Impossible Means I’m Possible

By ONEder Intern, Nimisha Rana

At 19, I lost my eyesight. Before losing my sight, I would have found it impossible to imagine life with a disability. I had to adjust to countless, seemingly small things which had once been a routine part of day-to-day life: from dressing, to eating, to staying alert when surrounded by strangers. First and foremost, I needed to be conscious of safety, even at home. Avoiding bumping and dashing into both things and people required skill, proficiency, and patience.

Sensitivity on Both Sides

My blindness made me impatient. I also experienced feelings of anger and anxiety, due to a lack of control over my surroundings. Eventually, I came to accept that no magic wand existed that could change my circumstances. Family and friends wanted to help, but lacked the knowledge necessary for dealing with a blind person. When people at both ends are ignorant of each other’s needs and requirements, chaos ensues. I came to learn that disabilities of any kind require sensitivity on both sides.

Finding ways to adjust to my new life became a challenge, that I embraced. I felt like a baby eager to learn new things – I could learn some things on my own, but others needed to be taught. Once patience kicked in, acceptance of my situation was easier. When I say patience, I mean remaining calm, and understanding yourself from another’s perspective, as well as giving others a chance to understand you. I grew to a point where I no longer considered myself incapable.

Learning from Experience

Dedication, for me, is accepting yourself in every situation, and committing to whatever goal you set. When I accepted my blindness wholeheartedly, I started loving myself again. How many people get to live two different lives? I am glad that I have had the opportunity to experience both the sighted and non-sighted worlds, and can now see from both perspectives.

It took time for me to understand this new way of seeing life, but a commitment to jumping over a rock is necessary if you wish to reach the far side of the river. When it occurred to me that I needed to use a cane for the remainder of my life, I assumed my cane would become a barrier on the path to success. It is childish to try and anticipate the future before experiencing it. After my first year without sight, I re-evaluated my way of looking at life, and decided to take chances — chances that would push me towards independence. The biggest mistake made by people with disabilities is their choice to view themselves as a burden to others; they do not realize such thoughts only make them a burden to themselves.

Braille, and the Power of Education

When I learned Braille, I felt a door had opened, and the path forward had been cleared. The power of six dots was mind boggling. On my first day using Braille, I felt I would never be able to learn. However, my dedication to self-improvement would not let me quit. Amazingly, I found that I had learned Braille in as little as six weeks — contracted and uncontracted — which some can take a year to learn. This success inspired me to take on further challenges, like learning JAWS — Job Access With Speech — a computer screen reader program that enables blind and visually impaired individuals to operate computers. Once I had mastered JAWS, the sky was the limit!

The idea of admission into college was daunting, as the American system is so radically different from anything in my native India. I took a deep breath and took the plunge. Once in college, navigating campus was tough, but I preferred asking for help to getting lost, which some blind and visually impaired friends avoid doing. They feel asking signifies powerlessness. However, I believe that asking for help is a way to give others a chance to learn about my disability; a disability they may know nothing about.

Close your Eyes

As an experiment, close your eyes and walk through your house with a cane. Ah and … no bumping into barriers, or hitting yourself against the wall. While difficult, believe me, it is doable; it just takes patience and the will to succeed. The milestones I have attained are the result of strong resolution. However, my resolution isn’t unique; it is within everyone’s grasp! My journey also wouldn’t have been possible without the trust of others. I appreciate and thank all who played a major role in my achievements. Believe in your dreams!

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VIDEO: Promoting Leadership in Special Education

 

What you Need to Know


A Video Recap of ONEder’s Promoting Leadrship in Special Education Conference

On April 26th 2017 at the Robert Treat Hotel and Conference Center in Newark NJ, ONEder held it’s Inaugural Anuual Promoting Leadership in Special Education Conference featuring an interactive workshop exploring the standards and principals promoting principal leadership.
Where’s Dan Off to Next?
Our VP of Business Development is coming to a conference near you!

June 26-28
MELC (Midwest Educational Leadership Conference)
Brekenridge, Colorado

June 27-28

New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE 15th Annual Summer Inclusion Conference)
Montclair State University – Montclair, New Jersey

July 10-13

NYCASE (New York Council of Administrators of Special Education)
The Gideon Putnam – Saratoga Springs, New York

July 11-13

TCASE (Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education)
JW Marriot – Austin, Texas

July 24-28

The Project SEARCH 11th Annual conference
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions – Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania
To find out more, email dan@oneder.com

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ONEder is Hiring! Director of Content Curation

Position: Director of Content Curation

Company description

ONEder is a leading provider of SaaS solutions for special education teachers and administrators across the United States. Based in Newark, NJ, we partner with school districts and agencies that serve individuals with disabilities who use our platform to make data-driven decisions, monitor student progress, facilitate co-teaching, and deliver their general curriculum content with appropriate accommodations and supports based on each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). We are looking for a full time Director of Digital Content Curation to develop and maintain an academic and functional online lesson library for educators.

