What will learning be like in 2036?

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Learning his lessons in his own time, at his own pace and on his own device. He’ll do the homework in school tomorrow with the teacher and his classmates together……

The link below refers to an article in the Irish Times discussing the demise of the classroom as we know it postulating that the “Flipped Classroom” and more personalised learning will be commonplace in the future. The Pilot project introducing the “Flipped Classroom” into St Brigid’s National School in Greystones, Ireland that uses our WordsWorthLearning online literacy programme is mentioned in the first 2 paragraphs. We are obviously 20 years ahead of the game!    http://bit.ly/2fDjBWd

The “Flipped Classroom” is Coming…..

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The University of Vermont last week became the most recent institution to join the trend, announcing a pedagogical reform in its College of Medicine (UVM) that observers say is the most sweeping yet. The college will over the next several years remove all lecture courses, replacing them with videos students watch on their own time. And instead of sitting through lectures, students will meet in “active learning” classrooms, led by faculty members, working with their classmates in small groups.

UVM will put a $66 million gift, announced Friday, toward building renovating classrooms and retraining faculty members. It has also renamed its College of Medicine in honour of the donor, alumnus and retired physician Robert Larner.

(Text Source: Carl Straumshelm – Inside Higher Ed, Sep 2016)

An Introduction to WordsWorthLearning

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A really good day with another fantastic group of teachers and SLTs learning about the WordsWorthLearning programme. Smaller groups always lead to greater participation and discussion throughout the day. It was a real pleasure.

At-home digital content to supplement what’s being taught in school

Very interesting results from a DELLOITE 2016 Digital Education Survey to explore emerging trends in digital education technology. Here’s a link to their infographic that details the results from the study: http://bit.ly/2dxqRkl

Here’s an example:  “88% of parents and 84% of teachers are interested in having more at-home digital content available to supplement what’s being taught in school”.

The results from our 2016 Flipped Classroom Project with St Brigid’s National School in Greystones, Ireland certainly show why this is the case.

PARENTS and TEACHERS GALORE !

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What an impressive turnout of parents and some of the teachers last night for a presentation, arranged by Sr. Kathleen Lyng  (Principal), in St Brigid’s National School in Greystones, Ireland.

They came along to hear about the amazing results from a most progressive pilot project that had been run in the school recently. The project tested the “Flipped Classroom” model using the online WordsWorthLearning programme with the objective to help students that were falling behind with their reading and spelling. The project involved two groups of 8 students that had been identified to be in this cohort. To measure the outcomes for the project the teachers used standardised literacy tests both before and after the project had completed.

Group 1: Involved the “Flipped Classroom” approach with the 8 students doing the lessons (selected by the teacher) at home i.e. watching video tutorials and completing interactive reading and spelling exercises – to put into practice what was taught in the lessons. The students could rewind and replay the lessons and learn at their own pace. A parent or guardian would facilitate this activity. During the week, in the classroom, the teacher would discuss and review the lessons learned with the group of 8 students to construct a better all-round understanding of the topic.

Group 2: involved the traditional “Classroom / Homework” approach with the 8 students doing the lessons daily with the teacher, on the whiteboard in the classroom i.e. watching video tutorials and completing both manual and interactive reading and spelling exercises to consolidate the lessons.

The results which revealed significant improvements in reading accuracy, comprehension and spelling will be published soon on our website www.wordsworthlearning.com.

Other topics covered last night were:

The age-old problem – “How do you help students with spelling difficulties?”. The photo above depicts an exercise done on the night that showed the audience how to discover someone’s “area of visual recall” or AVR for short. The audience were given information about what to look for and our volunteer Emma was a superb example, showing very clearly where her eyes go when she is trying to visualise something e.g. the answer to a tricky question. Once established this information can be used to help a student to remember how to spell a word.
How to create “Flashcards” using colour and graphics, that can help a student to remember how to spell a word that they normally find difficult, because they have no rule-base to work from e.g. cheque

cheque

It was a great night, with lots of interesting questions and feedback.

Change of date for 1-day Teacher/SLT Training Course

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There has been a conflict of dates for the next WordsWorthLearning (1-Day) Training Course – for Learning Support Teachers and Speech & Language Therapists.

See the following for information and course booking details: course-21-oct-2016

Our online programme is used by Learning Support Teachers, Speech & Language Therapists and Parents (at home with their child).

NEW Student Progress Tracker Installed

NEW –  Student Progress Tracked using Multiple-Choice Questionnaires

 

Each student’s progress is now measured and documented using 12 multiple-choice questionnaires. The student will be instructed to do the multiple-choice questionnaire after completing each one of the 7 Levels.  There are 10 questions in each one and the results will be shown on the screen at the end of each questionnaire. The results can also be printed as a PDF. Some of the more advanced Levels have more than one questionnaire. Based on the results the student’s progression of achievement is tracked and monitored and where appropriate revision is instructed to meet the individual students learning needs. Revision consists of re-watching a particular video tutorial that contains the element/s that the student had missed or had not fully understood.

