The SHAPE Project, technologies to enhance learning for young people on the Autism Spectrum

The OpenSen blog reviews some recent developments for children on the autistic spectrum including a variety of humanoid robotics, kinectwiki, Cospatial, Reactickles magic and a virtual environment- Echoes:

Echoes is a technology enhanced learning experience, where young people with ASC can explore in a virtual learning environment by interacting with Andy an intelligent virtual character.  Andy encourages exploration and provides opportunities for social communication in a virtual magical garden and during some hands on time with the software I was able to sort and move flower pots, collect items, throw a bouncing ball, shake rain clouds to create raindrops that allowed me to grow flowers and burst bubbles, all with Andy’s encouragement.  Andy could helpfully look at items to prompt further interaction and sign to me using Makaton, even when we tried to be unhelpful by playfully soaking Andy with a rain cloud, we weren’t scolded or corrected, instead Andy continued to provide prompts to other areas of interest and opportunities that would create a more positive result from our interaction


Video and in full


Software Evaluation

Sarah Cirella shares a screencast that she recently created reviewing software games for children. There are different characters to help, objects to click, missing words to find and a series of challenges. They discussed who the game might be appropriate for – what would be important at different ages

this game requires children to be able to use a mouse or track pad and to be able to understand the story and the concept of how the game is actually played. The only thing is if the child playing is between the ages of 6-8 we would recommend that an adult play with them, as some parts can be difficult (I played with my 6-year-old niece and she needed help, despite her stating otherwise).

She mentions the things they enjoyed, the good and not so good aspects including use of language

In full

Blue (School) Skies Ahead

Sam Chaltain reports on an interesting new school that grew out of the Blue Man group that toured the world with their fascinating performances. The school has spaces which are decorated by the children including tree sculptures and a disco floor. The school also has a fascinating exploratory framework based on the personality of the Blue Man

we imagined him doing so via six different lenses:

  1. The Group Member – the lens of collaboration, connection, and global citizenship
  2. The Scientist – the lens of curiosity, critical thinking, experimentation and analysis
  3. The Hero – the lens of perseverance, commitment and leadership
  4. The Trickster – the lens of provocation, innovation, and play
  5. The Artist – the lens of imagination, instinct and creative expression
  6. The Innocent – the lens of emotional awareness and mindfulness

“These six lenses are mindsets or approaches children, teachers, and others in our community can assume to explore work, academic areas, an environment, and materials,” Matt shared while we watched a cluster of four-year-olds make mud in their airy, light-filled classroom. “We want to teach our kids how to surf in all of those different energies. And we want to help them develop critical life skills and practices along the way.”

In full

A day in our home education life

by Glory Bea, HomeSchool Co-op

At the prompting of Jaime at Simple Homeschool, I’m posting about a day in our life — with a mom (me), dad, 4-1/2-year-old Esther, 3-year-old Jedediah, and nearly 2-year-old George.

Our 3 munchkins are concentrating on their own work at the table.
Wild and crazy kids playing outside
— the most important element of our curriculum!

Sometimes, our days flow so wonderfully that I can almost hear the angels singing. At other times (and almost always the same day), there is such chaos that if most people walked in, they’d suggest I send them to public school. (Gasp!)

That’s no matter, though, because I know I’m called to lead my children’s education based at home. Further, my Lord is good and merciful, so we carry on and try to do it better the next day.

And the Sun Came Up on the Farm
our “daily flow” timeline

And so our day begins, and it’s generally in line with the morning routine I posted at the blog post about Our Daily Flow.

Many days before the sun rises, our 3-year-old boy, Jedediah, finds his way into our bed for cuddles.

My husband departs for work.

The children are laughing (usually) and getting themselves dressed, well at least one of the older two.

These days, it takes someone crying — usually the babe — for me to rise. I do, then I get him from his crib, change his diaper, and get him some fresh milk.

Breakfast, Bible …. & Sometimes Mr Rogers

I begin breakfast, sometimes with a kiddo’s help — especially for pouring water and oats for oatmeal.

If the children are happy, I finish breakfast and get it on the table. If one or more are not happy while I’m preparing breakfast, I put on our old friend, Mr. Rogers. (You can view old episodes at PBS.)

We eat breakfast together, during which I read aloud at least one Bible story. Lately, I’ve been reading from Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories that I picked up at a library book sale for 50 cents. We also like to read Arch Books, Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall, and from some other Bible story sources.

Morning: Dress, Groom & Clean Up

After breakfast, we all “do” our “morning habits.” You can see what they are in this post on Habit Cards, which actually solidified this routine for us after referencing them for about a week.

George ran off when I was getting him dressed.

I tell them we can’t do anything else until these “habits” are accomplished. They have completely embraced it, and so everything flows through this part of the day — usually.