 

Job description

In this newly-created role, the Director of Content Curation will be responsible for the creation and ongoing curation of our academic and functional online lesson library for educators, playing a vital role in every aspect of content development. You will be responsible for working closely with all departments within ONEder to ensure the successful development and implementation of our content library.  

 

Responsibilities

Reporting to the VP of Operations, the Director of Content Curation will:

  • Develop a plan, budget, timeline, and process for developing our content library
  • Identify and initiate conversations with potential academic and functional content partners
  • Vet open source content for quality and accessibility
  • Build and manage a team of independent lesson writer contractors
  • Work under a tight deadline and creatively within budget
  • Collaboratively identify and meet clients needs with business development
  • Ensure co-branding messaging is on point with the marketing team
  • Work closely with operations to handle negotiations
  • Transform the online library vision into reality with the product team
  • Create measurable goals to monitor the on-going effectiveness of the content library
  • Ensure engagement and implementation of the content library with our educators
  • Continuous maintain the content library.

 

Qualifications

 The ideal candidate for the Director of Content Curation will have:

  • 5+ years of experience successfully managing large ed tech projects from start to finish
  • An interest in working for an educational technology in a startup environment
  • A positive attitude, be collaborative, and a flexible team player
  • Ability to take initiative and work independently
  • Understand principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), differentiation, and best practices for students with disabilities
  • Experience teaching, especially students with disabilities, a plus
  • Experience using project management software and creating efficient, effective development processes
  • Knowledge of common accessibility and accommodation requirements for students with disabilities.

 

Salary and Benefits:

 

  • Salary commensurate with experience
  • Full medical and dental benefits, 401(k)
  • 15 days of paid vacation per year
  • 8 paid holidays plus 1 floating holiday per year, 6 paid sick days per year

 

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ONEder is Hiring!

Position: Front End Developer

 

Product Description

ONEder creates an educational platform geared towards the special education market, allowing educators to create content tailored to their students’ needs and access it on multiple mobile devices and browsers.

Job Description

We are looking for a talented Web Developer responsible for translating the UI/UX design wireframes to actual code that will produce the visual elements of the application. You will also design the overall architecture of the web application and evolve it to ensure maximum performance and stability.

Responsibilities

  • Design of the overall architecture of the web application
  • Building reusable code and libraries for future use
  • Optimization of the application for maximum speed and scalability
  • Translation of UI/UX wireframes to visual elements
  • Integration of the front-end and back-end aspects of the web application

Skills and Qualifications

  • At least 5 years’ experience developing web based UIs using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.
  • Excellent proficiency in AngularJS 1.x, including advanced features – component authoring, dynamic component compilation and performance optimizations
  • Excellent design and architecture skills – SOLID principles, clean code, design patterns, refactoring techniques, unit and integration testing
  • Experience developing mobile applications using HTML5 and Apache Cordova
  • Good understanding of TypeScript, LESS/SASS, Gulp, npm and bundling/minification
  • Good knowledge of jQuery, Kendo UI, module loaders and other JS client libraries – An advantage

  Education

  • BsC in Computer Science

For more information or for consideration, please contact HR@ONEder.com.

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A ONEder-ful Day! ONEder’s “Promoting Leadership in Special Education” Conference

By: Jamie Lupia

Over the years, I’ve attended my share of conferences, seminars, talks, and workshops and have come to recognize some of the positive elements that make such events successful. ONEder’s first annual conference on promoting leadership for the success of students with disabilities was filled with many such positive elements and opportunities. It was indeed well worth attending. When I saw that the program featured high caliber speakers and presenters Alice Parker, Alexa Posny, Johnny Collett, and Kaylan Connally, I knew the event would be packed with useful information, helpful ideas, and would be well worth my time. I wasn’t disappointed.

