Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Differentiated Instruction Tools

More and more people are realizing that a one-size-fits-all, group learning approach in schools is not working. So "Differentiated Instruction" is slowly gaining ground as parents and educators are acknowledging different learning styles and the existence of multiple intelligences.

Differentiated instruction is an important consideration in all classrooms but especially so in the special education setting. Although teachers understand this, they often do not have the time and resources to implement it. Neuropath Learning has developed programs that are designed to help teachers offer Differentiated Instruction in both the mainstream classroom and the special needs classroom. These products are computer based interactive software that are accessible online. Multimedia learning tools can pair visual, auditory and written information to teach and reinforce important concepts in language and math as well as promote cognitive development in a way that books cannot. Information is presented in various different ways through many types of "learning activities" in our programs. Students are allowed to interact with the program one-on-one and get immediate feedback and rewards for their achievement. It is important to note that all of the multimedia presented to the children are reality based, natural sounds and pictures - none of it is computed generated, cartoons or fantasy.

Early Mind Matters is our program for ECE (early childhood education) and Special ed. This program guides students through a series of cognitive learning activities and their performance is tracked in real time. The program then generates a report of cognitive abilities and disabilities of each child. This type of information is valuable for developing an IEP (special ed) and to identify and bridge gaps in knowledge or understanding early on (ECE). The program also offers cognitive training through successive rounds of student interaction with these activities to further develop and improve 47 different cognitive skills. Moreover, the Early Mind Matters program can be customized for each child's individual needs - for example if more cognitive training activities are required to correct a particular deficit we provide additional relevant activities from our extensive database. Using this program a teacher can evaluate all of his/her students at the same time and get individual read outs of each child’s strengths and weaknesses. If you'd like to know more information about this program please go to www.neuropathlearning.com. You can register up to 5 students in your classroom for a free trial.

Neuropath Learning also offers a program called Knowledge First that can be used in mainstream classrooms. Both Knowledge First and Early Mind Matters follow the same principles of brain based learning and evaluation. They are based on years of scientific research on how the brain is attracted to and retains new and useful information. Knowledge First assesses both cognitive and academic performance of each child in specific subject areas at the elementary school level. You can find demos of all of our programs on the neuropathlearning.com website. Many teachers have successfully used data coming from the Knowledge First program to address specific learning issues for children in their class. They have also designed their curriculum and teaching methods around the content in the Knowledge First program to further the gains. Knowledge First has consistently helped schools improve state wide test scores significantly year after year. This is due to a combination of cognitive training that brings about "learning readiness", differential instruction, and a better understanding of each child's capabilities and deficits. 

Finally -  for neurotypical preschoolers and kindergartners we have a program called Be School Ready - that again works on the same principles of differentiated instruction and cognitive learning. Our programs can be used in series - Early Mind Matters, followed by Be School Ready and then Knowledge First to help developmentally delayed children integrate into the mainstream classroom.

What sets our programs apart from other educational/assessment software manufacturers is that we continually work with teachers, orienting, guiding, training and supporting them throughout the process. With Early Mind Matters for example, each child's performance data is periodically analyzed and an individualized report for each child is provided to the teacher. We are always working to improve our products and develop new ones. All upgrades are immediately available to users as it is entirely web based.

We believe that there is no such thing as a "standardized brain" so why should there be standardized learning and testing???