50 Free Open Courseware Classes for Special Education Teachers

Published by admin on Fri May 07, 2010

Being a special education teacher is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do in life. You have the opportunity to help those with special needs, making an impact in their lives. On top of that, you have a chance to let them into your life, allowing them to impact your own life.

If you are interested in being a better special ed teacher, you can use the following open courseware classes to learn interesting techniques, and even to prepare special education lesson plans. Increase your knowledge and become a better teacher with help from these 50 free open courseware classes for special education teachers:

Mental Needs

AutismThese open courseware classes can help you help your special needs students that have learning disorders, mental disabilities and more.

  1. Individualized Reading Instruction in the Elementary Grades: The University of Michigan offers a helpful look at assessing reading skills, and tailoring curriculum toward those with different needs.
  2. Psychiatric Epidemiology: This course from Johns Hopkins University aims to teach about the different disorders that can occur in childhood and through the teen years.
  3. Autism Theory and Technology: This MIT course addresses autism, the different theories behind it, and technology that can be used to help these students succeed.
  4. Understanding dyslexia: Get insight into how dyslexia works. The Open University offers a helpful course on teaching those with dyslexia.
  5. Attention: Learn about attention, and how it works. Also provides insight that can help you understand students with attention deficits.
  6. Substance Abuse and the Family: Learn how substance abuse in the family can lead to learning problems and special education requirements.
  7. Teaching Students with Special Needs: Behaviour Management: Learn how to run your classroom when teaching those with special needs. Helpful hints on behavior management from the University of Southern Queensland.
  8. Inclusive education: knowing what we mean: Helpful course on setting up an inclusive learning environment for a variety of students.
  9. What children’s perspectives tell us about inclusion: Learn more about children, and what they are looking for in an inclusive education — including for those with special needs.

Physical Needs

BrailleMany special needs children have physical limitations. Here are some open courseware classes that can help you address these physical needs.

  1. The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism: Learn how to teach those whose first language may not be English in this course from MIT.
  2. Multicultural Education & ESL Education: Dixie State College helps you learn about teaching in a multicultural setting.
  3. Accessibility and eLearning: Different techniques and technologies that can help those with special needs.
  4. American Sign Language and Signed English: This course from Lesson Tutor offers a series of lessons that can help you communicate more effectively with hearing impaired students.
  5. Teaching Blind Students: The University of Northern Iowa offers this helpful group of resources that includes information on making text accessible, and for building curricula.
  6. Adapted PE: Get a look at different strategies for adapting physical education to the needs of your students.
  7. Human Growth and Development: Tufts University addresses issues of physical development, and provides an understanding of what could result in disabilities.
  8. Pathophysiology of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism: Learn about the issues that comes with certain diseases, and how to address the results in a classroom setting.

Using the Arts

PaintingMany special education students benefit from exposure to the arts. These open courseware classes can help you develop lessons that might be more likely to help you reach those with special needs.

  1. Introduction to Sculpture: Learn the basic principles of sculpture, and how they can be used to teach.
  2. Picturing the family: Help students get a grasp of the idea of family, culture and other complex topics.
  3. Fundamentals of Music: MIT offers a basic course in music.
  4. Creating Musical Sounds: The Open University offers a look at different ways to create music, including quite a few that can be adapted for those with special needs.
  5. Art of Color: Teach students about color, and how they can make their own works of art for expression.
  6. Introduction to Video: Many students with special needs enjoy making video. This MIT course can help you learn more about video so that you can teach it.
  7. Theater Arts Topics: This helpful course can introduce you — and your special education students — to theater.
  8. Dance skills: Many students enjoy dance and movement. This course from The Open University can be of help.

Child Development

ChildrenGet a handle on child development, from early childhood through the teen years. A great foundation for all teachers, and many of these course also include valuable information the development of special conditions and needs in children.

  1. Infant and Early Childhood Cognition: Get a basic grasp of cognition.
  2. Play, learning and the brain: An overview of how play can aid in learning.
  3. Psychology of Gender: Gain an understanding of the psychology behind “girl” and “boy”.
  4. Developmental Psychology: The University of California Berkeley offers insight into how children develop.
  5. Knowledge in everyday life: Learn how to help children of different need levels acquire knowledge.
  6. Childhood Psychological and Emotional Health: Learn about children’s emotional health from Connexions.
  7. Adolescent Health and Development: Johns Hopkins offers a look at how youth develop. Helpful for those teaching teenagers.
  8. Adolescent Stages: The Child Development Institute offers a look at teenage development.

General Teaching

TeachingGet helpful hints on teaching in general, and techniques and methods that can be adapted for special education in many places.

  1. Concept-Centered Teaching: Learn how to teach concepts to your students.
  2. Using visualisation in maths teaching: Helpful information on using different tools to teach math.
  3. Gender Issues in Academics and Academia: Overview of gender issues that are likely to come up.
  4. The Nature of Constructionist Learning: Help students learn with hands-on projects.
  5. Exploring K-12 Classroom Learning: Get a handle on teaching in school classroom settings.
  6. The Creative Spark: Learn about the creative process, and how to teach it to students.
  7. Evaluating school classroom discussion: Find out how to gauge the effectiveness of your interactions with students.
  8. Teaching for good behaviour: Learn techniques you can employ to encourage good outcomes.
  9. Thinking about how I work with other professionals: Improve your interactions with fellow special education and other teachers.

Education Administration

SchoolIf you would like to be an administrator some day, these open courseware classes can help you learn about what it takes, and how you can improve your chances.

  1. Economics of Education: Course addressing the realities of money and education.
  2. Communicating Across Cultures: Helpful administration level course on cultural sensitivity.
  3. Technological Tools for School Reform: Be a part of the solution in educational reform.
  4. School business manager: developing the role: Helpful look at planning in terms of school administration.
  5. Integrating Thinking for Future Leaders in Education: Critical thinking skills and more from Rice University’s Connexions.
  6. K-12 Leadership and the Educational Administration: A Theory of Preparation: Get insight into planning district-wide curriculum policies.
  7. Ethical Administrators: Tools for the Trade: Another Connexions course, this one focuses on ethics in educational administration.
  8. School governors: planning for improvement: Learn how you can create plans for better schools and for better special education programs.

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