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’09 TAGT: Parent Perspective “Gifted Kids Online”

December 30, 2009

Comments by Tracy Fisher

GT Kids Online, Differentiation and Web 2.0 – Elfi Sanderson, Northwestern University – Center for Talent Development – a summary by Tracy Fisher

Several top universities offer online enrichment courses for gifted kids (K-12) – including Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford. Also Honors and AP courses are available to students in grades 6-12 for credit.

GT students have special needs and have the right to struggle and work with intellectual peers, etc. We heard basic information about the organizational patterns of gifted kids (ref “Growing Up Gifted: Developing the Potential of Children at Home and at School” by Barbara Clark – Review) such as grade acceleration, advanced classes at other campuses, flex scheduling, subject acceleration, etc. The development of GT learners is asynchronous – cognitive and emotional abilities often development at very different rates than their age peers with their social and physical abilities developing closer to average (or below).

Sanderson spoke about rigor in the classroom being especially important for the gifted student – The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. Complexity and rigor need to be integrated. GT students need real problems, beyond the familiar, authentic audiences, and original products, etc.

Online learning helps push learning beyond the schoolhouse walls and is especially beneficial to gifted students. Technology helps GT students with their organizational patterns (referenced above).

Web 2.0
User centered
Info sharing
Create knowledge

She stressed that even with the use of technology teachers must still plan their curriculum. The following were types:

(Genuine educational value, journaling, interaction, etc. Used for brainstorming, story board, peer review, etc.)

– Online writers workshop grades 3-8 (Northwestern).
Uses Blackboard (9 week course – enrichment), uses Acrobat Connect – chat, and uses to find real audiences for writers.

The Pantry War (example of a book published)
Elizabeth Dang (8 yr old)

(Wiki wiki means “Quick or fast” – Hawaiian)
Collaborative, builds connections, writing skills improve when working online.

Provocative discussions
Acrobat Connect – real time video, share documents, give/take tests, etc. (can use for staff development)

AP English Lit – uses email discussions – – teacher begins discussion thread then all students respond based on the books they are reading (i.e., concept of tragedy) – microphone, phone in, text in, etc. For mini pod casts or other

Googledocs – GREAT – spreadsheets, forms, websites, email surveys (get real research data) – AP stats, etc.
Pre assessments and post assessments – beta and free
Pre assess – create – pre assessment
Write down everything you know about tragedy… Compare, contrast, post activity – May Twitter also (150 words)

Research, pulling info together in a new way

Social networking is great for comparing and contrasting because it is limited to 150 words – students must be succinct

Video conferencing

Students need these tools in 21st century

Other websites –

Sanderson stressed that the above are tools but must keep goals and objectives in mind. (Plan curriculum etc.)

I’ve asked her to send me a list of all her website resources. Watch this thread for an update!

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