I'm so excited, and it's all from a webinar.
I've attended more than a few webinars in my day, and they certainly are not all created equal. Many of them have interesting titles but it quickly becomes obvious that they just want to sell you something.
Some present information that's so basic you would have to be completely new to the subject to get anything out of it.
In the best of webinars, it can be hard to maintain your attention since you lack a warm, physical body in your presence (or maybe this is just me).
Today's webinar was unlike any of these examples.
I found out about it from a local non-profit group geared to parents of kids with disabilities. It can be hard to think of your child as being "disabled," especially in comparison to kids with "real" disabilities like cerebral palsy or blindness. But when you look at the impact of executive function deficits on academic learning, the label of disability becomes a little easier to apply.
Educational consultant Susan Fitzell was the presenter and the title was "Techno-Strategy Blast." I won't give away the tips and tricks she presented - maybe she'll do a webinar or presentation that you can take part in - but I will describe some of the reasons why I'm so excited about it.
The presentation was divided into five or six different areas, and covered web-based tools to help kids with learning deficiencies. Really many, if not not most, of the tools would help kids of any kind.
She talked about timers and flash cards, both of which we used at home. But it was a huge "ah hah" moment when she showed us ways to incorporate visuals into flash cards! What a simple idea that could potentially make a huge difference in committing facts to memory!
A number of other tools branched off of the typical flash card to other visual methods of learning and studying. One of my big beefs with typical schools is that kids are not taught how to study. These tools and ideas go a long way to giving kids appropriate and helpful tools for studying.
Another part of the webinar focused on both auditory and video tools. She mentioned using books on tape and later in the session I asked about "relying" on audio books over traditional reading. She shared a great story about a student who had done the majority of his K-12 reading through audio books and went on to do well in college. While I'm not ready to give up traditional reading, she helped me to see that audio books provide another option for helping with schoolwork. She also highlighted the benefits of continuing to read to kids long after they are past picture books. I love reading to Dylan and don't see us giving it up any time soon or, really, ever!
Fitzell is a teacher, but she's also a mother whose son got through school and is in college while working with two learning disabilities. While it's great to hear from knowledgeable experts, it's even better to hear from a mom who has successfully helped their unique kids navigate through academic waters.
I "left" the webinar excited. I want to try some of the tools she shared, and I feel re-energized for the second half of the summer's learning opportunities. We had a rough year, last year, but this presentation helped me feel that we can readjust and start over this coming year.