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Khan Academy Launches FREE iPad App

March 12, 2012 in App Review, Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Khan Academy the widely popular online learning source has finally released an iPad App. If you don’t know much about the Khan Academy their website describes them as:

…an organization on a mission. We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.

All of the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

And now they are all available on your iPad as well!!! Still want to learn more about the Khan Academy watch the video below from last night’s 60 Minutes.

 

The Khan Academy app gives you access to all 2700+ videos in its educational library all for free. The videos are broken up by categories and sub-categories. Categories include, Math, Science, Humanities, Test Prep and Interviews. Each video provides an outline that can be used to jump to specific sections in each video. Since many of the videos are very long this is a good way to pinpoint exactly the part of the video you want to see and move to it quickly.

You can watch the videos over your internet connection but you can also download any of the videos directly to you iPad. This gives you the ability to take the videos along on trips or places without internet connections.

Since my son is in the 5th grade I tested the app on him. He is currently learning integers and how to add and subtract negative numbers. I easily navigated through the Math category to the sub-category of arithmetic and pre-algebra where I found negative numbers. I found 6 videos on negative numbers and played the first one entitled, “Negative Numbers Introduction.” This 9 minute video did a wonderful job of auditorily and visually presenting the information. My son is a visual learner and the video helped him see how to use a number line to determine negative numbers. This was just 1 of the 2700+ videos on the app. As you can see, Khan Academy is not joking when they claim, “Khan Academy allows you to learn almost anything for free.”

The Khan Academy app and the corresponding videos are amazing. Future versions of this app are scheduled to include the Khan Academy exercises that are currently available on the website. I can’t think of any downside to adding this free app to your iPad today!!!!!

 

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Parents must know both the Law and the System

February 1, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

We all know how important it is for parents who have children with Special Needs to know Special Education Law. However, it’s equally important to know how the system works as well. When I say system, I’m referring to your School District. Each School District has an unwritten system in place on how to manage the Special Education Process.

For example, I work in one of the largest School Districts in the country which now has an unwritten policy where the Special Education Administrative Designee no longer has the power to authorize a behaviorist for a student. The authorization must come from the “Least Restrictive Environment” policy advisor, who is never in the IEP meetings. As a result, the system has created a “Due Process Climate” where the Special Education Administrative Designees often point blank tells you that they don’t have the Authority to bind the District on big ticket items. Therefore, a parent must utilize the Law to get around the System in this school district. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Is Your School District Trying to Balance the Budget on the Backs of Special Ed Kids?

January 11, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Have you noticed that your child with Autism, ADHD, or learning disabilities is getting less attention from their special ed teacher this year? That their special ed teacher is particularly worn-out, fatigued – maybe even at wit’s end this early in the year? Well, there’s a reason for that. The most recent data gathered by the Washington, DC-based IDEA MoneyWatch shows how severely the states and the 100 largest school districts have cut special ed funding. Just this year in my work as a sped attorney in South Florida, I’ve seen some kids with Autism or severe ADHD being placed in classrooms with intellectually disabled kids primarily because it’s cheaper than giving them the support they’re entitled to in a general ed class! Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Beware districts forcing settlement agreements

January 5, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I recently had some wonderful clients who had signed what I considered to be a terribly one-sided settlement agreement with a local Southern California school district. Seeking to obtain rights for their child after the fact, we found that the agreement handcuffed them in every direction and precluded them from being able to negotiate any changes for their child. At the time, my client told me that based on her research, school districts were engaging in some unfair practices with parents, all designed to deprive them of the rights provided them by IDEA, federal, and state law. Since that time I have been looking more carefully at how districts use settlement agreements and other waiver of rights, and I have come to see how correct her observation is. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Trashing the Branding Iron

December 6, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

In the early 1970’s I had the wonderful opportunity of working with two students with special needs whose mother’s were relentless in insisting on a law in Wisconsin that would mandate a quality education for their children as well as others. Elaine Keller and Lila Kelly inspired me to look closely at the needs of their children as well as all students whether they were defined as gifted, with learning problems or were simply involved in the general education program. I always had a curiosity as to why we labeled children rather than simply focusing on their needs. Why do we brand children for failure when we know they are all different in one way or another?

Fast forward to 1985 and I was still learning, not only from parents, but from the children that need us the most. After 15 years of teaching I became the administrator of an alternative school serving the most emotionally problematic kids in the city. From them I learned several hard lessons. One was that every child wanted to learn. They didn’t necessarily want to go to school, but they wanted to be able to read and write and had a tremendous curiosity. I had previously worked with a wide range of disabilities including cognitively disabled children, autistic, physically disabled and others and from them learned that children in general learn in different ways, sometimes at different rates but they always wanted to learn. What was important was that the information learned be valuable to them and their future. I learned that it was necessary to put a strong focus on what was important including the skills necessary to continue lifelong learning on their own. Read the rest of this entry →

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How To Get From Here To There In An IEP Meeting

July 5, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Most educators have had limited training in the use of statistics and research data and that is why it is essential to have the appropriate and trained personnel at Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings where data and their meaning can be explained and understood. Most parents are not experts in understanding educational data and statistics, in evaluating assessment results or in how to use them to make an informed decision about educational programming for their child. IEP meetings, where such information is used to make decisions, are often foreign when compared to meetings held in the workplace.  However, the process of decision-making should and can be made in the same manner, regardless of the setting. What is striking is that the processes for making decisions are easier than one would think—even when faced with educational jargon.  Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

I say, no cuts for Special Education

March 15, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Some of the news today about the budget has me a bit irked.  It is my understanding that President Obama knows what it means to invest in our children so that we have a better tomorrow.  Though the increase is small ($14.8 billion for Title I grants to help districts cover the cost of educating disadvantaged students—a $300 million increase over fiscal 2010. And it is asking for $11.7 billion for special education, $200 million over 2010), it shows me that he is committed to providing a good education for the children of the United States.  And, as part of the proposal for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka the No Child Left Behind Act), the administration is asking for $300 million for a program called Title I rewards, to recognize schools that are making progress in boosting student achievement.  These initiatives show me that he believes we need to do more for those children that need more help when it comes to education. Read the rest of this entry →

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Counting the Origins of Failure

January 16, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

If education in the United States of the 21st Century is failing, that failure has been built over a very long time. And I do not think that it can be “fixed” in any meaningful way unless people understand that the failures we see today are our system working exactly as it was intended to.

Yes, that’s what I’m saying. Our American public education system is doing exactly what it was designed to do. It is separating “winners” from “losers” and it is reinforcing our economic gap. The system was designed in the 1840s and at the turn of the 20th Century to separate society into a vast majority of minimally trained industrial workers and a small, educated elite. It was designed to enforce White, Protestant, Middle-Class, “Typically-abled” standards on an increasingly diverse American population. Read the rest of this entry →

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