Educators NZ - Literacy and numeracy improve in tech trial

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Literacy and numeracy improve in tech trial

A decile three school in West Auckland has had the opportunity to put the new LeapPad Ultra, an educational touchscreen device, to the test in the classroom.

Colwill Primary School was given 40 of the devices to trial and found some surprising results, including 100% improvement in literacy and numeracy in its year 0-1 class.

For the trial, the school separated classes with the same age and curriculum levels into two groups – with one class in each year using the device and the other continuing as normal. Students were tested at the beginning of the trial and at the end, four weeks later.

The year 0-1 class that used the LeapPad Ultra had 100% improvement in literacy (phonics and letter knowledge) and 100% improvement in maths (number knowledge), compared to only 47% improvement in literacy and 23% in numeracy in the class without the units.

In year 1-2, the class using the units had 100% improvement in literacy and 22% improvement in numeracy, compared with 100% and 13% respectively. And the year 2-3 class had 83% improvement in literacy and 73% improvement in maths, compared to only 38% improvement in literacy and 27% in numeracy in the class without the units.

Rob Taylor, principal Colwill Primary School says he was surprised by the significant increase in children’s learning in only four weeks.

“Anything that engages children, and is fun, is the key.”

The device had also improved pupils’ listening skills, as the unit needed users to follow instructions, and the attached stylus helped pupils with their hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Teachers were also impressed with the auto-levelling function that extended children’s ability whilst moderating challenges when children were struggling.

The trial came off the back of a survey by New Zealand toy company Planet Fun, which found that most parents give their child their touchscreen device such as a smartphone or tablet for entertainment rather than for educational purposes. However, the survey revealed that many parents would increase screentime if the usage was educational and they had child-friendly wi-fi.

Jeremy Kirk-Smith, CEO of toy company Planet Fun, says the school trial clearly illustrated the educational benefits of the LeapPad Ultra and gave parents peace of mind.

“Children are learning while having fun. The teachers talked about the kids who had trouble focusing in class now being really engaged and wanting to learn on the units, through to children with reading issues now benefiting from time spent learning their letters.”

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