The student can access the Questionnaire to try again, at any stage and as many times as might be required. The picture below shows just how easy it is to select and click the Questionnaire that has been indicated.

Student Progress Tracking

WordsWorthLearning© is an online programme that contains a complete step-by-step solution for remediating reading and spelling difficulties including dyslexia. It teaches the “mechanics” of reading and spelling over a series of 7 levels:

Level 1: Sound/Symbol Association – begins at the cusp between pre-reading / spelling and early reading/spelling stages, with a focus on articulation awareness and the identification of 43 speech sounds / phonemes and their respective graphemes (letters).

Level 2: Phonological Processing – pseudo words are used to teach the student to discern and identify the target sounds, the number and the order of sounds in a nonsense word.

Level 3: Reading & Spelling – using pseudo words, with direct reference to the Vowel and Consonant charts that are supplied with the programme.

Level 4: Rules for Reading & Spelling – 20 rules are introduced in detail, expanding on common rules but also incorporating rules that are unique to the programme.

Level 5: Reading & Spelling – real single syllable words of increasing complexity and irregular words are taught using an innovative ‘visualisation’ strategy.

Level 6: 9 Syllable Division Rules – introduced for both reading and spelling, involving words containing up to seven syllables. Word “patterns” are used to explain the irregularities of written English.

Level 7: Prefixes & Suffixes – simple prefixes and suffixes, two syllable and complex suffixes are introduced and explained.

WordsWorthLearning – Flipped Classroom

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  1. THE TRADITIONAL MODEL – the teacher’s role is to “give lessons” and “set homework”

     Common Problems:

  • students learn at different paces
  • they miss important pieces of information, even though they were “present”
  • when absent – they miss critical lessons (sick, sports)
  • some have homework glitches e.g. “forgot” how to do it from class
  • they have no time to practice (on their own) in class
  • in class, some students “get it”, some “nearly get it” and some “don’t get it’
  1. THE FLIPPED CLASSROOM MODEL – teacher’s role is to “reinforce” learning

Recognised Benefits:

  • with online video tutorials and interactive exercises students can pause, rewind and re-watch lessons, truly learning at their own pace
  • doing the “homework” in class gives teachers a much better insight into each student’s learning style and (importantly) those having difficulty
  • teacher can discuss and review the previous night’s lessons with the class allowing all students to construct meaning and understanding
  • teacher can use this approach to create a “learning together” ethos – where they all participate and help each other to learn
  • teacher will then select the next set of lessons to be learned at home
  1. A WORKING PROTOTYPE SOLUTION

The online WordsWorthLearning© programme and methodology remediates reading and spelling problems (including dyslexia) and it fits perfectly with the Flipped Classroom model especially in the Learning Support / Resource scenarios whereby:

  • Lessons at Home: Child with a Parent (or other facilitator e.g. relation, friend, carer) will login to the WordsWorthLearning © program for fifteen minutes each school day to learn the lessons that have been set by the teacher. They will watch the video tutorials and then consolidate the lessons via interactive online reading or spelling exercises.  Note: If there is a problem engaging a facilitator at home, this role can be done in school either individually or in small groups, where the lessons can be facilitated by a Learning Support teacher, SNA, teacher assistant or even a suitably qualified student.
  • Homework in Class: Teacher/ Learning Support Teacher/ SNA can work with individuals or small groups in class to create a dynamic, engaging and interactive environment for the class to discuss their opinions about what has been learnt from the lessons done at home. This provides more opportunity for students to construct meaning and a deeper understanding. Doing the “homework” in class in this way allows a teacher to gain a better understanding about each student’s learning style and identify those that have difficulties. The next home lessons (online videos & exercises) will then be set by the teacher.

Restorative Justice in Ireland

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Yesterday we attended an exceptional conference organised by Restorative Practices Ireland and Restorative Justice Forum (NI) entitled – “Restorative Connections: Developing a Roadmap across the Island of Ireland”.  It was a revelation to discover such palpable dedication and commitment from everyone involved including stakeholders, organisers, speakers, presenters, guests, participants and attendees in general. The conference was cleverly planned and organised to both educate attendees and learn from attendees.

Our main aim was to learn about the restorative practices in use – in particular we wanted to find out what services were either in place or planned for prisons and young offender institutions, for improving language and literacy for the high percentage of interned offenders that have language and / or literacy problems.

Although all the workshops and sessions that we were able to attend were most informative and very well presented, the following are worthy of a mention:

The “Working in Schools” workshop run by Michelle Stowe and Claire Mathews was excellent covering restorative practice approaches to establish a structured framework for teaching and learning and the development of positive relationships, to cultivate a sense of community within schools.

