Tag Archives: cultural

Work Wonders Project – marrying technology and collaboration in education

May 27, 2014

Microsoft has today announced the Work Wonders Project, a video series that explores the power of technology and collaboration powered by Office 365. You’ll be able to watch two very bright minds as they work together to achieve positive results in a YouTube series that launches June 2.

The challenge is on: “Pencils of Promise” founder Adam Braun believes schools are the future, and education reformer Sugata Mitra thinks they’re obsolete. But the two are joining together in The Work Wonders Project to collaborate on ways to revolutionize education, including using Office 365 to do it.

Braun, whose nonprofit program has built 200 “pencil of promise” schools in Laos, Guatemala and Ghana, will work with Mitra, a ted prize winner and a professor of educational technology, who will bring his cloud-based, elementary education approach to Braun’s schools in Ghana

Very neat 3 minute video overview:  



Preschoolers who stutter do just fine socially, new study shows

Preschoolers who stutter do just fine socially, new study shows

Melissa DahlTODAY

When parents hear their 3- or 4-year-old struggle with stuttering, many can’t help imagining all the ways it will cause them anxiety, especially when they enter preschool: they’ll be teased, have trouble making friends or be afraid to speak up.

But a new Australian study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that it’s fairly common for preschool-age children to stutter – and those that do tend to do just fine, both emotionally and socially.

The researchers have been following more than 1,600 children from Melbourne, Australia, since they were eight months old. In this new report, they found 11 percent of those children had started stuttering by age 4, suggesting that a stutter isn’t abnormal for this age group.

“We will continue to follow the children to learn more about how many recover form stuttering with and without intervention,” says Sheena Reilly, the study’s lead author. Reilly is the director of speech pathology at the University of Melbourne. “We particularly want to be able to predict which children will continue to stutter so that we can target earlier and better intervention at those children. Understanding when anxiety, a feature commonly reported in adolescents and adults who stutter, becomes apparent is another area we will continue to research.”

But in the current study, compared to their non-stuttering peers, the children who stuttered were similar in both temperament and social-emotional development. That’s some encouraging news for parents who may be worried about sending their stuttering child to preschool this fall.

Courtesy of the Campbell family
Xavier Campbell, here shown at 3 in 2009, struggled with a stutter, but with help from a speech therapist, overcame it.

Elizabeth Campbell, the mom of a former tiny stutterer, remembers her similar anxieties well. Her son, Xavier, started to stutter when he was 2 years old. At that young age, the other kids in his day care were too little to notice or bother him about it. But Campbell started to imagine his future with a speech impediment.

“I think a lot of it is, the worry is, what if it doesn’t go away? What if my child becomes school age and they’re 6, 7, 8 – or even 12, 13, 14 — and they’re still stuttering?” says Campbell, who lives with Xavier, her husband and their 3-year-old son in Pennsylvania.

By the time Xavier was 2 1/2 , he’d noticed his own struggles with speaking, and started to become frustrated with it.

“It got to the point where he would be upset by it,” Campbell says. “He would be stuttering and then he would stop and say, ‘HELP, Mommy!’”

For many young children, the stutter may go away on its own. But experts say that when the child starts to be bothered by his or her own stutter, like Xavier did, that’s when it’s time to consider contacting a speech therapist. Xavier started working with one as a very little guy, at 2 1/2 years old. Shortly after his third birthday, he had his last real struggle with stuttering. He’s 7 now, and the stutter is gone, his mom says.

Anywhere from 5 percent to 12 percent of kids will go through a period of stuttering, says Ellen Kelly, Ph.D., an associate professor of hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “But we know from past research that 80 percent of those kids are going to recover,” she says, adding that a small percentage of those kids will have chronic stutters that may persist into their teens, or even adulthood. “Those are the people we want to find, and help early,” she says.

Because preschool-age is the optimal time for speech therapy, says Bridget Walsh, a research scientist at the Purdue Stuttering Project at Purdue University. “The brain is still undergoing a staggering amount of development. It’s malleable. This is a critical window, when connections are being formed,” she says.

Experts name a few things parents can look for that may signal their kid may benefit from speech therapy: The stuttering has been happening for more than six months, and it’s occurring more frequently. Another sign may be if the child is physically straining when speaking, almost forcing the words out. He or she might also avoid talking, or substitute words – something little Xavier would do, his mom noticed. When trying to ask for a balloon, for example, Campbell says, “He would say, ‘Give me that b-b-b-b—gimme dat!”

It’s important for parents to remember that stuttering is a neurological disorder, experts say, and so barking orders at a stuttering child to “slow down!” or “take a breath!” is not ultimately very helpful. Instead of telling them to slow down, for example, slow your own speech down, and the child will follow suit. Also: Don’t bombard the child with questions. Keep your full attention on the child when he or she is speaking, including eye contact. And build their confidence with very descriptive praise.

All this advice, experts point out, isn’t just good for stuttering children – it’s good advice for dealing with any child.

