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SMOKING, TEENS, AND RISK. Yes, smoking apparently makes teens even more reckless than they already are by inhibiting activity in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain supposedly responsible for rational decision-making. If  your bright young person smokes -- or if you want ammunition to discourage that habit -- find out more.
SCHOOL FOR ASPIES. Next fall, the Temple Grandin School will open in Lafayette, Colorado, to serve students in grades 6-12 who have Asperger syndrome and similar learning challenges. One of the school's co-founders, a special ed teacher with a teen son who has Asperger's, says "There's a whole lot of potential in these kids that is destined to be unrealized in a traditional school setting." This according to an article on the school.  
SECOND LIFE AND LEARNING DISABILITIES. Two universities plan to construct a virtual classroom in Second Life, an online "world," in which students with disabilities would be mentored. Interaction would be via avatars. The classroom is expected to open in the fall and to help high-schoolers, college undergraduates, and even graduate students who have a variety of learning challenges. Read more
TECHNOLOGY FROM APPLE. On a similar topic, Apple is reported to be developing technology that would make it possible for content to be delivered to learners in a way appropriate for the learner's particular challenge -- eg, by providing larger font sizes for visually impaired students or by converting text to speech. Find out more and about the patent application Apple has filed at Apple Insider
THE GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER, in Denver, Colorado, has distributed the first in what we assume will be a series of e-newsletters for the gifted community. Find the newsletter; and find GDC's Facebook page
2e DOWN UNDER. The New South Wales Association for Gifted and Talented Children has scheduled a 2e Forum for May 14, in Strathfield. It's positioned as "an opportunity for parents, educators, and other professionals supporting 2e children to engage in a day of learning, discussion, sharing, and planning." Find more information. (Thanks to Gifted Resources' Jo Freitag for pointing us to this event, and also for mentioning our 2e Newsletter Network on Ning. Haven't been there yet? Go here to register (free).)
AND FINALLY, THIS. Oxford Learning Systems, a UK firm selling a reading program for those with reading issues, says of their instrument, "We are very disappointed if a child does not ask to do more Easyread after the trial lesson. We aim to make it fun and laugh-out-loud entertaining. Then we add in the prizes to carry them along." What kind of prizes? Evidently one of those is a "fart machine" to engage learners. This from a press release on the product. Find out about the product. Find out more about bringing fun to phonics. Read a testimonial about it. And have a good weekend.