“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
I have had the honour of working as a Special Education Teacher for the past 11 years. While teaching in California, I worked with children of varying needs at the elementary level, and then had the opportunity to work as a high school Resource Teacher in Kona, Hawaii. I now have the pleasure of working as a Special Education Consultant for Self Design, a Distributed Learning School in British Columbia. Whether in California, Hawaii or British Columbia, one theme remains the same throughout, that every child wants to feel like they matter and that they are succeeding.
There is nothing more rewarding than personalizing information for a student so they can feel successful in their learning journey. Sometimes the difference between a student feeling successful, or like a failure, is simply in the way that the material is presented. For the past 11 years I have witnessed “the light switch” turn on in students’ eyes when I have worked to honor their unique learning style and teach in a way that speaks to them. For all children to feel successful in their learning journey, it is essential to acknowledge that we all learn and understand in different ways.
Howard Gardner of Harvard University has identified seven different types of intelligences, “Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intra-personal, Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical”. He surmises that, these differences “challenge an educational system that assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test student learning. Indeed, as currently constituted, our educational system is heavily biased toward linguistic modes of instruction and assessment and, to a somewhat lesser degree, toward logical-quantitative modes as well.” Gardner argues that “a contrasting set of assumptions is more likely to be educationally effective. Students learn in ways that are identifiably distinctive. The broad spectrum of students – and perhaps the society as a whole – would be better served if disciplines could be presented in a numbers of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of means.” (http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html)
FreshGrade is a cutting edge educational tool, because at its core, it acknowledges and supports that all children learn differently. It provides a platform for teachers to assess students based on their unique strengths, and provide support for their specific needs. FreshGrade allows evidence such as videos, audio clips, and all sorts of documents to be uploaded and stored in one place. Then education consultants like me can match learning objectives to student’s work and suggest rich resources for continued achievement. FreshGrade is a breath of fresh air that can help all students live up to their full learning potential by highlighting individualized strengths.