My daughter is famous

My daughter, Dr. Erin Schwier, got featured on the CNN Website today, a brief clip where she describes a presentation she made to the Autism Teachers Forum in San Diego. Isn’t she fabulous?

Amid new reports that the rate of autism coninues to rise, San Diego based nonprofit, National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR) hosted Teachers Networking Forum. The conference offered educators the unique opportunity to discuss the newest tactics and cutting edge programs for autism – which is quickly becoming critical as more and more students with autism are enrolled in schools.

Once considered rare, Autism is the fastest growing and most common childhood disorder today. It is more prevalent in children than Cancer, Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis and Diabetes combined.

1 in 150 children in the US are diagnosed with autism.

President Obama recently named Autism at the top of his medical agenda, recognizing the need for improved early diagnosis and life-long support programs.

If you’re interested in the rest of the coverage, here is the link.

CIDER – Using Second Life to promote students’ engagement

We would like to invite you to the next presentation in our series of free CIDER sessions. Our next session features a presentation and discussion with Dr. Martha Burkle, CISCO Chair of e-Learning, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Title: Using Second Life to promote students’ engagement

The arrival of the new generation of students, the so called “Net Gen” or digital natives, has brought to the classroom the urgency of transforming old pedagogical techniques and promoting innovative learning spaces. For instructors in the 21st Century, Web 2.0 technologies have become the tool with which the classroom is no longer a physical-real space but has been transformed into a virtual world. An example of this virtual reality is Second Life, developed by Linden Labs and launched in 2003, with over a hundred educational institutions and more than 16 million users.

This presentation will discuss the challenges and possibilities of using Second Life as a platform to learn ‘hands-on’ skills in a polytechnic environment, and the opportunities that this social software brings to a completely new learning experience. Two major courses have now started to use Second Life not only to engage students’ attention, but also to provide students with equipment and learning situations that real life cannot supply. The research goals, opportunities and challenges will be presented and discussed together with the virtual work developed by instructors and students.

When: Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 11am-12pm MDT (Edmonton)

Where: Online via Elluminate at:

Please make sure your Mac or PC is equipped with a microphone and speakers, so that we can use the Voice over IP functionality built into the web conferencing software. Please note that it is extremely important that you get your system set up prior to the start of the event. Information on installing the necessary software and configuring your PC is available at in the “First Time Users” section.

Edtech Posse episode 5.2

That was fun! The EdTech Posse got together last night for a live podcast, so in addition to the usual suspects you’ve come to expect, we were joined in Ustream by a bunch of friends and acquaintances in the backchannel who directed us through a lot of our conversation. With Heather still in Hawaii, this episode includes Dean Shareski, Rob Wall, Alec Couros, and myself talking Twitter, design, shifts in teaching & learning, and a host of other random thoughts.

Thanks to all of you who joined us last night, and we invite others who might be interested to listen to the recorded session.