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Hey everyone!

I'm currently a preservice teacher majoring in Early Childhood and Special Education. I was wondering if you had any tips on how to integrate the use of technology into the classroom, especially when working with students with special needs? 

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Hey Holly!  There is a great guy named "Johnny Lee" on www.ted.com that made an amazingly inexpensive interactive whiteboard solution.   

For our early education students here in China we use www.starfall.com ( a free reading education website ) and the IR pen mentioned above our kids can interact with funny animations directly.  I should mention also that we mounted the projector screen low to the floor so that they can interact easily.   

Another GREAT one is Xbox Kinect!   2 and 3 year olds can interact with Sesame Street characters, puss in boots and so many more!   

For kids with special needs can you be a bit more specific about the exact challenges the kids are facing?  It is difficult to give generalized advice for kids with special needs other than giving them an infinite sized dosage of love and patience.   

I guess one more thought is that you can try an "NLP" ( neuro-linguistic programming ) technique I learned from listening to Tony Robbins.   I think the technique is called "mirroring".   It's where you start to take on some of the body language, facial expressions or even just the same frequency of eye blinks as your student.   This is an amazingly effective and easy to use tool for finding out how your students really feel in the moment.  It's like an instant empathy activator.   The good thing too about empathy in most cases is that it goes both ways.    By synching up to our students this way sometimes it builds rapport and strength to the relationship all the time.  We understand our kids better and they feel less alone.   It might sound kind of strange at first but it works amazingly. 

Hope that helps!

Thanks Andrew! 

This is really good information that I will be able to look into and hopefully be able to implement in my future classroom. I've never even thought about using Xbox Kinect in the classroom before. I also really like the idea that you mounted the projector screen low so that the students can easily interact with it. NLP sounds very interesting and is definitely something I will look into to learn more about it, so I can actually use and implement it. 

In regards to students with special needs, I would focus on information for students with Autism and. or studetns with EBD. 

Thanks again!

Hey Holly, I'm glad I could bring some freshness and innovation for you!  

Some of the writing online about NLP makes it look like a cultish kind of pseudoscience but then again if you read the article on wikipedia about the Pimsleur language acquistiion system they say the same thing.  I've been teaching in China for 13 years now and have found value in both so don't be afraid to dig deep and look at the root theories that they are built upon.  

You can find lots of interesting NLP videos on youtube but for me personally I found Tony Robbins' talks about it being the easiest to grasp quickly.   Keep in mind that I am not stuck to any one school of thought on education.  I think as teachers it is our responsibility to look to every system and every teacher that came before us for our own ongoing learning.   

Here's a link to another conversation I've been having about my experience working with kids with brain damage and higher functioning Autistics;  

http://edupln.ning.com/group/autism/forum/topics/technology-and-aut...

I mentioned NLP ( Neuro Linguistic Programming ) in the conversation and I think the acronym "EBD" is a clear example of it in action.  If we call it "EBD" repeatedly it is easy for us to kind of make a single category in our minds.   I prefer to call them kids that need more love.  I think ALL kids ( and grown up kids ) belong in the "need more love" category.    

I've worked with parents here in China sharing Jo Frost's "Super Nanny" program for helping them to get kids to recognize, talk about and therefore regulate their emotions which then allows them to adjust their behavior in a loving and kind way.  Super Nanny is not the cure-all.  Another good system I like to draw from is socratic questioning  and positive discipline.

The big theme is consistency.  Pavlov can shed some light on this if you think about it.   Consistent loving clear and simple communication;  If you explode emotionally I will always;

1st -  React in a loving way showing empathy for your feelings ( Look for Dr. John Medina's "Brain Rules for Baby" )

2nd - Try to get you to talk about your feelings

3rd - Explain that we can control our reaction ( and following behavior ) to our feelings

4th - Explain the rewards for positive behavior

5th - Review the consequences for negative behavior 

6th - Reiterate "I love you and always will.  It's this behavior that we can do without and I STRONGLY believe that you CAN change because I KNOW you are a good boy / girl. ) 

Again the big thing is consistency.   Just like Pavlov we need to setup a framework of anchors that help condition a deeply embedded emotional regulation habit.   

This six step process is meant to be interactive, not just a rote repetition.   

Studying Super Nanny's methodology deeply can help to shed more light on this.

Anyway let me know if that helps!

Thanks again Andrew for all this helpful and insightful information! You are helping me to become more aware of all the different resources and strategies that are out there to help our students succeed. I completely agree with you that as teachers we cannot become stuck in one way of thinking and in one way of doing things. We need to continuously research, learn about, and implement different strategies in order to best teach and serve our students. I will definitely have to look into NLP and learn more about it after hearing what you've had to say about it. The six step process you mentioned is something that we have discussed in our classes and I think it would be effective. I completely agree with the point you made about the process being interactive, not just rote repetition. I believe that having it be an interactive process makes it more effective with students. 

Thanks again for all the help!

Hey Holly thanks for your feedback!  It makes me feel good to know that I could be of help!    Please do keep me updated on your successes ( and struggles ).  :) 

I have been doing a lot of research on Blended Learning.  It seems like a great way to really move into 21st century learning.  Ia m also a special education teacher and I am going to start implementing more technology in my classroom this upcoming year.  Anything that is game based works great.  Gaming is huge in this next generation and they really can relate and learing in this way works amazingly

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