2003 Conference Proceedings

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INTEGRATING SOFTWARE INTO THE TEACHING PROCESS

Presenter
Jonathan A. Bower, President and CEO
Lexia Learning Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 466
Lincoln, MA 01773
Phone: 800-435-3942
Email: jon@lexialearning.com

Summary

Understand the benefits associated with software design and implement teacher training programs. Key issues reviewed include hardware familiarization, curriculum integration, use of reports and effective classroom logistics.

Rational and Background

Lexia Learning Systems, Inc. publishes computer software for assessing and supporting the development of decoding skills in learning disabled, ESL, and mainstream students. Available on the market since 1988, Lexia's products are in use at over 10,000 schools and institutions including leading schools for the learning disabled. As the use of the software spreads, both in Special Education and in mainstream classrooms along with the use of Multi-sensory Structured Language (MSL) teaching approaches, long time users find themselves in the position of teacher trainers.

Goals and Objectives

Session attendees will become familiar with the key areas every training class must cover, and with elective material to accomplish different goals. They will learn approaches for integrating Lexia software into a variety of teaching systems including Project Read, Wilson, SPIRE and Lindamood-Bell, and situations when there is no existing MSL approach in use. The goal of the session will be to prepare the providers of in-service training programs to properly integrate a Lexia software component, and to use various resources that are available to help them.

In the presentation, Mr. Bower will present data from a number of schools and situations around the country including:

Mr. Bower will demonstrate assessment and reading programs, and discuss the features which make them effective including the user interface, the structure of the teaching method and the built-in reporting system. He will address issues of cost, curriculum integration, classroom scheduling and hardware selection and use. Finally, he will discuss issues in the processes of software selection and teacher training which significantly affect implementation success.

Methodology

In this session, Mr. Bower will introduce the underlying theories which make this software effective, quickly review its use, and familiarize attendees with its features. Questions will be answered on screen using a projector to display relevant elements of the software (Lexia can provide such a projector if requested). During the session, attendees will be queried for their impressions so that they may hear from each other.

Starting with hardware (mice, monitors and sound), the presenters will teach attendees how to assure proper system performance, and share hints on quickly bringing new computer users up to speed. Then, they will present a list of "musts;" those items which need to be covered in every training session, no matter how short. Branching out to cover elective material appropriate for different types of training, they will present four or five training scenarios, introducing cases where the recommended approaches have worked. A couple of case "horror stories" will also be introduced to highlight errors to be avoided.

The software content will then be reviewed as an introduction to curriculum integration. The variations in different Orton-Gillingham teaching systems will be reviewed, and the areas of overlap and difference with the software discussed. Case studies from successful O-G based training with software will be presented.

The presenters will next address the issues surrounding teacher training potential hot buttons and sensitivities will be identified, and approaches to circumventing them. Supplementary training materials from print publishers will be reviewed. Finally, some success cases will be discussed as examples of approaches to try.

The session will finish with a discussion of resources and support materials available to trainers. The presenters will offer their list, and lead a discussion to elicit others from session attendees. The working list will be summarized on the projector.

Outcomes

Attendees should feel better prepared to lead teacher training on the use of software, and should also feel better prepared to train in MSL systems in general.

Handouts

The presenters will provide handouts on the research basis of the products, along with case studies as examples of successful application approaches. They will also provide a list of "musts," along with a sample in-service training outline and a list of printed support materials.


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