The Question: If you had unlimited resources, what product would you invent to help or aid your special education or learning disabled students?
I am the grandson of an inventor, so when Classroom Insiders assigned this topic I thought it would be easy to come up with something I’d want to invent.
Apparently I got passed the wrong set of genes for this.
Part of the problem is imagining having unlimited resources.
The idea of having unlimited resources is one I have a hard time wrapping my mind around.
I teach in what has been identified as the poorest Congressional district in the nation.
Despite the astounding rate of asthma among my students I still have to use chalk because I don’t have a dry-erase board.
And I have to buy the chalk.
By the end of this week, all the classrooms in my school will have SmartBoards, so I guess that will help, but my blackboard is a lot bigger and much easier to use because someone bumping into it doesn’t require time-consuming realignment with a projector.
Then there is the other side of the problem for me; the notion that there could be one product that would help or aid all my special education students.
This notion of there being one solution to every problem seems endemic in education.
Even our President has that fantasy.
I know that among my 100 or so students there are a wide variety of needs.
Trying to come up with a single product to help all of them is like inventing Lipitor and using it to treat cataracts and cancer as well as cholesterol.
It can’t be done.
Or can it?
After giving the problem a lot of thought…
and conducting extensive research…
after considering and rejecting many alternatives…
and after hours of emptying my mind and meditating through the power of computer solitaire, I have finally come up with what I think is a workable idea.
Were that Bill and Melinda Gates would take all the money they give Edutopia and turn it over to me.
Were that I would have access to the best engineers, the best materials chemists, the best labs and the most advanced manufacturing facilities the world has to offer.
Would that all the conditions be perfect, the stars in optimum alignment, I now know what I would invent and manufacture.
That silver bullet everyone dreams of…
a magic wand.
This blog is the second in a series of three I’m writing as part of the Classroom Insiders panel at We Are Teachers. Please visit to meet the two other special education bloggers on the panel and read their posts on this same topic. The final posts in this series will appear May 6th.