Grade 7 and 8 are key years. Although the students are so young, by winter of grade 8 they are selecting streamed course for high school that will in part determine their path in higher education and careers.
With one young man we are trying to get a true indication of his ability to learn independently.
He has had personal support from either an EA or special education teacher for many years. But we don't have a true sense off his abilities because he has become so used to working as part of his team. One pattern that is hard to ignore, because this student is such a nice person, is his willingness to cooperate. This translates into constantly seeking affirmation while completing a task.
So we have devised an experiment.
For one month we are using the Livescribe pen to explain four simple choices that he can work on in each class. The rest of class has a series of linked reading and writing assignments that they are doing. Towards the end of the month, if the Livescribe has worked on the repetitive tasks, we will transfer over some of the class assignments.
And the student in turn will transfer the ability to access instructions and review them from repetitive tasks to new tasks.
He really likes the Livescribe so far and his eyes lit up when he realized he could replay the instructions as often as he wanted.
This could be a very powerful example of technology influencing a student's success. I never thought I would say that a machine should replace a live teacher... But in this case a bit of distance is what we are striving for!