The “Participant and Practitioner Experiences” workshop explored the potential for new restorative approaches:

(i) the establishment of “Hydebank Wood College” – formerly a Young Offenders Institution (run by Amanda Wood)

(ii) the Restorative Justice in the Community Project (run by Emily Sheary)

These two workshops are positively reframing how restorative practices can be utilised within a custodial (or deferred custodial) setting as part of the process for community engagement and reintegration into society.

Looking at the chart above which came from the BETT Conference 2012, it’s not hard to work out that language and / or literacy problems start in the early school years and if they aren’t picked up and remediated quickly, a high percentage of those with difficulties underachieve at school with many falling down the slippery slope from truanting, committing offences, leading to more serious crimes and ending up with a custodial sentence. A high percentage of prisoners and young offenders are dyslexic or have a specific learning difficulty that has affected them all the way through their school years. There is a stigma attached to illiteracy and having language deficits only compounds their problem, if they don’t understand what is being asked or said or if they can’t explain themselves properly.

On reflection, after listening and speaking to many of the experts at the conference yesterday, there seems to be a glaring opportunity on the horizon to create a new restorative practice that would allow a consenting inmate to significantly improve their literacy competency within the timeframe of their custodial (or deferred) sentence. It would take advantage of their time in custody to remediate what would otherwise be a lifelong problem. Being literate would also help in the process of community engagement and reintegration into society and in all probability it could reduce the potential for re-offending.

Our WordsWorthLearning online literacy programme would be a perfect fit for such a project, it is an online version of a speech & language literacy programme that has been proven to work over the last 30 years, it is available on PC and Tablet, it is easy to use, it works quickly and it is affordable.

We fully intend to reconnect with some of the people we met at the conference yesterday with a view to discussing this opportunity further. It could become a very significant Restorative Practice for Ireland, that might also be adopted on a larger scale.

David Ross and Rita Treacy

WordsWorthLearning Ltd.

Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No.7

 

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Having spent all of his early years in an Eastern European orphanage, Luke was adopted into an Irish family when he was nearly 4 years of age. As he progressed through the Irish educational system, he was eventually assessed in 5th year with a diagnosis of ‘Severe Specific Learning Difficulty / Dyslexia’. Luke’s parents had flagged their concerns to the school but were assured that he was ‘doing fine’. Due to the difficulties that were identified in the cognitive assessment, Luke obtained an exemption from learning Irish. He received learning support hours and was sanctioned special accommodations for his Leaving Certificate examinations, which included the use of a laptop. The psychologist also recommended a referral to my clinic and service.

Luke first attended my clinic for remedial therapy when he was 17 years of age and in 5th year in school. He presented with a severe reading accuracy disorder, an associated severe reading comprehension disorder and a severe spelling disorder. After only 7 one-hour therapy sessions (1:1) that were spread over 2 months and daily practice with the WordsWorthLearning literacy programme, Luke’s reading and spelling skills were reassessed.  His reading accuracy and reading comprehension skills were found to be advanced and his spelling skills were normal for his age group. Luke and his mother were very focused and approached every task in hand with enthusiasm and diligence. As Luke’s specific learning difficulty was now resolved, it was agreed to discharge him from my service.

Nearly two years later, I was contacted by his mother to inform me that Luke had not only obtained an A in his leaving Certificate honours English, but had also secured a place in the coveted university and course of his choice.  He is now in the final year of his honours degree course. Prior to literacy intervention, the leaving certificate points required for his course would have been far beyond his ability.  Well done Luke.

So what can we learn from this?:

  1. Luke was assessed by an Educational Psychologist at 17 years of age to be in the ‘average’ range of I.Q., although in reality his intelligence was far beyond that. It was only through appropriate literacy intervention that Luke was able to unlock his true intellectual potential and demonstrate that he was in fact a very bright young man.
  2. As I say to most parents, trust your gut instinct! – if you feel there is a problem and your child is underperforming, do get formal standardised assessments either via the school or privately.
  3. It is never too late to treat and remediate a literacy disorder successfully.
  4. Structured literacy intervention, using a phonemic (speech sound), rule based approach is essential for Dyslexic students.
  5. Ongoing revision at certain intervals is recommended, just to keep the reading and spelling rules and strategies fresh in the mind.
  6. For the WordsWorthLearning programme I cannot stress enough the importance of continually using highly visual flashcards for irregular or difficult words encountered in a text book. For those with dyslexia this is a skill for life!
  7. Luke’s determination and ambition to succeed helped him to be open-minded to intervention and he even reached goals beyond his expectation.

NOTE: To protect “Client Confidentiality” the client name has been changed.

Rita Treacy

Dyslexia Specialist – Speech & Language Therapist – creator of the online WordsWorthLearning programme for resolving reading & spelling problems.