By Paul Blackman & Blair Murray
We live in a precarious time, which has accelerated the use of online learning tools.
What if we could take advantage of technology for the greater good and empower all children to become successful, life-long learners with a passion for reading including those that normally fall through the gaps due to learning differences, such as dyslexia?
Our history is full of amazingly talented people such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Steven Spielberg and Richard Branson, all dyslexic, whose contributions have made a massive difference to our world.
How many of our precious tamarakri, do we have sitting in our classrooms whose contributions we may never see. Sadly according to the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand while 10% of the general population are Dyslexic this climbs up to 90% among prison inmates.
What if we were able to cater for all students regardless of where they find themselves on the learning spectrum? So how do we improve outcomes for these learners?
We believe it’s about changing a child’s core beliefs so that they see their learning differences as an asset and learn to turn their learning differences into an advantage.
Our Worldsmart Kids app aimed at children 4–8 years is about providing a foundation for all students to achieve to their potential by tailoring a reading programme to suit their existing skill level.
The games found in the app are inherent in making the learning experience fun. They include storytelling (the brain’s natural way of learning), Phonemes, Graphemes, Decoding and Listening Skills, alongside Mindfulness to support focus and impulse control. This methodology is supported by the latest research in Neuro-Science. Furthermore, artificial intelligence and voice activation allows the student to progress at their own pace.
With competence in reading comes confidence across all areas of learning. The app is not designed exclusively for students with learning differences, but for any beginner reader, including reluctant learners.
The WordSmart Kids app has been built from the ground up here in the Coromandel. The app is constantly evolving as is artificial intelligence as a learning tool. We have a talented team of experienced locals bringing our vision to life; the app is available for a limited time free on the Apple App and Google Play Store.
Paul Blackman & Blair Murray (Published in Seagull Magazine, October 2020).
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