Online learning helps schoolchildren fare better: study

July 4th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 4 (IANS) Educationists have developed a new web-based tool that helps primary schoolchildren to concentrate better and develop literacy skills. The interactive educational software called ‘Abracadabra’ is designed to help struggling school students aged five to eight years learn basic literacy skills to equip them for the future.

The tool has just undergone a 10-week trial that has been described as a success.

Tess Lea of Charles Darwin University, who led the trial, noted that even halfway through the exercise, they could see that the programme was having a positive impact.

“Several children, some of whom couldn’t sit still, became engaged in Abracadabra’s educational gaming format. It offers surprises, competition and rewards, without comparing one student to another. One boy in particular, who struggled with simple letter identification, was absolutely engrossed,” Lea said.

Following training workshops, primary school teachers have been taught how to use the software that relies on an interactive whiteboard.

Lea began the Abracadabra trials in schools during May and June 2008.

First developed and implemented in Canada by the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance at Concordia University, Abracadabra has achieved excellent results.

Lea is awaiting feedback from students so as to refine the software before it is implemented on a statewide basis.

“Abracadabra has the potential to increase the reading and writing abilities of students in the important early childhood years,” Lea said.

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