I wrote yesterday about more good news from the Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning, Kentucky’s totally on line digital learning high school. Barren Academy is for older students, but digital learning is showing it has a place throughout the entire public school program, even in Kindergarten.
Over the weekend, the Courier-Press reported that Kindergartners in the Henderson County school district are also using digital learning to learn key elements of reading with fun, interactive game-like programs.
Their Headsprout literacy program starts these very young students out right, helping them learn those very important letter sounds that are key to decoding printed text. Headsprout goes farther, however, introducing students to comprehension of what the words mean, as well.
It is still fairly early to determine if there has been much impact on state testing from this program, which was only piloted in one school in the first year. However, a district-run evaluation in the lower grades called Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, shows 80 percent of the district’s students are performing at or above grade level in 2011.
The newspaper article also indicates that the initial hesitancy of teachers in the early primary grades towards digital learning programs is now changing to very positive support. Teachers are embracing the fact that computers have strength in providing the repetition needed to help students gain reading mastery. Teachers also report increased student self-confidence.