links for those of you who are interested in digital multimedia story telling or digital social stories with young people. Although some of the resources are specific to children or teens with autism spectrum disorders, I've also included information that is appropriate for use in regular classroom settings. 

Digital Storytelling and 21st Century Skills (pdf)
This nine-page primer is useful for anyone interested in learning how to create digital stories or develop digital storytelling activities with young people. The information was provided by David Jakes, an instructional technology coordinator for Community High School District 99 in Downers Grove, IL, provides a good case for digital storytelling and an outline of the process of implementing related activities at the high school level. David Jakes has a website,, that contains additional resources about digital storytelling, including strategies for instruction. The website also provide information about collaborative tools and a collection of extensive web resources.
Center for Digital Storytelling
Selda Ozdemir, Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, July 2008, V7(3)
Encouraging Positive Behavior with Social Stories: An Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders pdf   Shannon Crozier, Nancy M.Sileo Teaching Exceptional Children, July/August 2005 pp. 26-31 This article provides information that supports a systematic method of implenting social stories that is integrated into a student's Functional Behavioral Assessment and IEP.

• Team identifies the need for behavior intervention.
• Functional assessment is completed.
• Social stories included in behavior plan.
• Social story is written.
• Social story is introduced and progress is monitored with data.
• Success is evaluated with data.
An evaluation of the integrated use of a multimedia storytelling system within a psychotherapy intervention for adolescents. (pdf)
"This paper explores the use of multimedia stories in psychotherapy and mental health service delivery with teenagers. It describes a study currently being conducted with adolescents attending the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service at the Mater Hospital Dublin, Ireland measuring the effectiveness of a therapeutic group work intervention for adolescents experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. The intervention is essentially a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programme that uses an animated story building system in combination with a series of short movie vignettes to help clients develop their own coping skills, express their experiences creatively and increase their ability to communicate their emotions effectively."

Current Autism Research on Social Stories (Vol 2, Issue 8; August 2007) Positively Autism
Multitimedia Instruction of Social Skills  (CITEd Research Center- Center for Implementing Technology in Education: Multimedia Technologies) This link provides extensive information about on-line resources for programs that simulate social interaction. It also includes information about the use of social stories with students, and resources for putting together multimedia social stories. Included are some summaries of research about multimedia social stories and the use of multimedia for instructional activities. Be sure to explore the rest of the CITEd site when you have the time.

Scott Bellini is a psychologist who focuses on video modeling. He is the director of Access Autism:
Bellini, S., Akullian, J., & Hopf, A. (2007). Increasing social engagement in young children with autism spectrum disorders using video self-modeling. School Psychology Review, 36, 80-90. 
Bellini, S. & Akullian, J. (2007). A meta-analysis of video modeling and video self-modeling interventions for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Exceptional Children, 73, 261-284.
Post: Special issue on Multimedia, Media Convergence, and Digital Storytelling
Digital Stories Targeting Social Skills for Children with Disabilities. Cori More (PRO-ED Journal, 2008)
Digtal/Multimedia Storytelling
 from A Storied Career: Kathy Hansen's Blog to explore traditional and postmodern forms/uses of storytelling
Digital Storytelling - Katie Christo's Wiki - how-to, resources, tutorials, rubrics, lesson plans, digital storytelling across the curriculum, etc.
The Story-Centered Curriculum
 - eLearn Magazine
Mind Reading: An Interactive Guide to Reading Emotions

Mind Habits: The Stress Relief Game
SMARTTable Special Report
VITA: Visual Thinking in Autism, Georgia Tech