I’ve recently loaded The Learning Toolkit onto a sandbox server for a trial with Baldonnel. Abracadabra is a research based website for reading and writing in the early years. Abracadabra stands for A Balanced Reading Approach for CAnadians Designed to Achieve Best Results for All. It is part of a 2004-2005 and ongoing Concordia research project.
I showed it to teachers at Baldonnel and will be taking a class of Grade 1/2 through it on Monday in their lab. Initial tests showed that it worked well at Baldonnel in the computer lab and via their wireless. Abra is built on flash and meant to be run by any school computer (read as built to run with older computers). You need a set of headphones to be most effective.
Wednesday afternoon I showed several of the coaches and itinerants the program and they felt that there were many positive aspects of it. Two concerns that were shared was how it breaks out words into individual letter sounds rather than logical sound groups and available teacher resources. Brother would be broken into B – r – o – th – e – r rather than Bro-th-er as we would encourage students with our districts current practice. The available offline teacher resources had some worksheet activities but also many other deeper learning activities. The coaches and itinerants want us to reiterate that the district does not support worksheet/workbook activities for whole class instruction. These two concerns should be noted when Abra is submitted as a learning resource for local approval.
Looking forward to Monday at Baldonnel!