Research scientist Leah Zitter looks at the benefits of using virtual reality and augmented reality with students who have special needs, highlighting examples of the technology in classrooms and noting improvements to gear and design to assist students. VR and AR can boost motivation and enjoyment for students through gamefication and improve communication skills and social interactions, she writes.
California is updating the formula it uses to calculate funding for special education, moving away from funding based on total number of students in a district. The new state budget also addresses transitions for students in special education, alternative pathways to diplomas and training and recruitment of teachers.
Whole Children, a performing arts program in Massachusetts for teens and young people with special needs, is the subject of a documentary that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the organization that aims to boosts pride and self-esteem among the performers. Participants and their families credit the success of the program to director Matt Meers' flexibility and accommodations for everyone involved, even after the March musical was canceled because of the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic will upend many typical classroom routines. This article offers several strategies to help transition in-person routines to an online setting, such as eighth-grade teacher Alice Chen's plan to ask her students to create videos introducing themselves as an alternative to in-person introductions at the start of the school year.
Staff members in a Tennessee school district would receive a "hero bonus" of $2,000 each for their work during the coronavirus outbreak under a plan proposed by Superintendent Joris Ray. While the request seems unlikely to pass, Ray said staff are deserving for the work done to start the school year remotely and support students, including with food.
Young writers will succeed when given the right environment to learn and practice, writes teacher Regie Routman. In this article, Routman stresses that the focus should be on the writer instead of the writing, and offers 10 "attitudes and actions" to help create a safe place that honors students' learning, offers encouragement and builds confidence.
The idea that some people speak a certain language because of their biological makeup is untrue, writes Katherine Kinzler, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago. In this article, Kinzler writes about some myths, research into language acquisition and how people learn through exposure.
Special-education teacher Lisa Bennett of California says teaching math via a whiteboard online pales in comparison to one-on-one, in-person teaching for her third- through fifth-graders. Providing digital, interactive lessons for each student with special needs requires a complete overhaul of digital lesson plans, says Bennett, who is collaborating with other teachers to discuss potential improvements.
Braielyn Peoples, a high-school math teacher from North Carolina, is taking a leave of absence from teaching 86 students to privately tutor small groups instead in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. She and other teachers will supplement remote lessons in rented office space set up as classrooms.