Superb: Transforming Disabilities into Special Abilities

Dr. Sheena Howard of Rider University talks about her comic book creation, Superb: the world’s first Down syndrome superhero.

By Emma Eisenberg

Dr. Sheena Howard is one of the writers behind Superb, a new comic book series that launched this summer as part of Catalyst Prime, the line of superhero comics published by Lion Forge. Superb follows two nontraditional protagonists who become superheroes—a teenage boy who has Down syndrome and a black teenage girl. (more…)

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View Jon Izak’s complete seminar at Teachers College, Columbia University!

ONEder’s CODiE award nominated platform empowers educators with the tools they need to support students with Individualized Education Plans.  In the session, Jon focuses on the challenges faced by districts in supporting students with IEPs, and closing the opportunity gap. He then discusses how ONEder is helping districts meet those challenges. To view the complete seminar, click here.

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Year-Round Education

Andreas Demidont on Year-Round Education.

Why has Year-Round Education (YRE) expanded by 37% in public schools, and 149% in charter schools, with a 33% increase in students enrolled in YRE schools? Currently it exists in 46 states with over 2 million students. The answer lies in the many case studies which point to a reduction in the summer loss of learning by, at minimum, one whole month and the willingness of communities  to acknowledge the dire need for holistic reform. (more…)

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ONEder’s Jonathan Izak to Present at Teachers College, Columbia University

ONEder’s CODiE award nominated platform empowers educators with the tools they need to support students withIndividualized Education Plans.  In the session, Jon will focus on the challenges faced by districts in supporting students with IEPs, and closing the opportunity gap. He will then discuss how ONEder is helping districts meet those challenges.

Join Jon at Columbia’s EdLab seminar space on August 2, 2017.  RSVP Today:

https://edlab.tc.columbia.edu/events/EdLab-Seminar-ONEders-Platform-Approach-to-Special-Education–ryh@mO6B@

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Disabilities in Fashion

By Emma Eisenberg

“What you wear has a profound impact on your psyche,” Chaitenya Razdan, founder of clothing company Care and Wear told The New York Times. “It can make you feel like yourself again.”

But the power of clothes to give the wearer authenticity and confidence is a feeling often denied to the 53 million Americans living with disabilities. Mainstream clothes are designed for people who spend their days standing upright, have one specific kind of proportions, and whose hands can unfasten buttons as tiny as a quarter-inch, to name some of the ways the fashion industry dictates what kinds of clothes are widely available. The few clothing options out there for people who use wheelchairs or amputees are often designed for geriatrics, using dated designs and polyester fabrics. The perception is that physically disabled people don’t care about fashion or don’t need fashionable items that fit their bodies. (more…)

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A Teacher’s Perspective on Personalization

By Sarah Caroline Bell

When I accepted a part-time position teaching students English as a foreign language, I was thrust into the world of education, and all that comes with it. However, it wasn’t until relocating to Incheon, South Korea in 2011, that I encountered learners with disabilities.  Unlike my earlier teaching experiences, where learners were allocated to level-based classes after taking a standardized test, all learners were lumped into one class with a single, fixed curriculum based solely on their age.

I immediately noticed that children whose pace didn’t match the standard were, essentially, left to flounder. To counteract this trend, I dedicated countless hours and my own resources to planning additional learning opportunities for struggling students to complete alongside their peers (while they worked on a higher-level task); as 1:1 lessons in my own time, or as additional homework tasks set at the learners’ true level.

The problem is not just about learners with special needs “lagging behind their peers”. Oftentimes, these students possess abilities that exceed other children their own age, with some able to learn content years ahead. Their difficulties manifest themselves in the classroom as disruption. Every class has a few learners like this, requiring extra preparation at the learners’ advanced level, in order to prevent exceptionally fast students from finishing work early and disrupting other students.

Needless to say, teaching was exhausting. In 2015, I considered giving up teaching children and young adults, and instead focusing on adult education and professional coaching in a 1:1 environment. I considered this because it felt more effective to tailor plans for individuals, then juggle multiple needs in a group setting. The problem with teaching is the sheer amount of time educators spend planning lessons, when that time and energy could be better expended on meaningful educational engagement; this is an experience many current and former teachers identify with.

Upon discovering ONEder, I was filled with renewed positivity, even considering specializing as an educator to children with special learning needs. I am sure many passionate educators, exhausted from the struggle of managing learners, would indeed benefit from a learned-centered, monitorable, technology-based program. Providing an outstanding opportunity for all learners to reach their full potential, regardless of the “classification of their needs”, ONEder is paving the way in modern educational design, and I applaud it for taking the initiative.

Sarah Caroline Bell is a writer and teacher based in Seoul. Sarah is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, amongst other publications.

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