The conference began with a warm welcome from Jon Izak, ONEder’s founder and president, who described how his own personal quest to help his brother planted the seeds of invention and innovation to assist others with disabilities. John’s welcoming address was followed by Issac Zablocki, the founder of ReelAbilities, an organization that, through its film festival, aims “to promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities.” Issac presented a screening of the film Dancing on Wheels featuring dancer Kitty Lunn. Just as amazing as the film was the personal appearance of Kitty who spoke and participated in a lively question and answer session. As a dancer, teacher, and advocate, Kitty fit the bill as a perfect keynote speaker. Her passion for her craft, along with her strong advocacy, served as a reminder of why the work ONEder is undertaking in education is of such importance.
Dr. Alice Parker and Dr. Alexa Posny presented a comprehensive introduction and review of the latest Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL 2015) adopted by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration.

Their many years of experience helped to provide critical insight into the latest standards while highlighting the effectiveness of strong, informed, and compassionate leadership with regard to those with disabilities. They also shared additional viewpoints in an insightful question and answer session. Johnny Collett and Kaylan Connally also participated and shared their wisdom with conference attendees. A brief workshop got everyone involved to discuss and share their thoughts on the current standards, with the information that flowed around the room helping us focus on some of the work and challenges that are ahead.

A final capstone to the conference was a reception that was structured to allow for direct and meaningful networking with all of those who attended. I was pleased to discover that the conversations I participated in were just as interesting and thought provoking as the presentations at the conference. I look forward to future engagement with the many helpful and knowledgeable contacts I made at the conference.

ONEder’s conference was indeed ONEder-ful in every way, and I left feeling inspired, informed, engaged and uplifted as I continue my own work as an educator, and advocate.

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What, How and Why? ONEder’s Chigozie Nnodim on Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Individuals bring a variety of interests, needs and skills to learning, and neuroscience demonstrates these differences can be as varied and unique as our DNA.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is as an educational framework  that helps guide the development of “flexible learning environments”: environments that can accommodate the different learning styles of individuals.  According to the National Center on UDL, Universal Design for Learning  is “a set of principles for curriculum development that gives all individuals equal opportunities to learn.” UDL provides a blueprint for instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments, and provides flexible approaches, that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.  Three primary brain networks come into play:

  • Recognition Networks (The “What” of learning): How we gather facts and categorize what we see, hear, and read.
    • Identifying letters, words, or an author’s style are forms of recognition.
  • Strategic Networks (The “How” of learning): Planning and performing tasks. How we organize and express our ideas.
    • Writing an essay or solving a math problem are strategic tasks.
  • Affective Networks (The “Why” of learning): How learners get engaged and stay motivated. How they are challenged excited, or interested.

UDL helps all children, not just individuals with learning disabilities, and offers multiple approaches for students to assess the same material, and allows students to use different methods to demonstrate knowledge.  The word “universal” may confuse people because it may sound as though it’s all about finding one way to teach all kids but, UDL takes the opposite approach. Its goal is to use a vocabulary of teaching methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed. It’s about building in flexibility that can be adjusted for every student’s strengths and needs.

UDL presents information in ways that adapt to the learner, instead of asking the learner to adapt to the information. It’s especially good for kids with learning and attention issues, because it gives them more than one way to interact with their material. UDL makes it easier for kids to use their strengths, and to improve their weaknesses. Universal Design for Learning is a framework for teaching and learning that includes proactive planning of curricula. Planning with UDL takes into account the variability of all learners. Now some people may ask, “isn’t UDL just for students with disabilities?”. The answer is no, all students can benefit from the types of supports that UDL provides. UDL encourages teachers to use different test formats, including oral presentations while also looking for different ways to keep students motivated.

 

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ONEder’s New Release, with Zoe Lubitz

Join our Product Manager, Zoe Lubitz, on a tour of the latest updates to ONEder!

We’re excited to share new updates to ONEder that will help you create content and track student data more easily. For more details on the new release, check out this video:

 

 

 

Updates to ONEder include:

  • New science standards and grades. Easily create and tag science content with new Next Generation Science Standards in ONEder. New Jersey users will also have access to Pre-K standards.
  • New data tracking features: condition lines and notes. Dashboards now include new ways to track student progress.  Condition lines and notes features will allow teachers to annotate their student’s data.
  • More ways to customize media. New layouts allow greater flexibility to ONEder activities like “Stories” and “Media”. You can now add pictures and text in customizable layouts, and crop images within the ONEder editor.
  • Notifications feed. Get updates to your content with new notifications. As soon as you log into ONEder, you’ll know when a collaborator has updated a lesson, when a student completed a lesson, and more.

  • Timers. You can now set timers for activities. Use this feature to turn ONEder activities into timed quizzes or help students time manage.

Specific support videos on the new release can be found in our support center:

http://support.blog.oneder.com

 

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