“It’s kind of why Mr. Rogers used that slow, slow pace,” says Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation of America. “The message it sends is, ‘We’re not in a hurry; we have time to listen.’

She adds, “Parents don’t cause stuttering. But there’s a lot you can do to pull the pressure off.”

Fraser and other experts we spoke to for this story suggest that parents who are concerned about their child’s stuttering start studying up about the speech problem the way we research anything else these days: the Internet. Here are a few reputable sources to try first, many of which can help connect you with speech therapy options in your state:

The Stuttering Foundation

The American Speech and Language Foundation

The Association for Young People Who Stutter

National Stuttering Association

Employers increasingly emphasizing ‘soft skills’

A recent Associated Press article by Paul Wiseman says that top employers want college graduates with skills that don’t show up on school transcripts. I am hearing the same thing from local small and medium businesses about high school and community college graduates. So it’s across the board national and local.

Good potential employees have acquired the necessary knowledge and/or technical skills; exceptional potential employees also have ‘soft skills.’

So, just what are these ‘soft skills?’

  • works well in a team environment – gets along with co-workers
  • can write and speak with clarity and be understood – articulates ideas
  • adapts quickly to changes in technology and business conditions – solves problems on the fly – thinks on their feet
  • can interact with colleagues from different cultures and countries

And that’s the disconnect between what can be taught in a classroom and tested for to show progress for students, teachers, principles, school systems to state agencies and legislators – and what can’t be easily classroom taught or tested that employers are looking and needing to hire.

Solution: above my pay grade, but I can see and appreciate the problem.

Happy Birthday America – July 4, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! Keep the faith; hold on to the “American idea” of liberty for all.

lib·er·ty n
1. the freedom to think or act without being constrained by necessity or force
2. freedom from captivity or slavery
3. any of the political, social, and economic rights that belong to the citizens of a state or to all people (often used in the plural)
See also civil liberties

civ·il lib·er·ties npl
the basic rights guaranteed to individual citizens by law, for example, freedom of speech and action

Watch A Teacher Make Her 3rd-Grade Kids Hate Each Other For The Best Reason Imaginable

A Teacher Makes Her 3rd-Grade Kids Hate Each Other For The Best Reason Imaginable

The payoff at the end is brilliant and a perfect metaphor for what we deal with and face every day in our society.

1:30: This teacher begins a study that will be talked about for 40 years.
3:00: She re-creates segregation and racism in her classroom.
7:45: Mrs. Elliott flips the entire class on their heads.
10:00 Jane Elliot makes the most profound discovery about us all
11:43: The students learn something that the world is still struggling to.
There are too many great moments to point out. Just watch.


What are 5 things you wish you knew as a senior in high school

This thought provoking question and the comments that follow are almost an education in themselves. You certainly don’t have to be a rising high school senior to enjoy the real-life insights, appreciation. and wisdom from these sharings.

Click here to read.

You might even want to pass this link along.

Welcome to the Albuquerque, New Mexico Timeline Blog

tomsausalito Welcome to the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Historical and Cultural Timeline blog.

The idea for  the Albuquerque Historical and Cultural Timeline arose from a 2004 conversation with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez. His mention of the upcoming 300th birthday of the founding and naming of Albuquerque stimulated me to put two years into creating the Albuquerque Historical and Cultural Timeline, correlating and displaying 600 years of historical and cultural events across New Mexico, the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

I need to express deep appreciation here for the following individuals who very graciously provided information, assistance, support and guidance  throughout:

  • Elizabeth Chestnut – Historian, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  • Dr. Linda Hall – History Professor, UNM
  • Scott Meredith – History PhD candidate, UNM
  • Dr. Cynthia Radding – Director of Latin American & Iberian Institute, UNM
  • Rubén Saláz – Historian, author, Tri-Centennial History Task Force
  • Dr. Joseph P. Sánchez – Superintendent of the Spanish Colonial Research Center, a partnership between the National Park Service and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque
  • Joe S. Sando – Historian, author, Archive Director for Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  • Deb Slaney – Curator of History – Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
  • Dr. Jane Slaughter – Professor and Chair of History Department, UNM
  • Juan M. Solana – Mexican Consul and Alberto Bernal Acero – Deputy Mexican Consul
  • Claude Stephenson – State Folklorist and author of The Albuquerque Arts Alliance “Albuquerque Cultural Survey”
  • Sandia Laboratories Graphic Arts Department
  • Don Couchman – Historian and Chairman of the Tricentennial History Task Force
  • Craig Newbill – Executive Director, New Mexico Humanities Council
  • Jerry Geist and Vicky Osborne – El Jefe and La Jefecita of the Tricentennial Committee

Without their support and assistance, the Timeline would not be visible to the public in the East Wing of the Convention Center and in the passenger waiting area of the Albuquerque International Sunport.

I intend through this blog to explore and present interesting historical and cultural stories contained within the Timeline in a series of blog-post and video formats. I hope you enjoy the very first video, “5 Perspectives on Albuquerque,” which is an overview of the structure and ‘how to read’ the timeline.

Your comments, thoughts and suggestions are welcome.