Millions of children around the world are excluded from access to education because of a disability; join this free online course to find out how inclusive education can work, especially where resources are limited.
Education for All is a six week long course beginning on 4 April 2016. It aims to explores how inclusive education can address barriers to learning and participation, and transform school communities. The course is offered by the University of Cape Town on the attractive FutureLearn platform, and is led by lecturers Judith McKenzie and Chioma Ohajunwa.
The course outline is:
● Week 1 – Why inclusion?
● Week 2 – Education begins at home
● Week 3 – Creating an inclusive school
● Week 4 – Partnerships for success
● Week 5 – Changing classroom practices
● Week 6 – Building networks
The course is aimed at teachers, other professionals and parents interested in developing inclusive education. It requires 3 hours of study time per week, a total of 18 hours overall. The course is free to study, and if required a Statement of Participation is available at £34.
Enrol free here: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/education-for-all
If you are interested in children with disabilities you might also like to take a look at The Center for Parent Information and Resources – a resource library for families of children with disabilities which I previously reviewed.
The WebGuide is a directory of quality websites covering all ages from early child development through to adolescence.
Tufts University have assembled approved links to websites and videos on topics of interest to parents. It is also used by students and professionals in the fields of child development, education, and psychology. All the sites and videos listed on the WebGuide have been systematically evaluated by graduate students. In order to ensure reliability, the evaluation system includes criteria such as the inclusion of citations in peer-reviewed journals.
This really is a very reliable resource for students and workers’ continuing professional development (CPD). It is easy to navigate, with drop-down menus across the top of the site. For example, ‘Health’ includes ADHD, Autism and Aspergers.
The WebGuide has been systematically evaluating links since 2001, so it has now amassed a substantial collection. Tufts’ evaluation criteria are rigorous, but I think that if it were to have begun today it might have indicated whether each resource was open-access or not.
Viewing the WebGuide from Europe, I can’t help wishing we had a comparable directory for resources outside the USA.
Access the WebGuide at: http://www.cfw.tufts.edu
Two new MOOCs (massive open online courses) from the US and the UK are launching soon. Is one of them right for you?
Back in October 2013 I looked at the MOOCs Early Childhood Education by Gowrie Victoria on www.open2study.com, and Effective Classroom Interactions by the University of Virginia on www.coursera.org. This year there are two more options to choose from:
1. The Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People by the University of Edinburgh on Coursera.
This is a five week long course beginning on 28 July 2014. It requires between 1-3 hours of work per week, a total of 5-15 hours overall. The course is led by Professor Matthias Schwannauer, and offers a broad introduction to the core models of psychological development and the practice of the Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People. You don’t need to be working with children to study this course, and students who successfully complete it will receive a signed Statement of Accomplishment. The syllabus is:
Week 1: What is Development
Week 2: Attachment
Week 3: Risk and Resilience
Week 4: The Psychology of Adolescence
Week 5: Applied Developmental Psychopathology
2. Positive Behavior Support for Young Children by The University of Washington on EdX.
This is a nine week long course beginning on 10 June 2014. It requires between 3-4 hours per week, a total of 30-35 hours overall. The course is led by Dr. Gail Joseph and will teach evidence-based models to promote social-emotional development for young children. The course is aimed at early childhood educators (also known as early years practitioners) already working with young children. As part of the course you will analyse the behavior one of your children in detail, working towards the outcome of learning classroom management skills that prevent challenging behavior. No certificates will be issued with this course.
Which course should you choose?
If you’ve not studied a MOOC before, Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People should be a good place to start, particularly if you’re interested in older children. It covers a wider age-range and is less skills-orientated, so you don’t need to be a current practitioner. In contrast, Positive Behavior Support for Young Children is a longer and more advanced course, so if you studied either of the MOOCs I reviewed last year, then this would be an ideal follow-on course. I’d summarise their relative positions like this:
Interestingly, with edX, we now have a third platform in the mix. One analogy is with supermarkets; the four courses above are equivalent to products you might want, but which supermarket you choose to get it from can make quite a difference to your experience. So far I have preferred the Australian open2study platform over Coursera, as it’s more fun to use and the students achieve better results. However, I’m really looking forward to trying edX, not least because it is the only major platform that is nonprofit and open-source, which sits comfortably with my own attitude that education should be more of a human right than a commercial commodity.