SCHOOLS INTEGRATED PROJECT 026  

The Role of ICT as a Support To Learning  

Background

SIP Groups

Childrens Work

WordShark Evaluation

Submitted by

Brian Dillon,

Learning Support Teacher.

 Ballinahinch NS

For the last three months I have used Wordshark as part of leaning support with my groups and have found it hugely beneficial.  The major advantage of Wordshark is that it works; it helps pupils to improve their phonic and spelling skills. Among its other benefits were:

The software is in itself a complete phonic program that can be used throughout the primary school.

It enables children who need extra phonic support work to learn in a fun way using the many different games.

All words are sounded and seen as necessary. This multi-sensory approach is vital to children with specific learning difficulties (dyslexics) 

Once workings of program are explained, each child can work independently on phonic drills, thus freeing up time for teacher to do other work.

Software allows teacher to set up different work for each pupil so phonic programme can be individualised to meet the individual needs of each learner. 

Pupilsí work is protected by password and this element adds to the motivation of pupils.

Teacher has own password and can look and change settings of pupils as necessary.  He can also check on progress to see the quality of the pupils learning.

The software provides instant sound feedback so pupil knows if he has given right or wrong answers. Visual and auditory clues are given to pupil when stuck.

Of enormous significance is that the teacher can set work up on software a programme of work for pupil. In rural schools where learning support teacher may be only seeing pupils a few times per week, this makes it possible for the pupil to receive daily learning support which can be done independently by pupil of both class and remedial teacher.

Children can work collaboratively on programme.  Pupils can work in twos but can also help in examining each others work.  Pupils to test each other can use the Word lists.  While one clicks on words to give their sound, the other can be working away from computer writing them down in copy.  In this way pupils are providing extra dimension to learning experience.

Software comes with a comprehensive book from which teacher can photocopy word lists.  These can be used to base work away from computer around these words and also given to class teachers as a way of informing them of what level the pupil are on. 

Conclusion:

This is an outstanding piece of software for learning support teachers and once used will never be done without again.