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Half-Day Workshop

Seminar: Strengths and Interests: using technology to support student passions

When supporting our students at school, we often focus on what they find challenging. We set goals based on what they cannot currently do. However, in recent years, we have learned more about the impact of focusing on what our students can already do well. We call this a 'Strengths and Interests' approach. By recognising what our students are naturally good at and what they are passionate about, we gain valuable insight into how we can help them move forward and achieve success.

In this workshop, special educator Craig Smith will explain how this approach works and demonstrate how to apply it in your classroom with students of all ages. As a global pioneer for using technology in school, Craig will also show innovative ways to help students gain success with Strengths and Interest-based learning using many different technologies.

Educators will leave this workshop with many new resources and strategies to take back into their classrooms. They will feel confident knowing how to identify their students' strengths and interests and will gain many new skills and insights into the role of technology in this space.

Dates:08 Sep 2022 (Thu)
Time:8.30am – 12.30pm (Singapore Standard Time GMT+0800)
Venue:Live Online Training
Speaker: Craig Smith

Craig Smith has worked as a classroom teacher, researcher and education consultant for the past sixteen years. He has primarily worked in schools for children on the autism spectrum and is currently a national manager of an autism education program in Australia. Craig has served on the special education advisory board at the University of Newcastle and has been awarded recognition as an Apple Distinguished Educator for his innovations in using technology in the classroom. Over the past decade, Craig has travelled around the world and worked with educators on the latest approaches to supporting students in both mainstream and special education environments. He is passionate about recognising the strengths and interests of students, about the role of technology in this space, and about creative ways to help achieve greater inclusion across schools. Recent keynote presentations and masterclass workshops include sessions for education ministries in Dubai and Singapore, for the United Nations in China, and across South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Course Outline
  1. Deficit Based Learning vs Strengths Based Learning
    • Look at how we typically develop student goals based on what they cannot do
    • Explore how we can move towards writing goals that build on pre-existing strengths
  2. Strengths and Interests
    • What do we mean by ‘strengths’? What do we mean by ‘interests’?
    • Hear case studies of real students who help us understand ‘strengths’ and ‘interests’
    • Learn about what research tells us about this approach
  3. Academic Skills, Social Skills, Quality of Life
    • Learn about how a focus on strengths and interests links with academic progress
    • Learn about how we develop important social and communication skills through this approach, such as through using the ‘Lego Therapy’ method
    • Learn about how this approach fosters positive quality of life outcomes for students
  4. Identifying and planning
    • How do we identify our student’s strengths and interests?
    • How do we plan to incorporate these into our classroom curriculum?
    • What are the potential barriers to this approach?
  5. Tools and Technologies
    • Learn about tools that will help support implementation of this approach
    • Observe classroom projects that incorporate the latest technologies and allow students to foster the strengths and interests in innovative ways that can help build on student academic strengths and on their creative passions and interests, including:
      • Logical-Mathematical: coding resources such as Arduino and Scratch, as well as working with 3D Printing
      • Verbal-Linguistic: storytelling through games and Book Creator, and creating own Lego building instructions
      • Music: using tools like Specdrums and MaKey Makey
      • Art: painting on iPad and using 3D modelling tools on computer
      • Bodily-Kinesthetic: incorporating technologies into physical movement and exercise, and also
      • Naturalistic: exploring how technologies can work outside of the classroom in the playground and a range of natural spaces
      • Interpersonal: using technologies to build on social communication skills
  6. Resources and Next Steps
    • Receive digital resources and supports to help you take what you’ve learned in this workshop straight into your classroom
    • Plan your next steps for talking about this approach with other educators and families, and how to get started with Strengths and Interests in the coming weeks
Course Objectives

On completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the benefits of creating strengths-based goals for their students
  2. Describe what strengths and interests in education are
  3. Discuss the research associated with this approach
  4. Recognise the different natural academic and creative strengths our students have
  5. Identify the unique interests our students have in many different areas
  6. Know how to include these strengths and interests in the classroom curriculum
  7. Overcome potential barriers associated with using student interests at school
  8. Know how to use a range of technologies to support many different strengths and interests across a wide range of academic, creative and personal domains
  9. Incorporate new and innovative technologies in your classroom practice
  10. Share resources and learnings with colleagues and families to help them understand the importance of recognising and utilising the strengths and interests of our students
Who Can Benefit?

This workshop is appropriate for all grade levels (pre-k to secondary) special education and general education teachers, tutors, technologists, social workers, counsellors, psychologists, administrators and mental health professionals.

Course Fees & Closing Dates
Registration Type Closing Date Fees (S$) /pax
30 Jul 2022 150
Normal Till Full 180