The following is a guest post from Courtney, a Wisconsin educator who has worked with The Functional Skills System and believes in its value in the classroom.

I am so impressed with the Conover Company’s Functional Skills System. I had the opportunity to work with a young adolescent with his math skills and greeting others for a short while prior to his family’s move. When I started to work with him, he had a base understanding of identifying coins and knowing their worth by rote memory. However, through the Functional Skills System, his skills were sharpened and expanded. After only 3-4 times working with this young man, he was able to move from his prior knowledge of identifying coins to an instructional level in his understanding of money equivalency. I am confident that his skills would have moved to an independent level, given more time with the material. This skill is so important in daily life skills with store and bank transactions as well as possible employments skills.

Education or Entertainment?

Not only did this young man gain skills, but he was motivated. The exposure to technology motivated him. Through working on the iPad, he could interact by selecting different options and steps for his learning. Therefore, through the format of the technology, being on the iPad, he was learning and utilizing age appropriate technology that his peers use for entertainment, but he used as a tool for learning.

The format of the Functional Skills System not only uses technology, but other educational best practices, such as natural materials (example coins and dollars), the venue of the iPad itself, and the setting in which some of the skills are taught.

Putting Functional Skills into Practice

Another skill that this young man learned and applied in the natural setting was learning how to greet someone. Prior to learning this skill, this young man did not make eye contact consistently or even direct his head towards someone who was speaking to him. It was common that he would be looking around the room as someone would attempt to hold a conversation with him. However, after viewing the steps in how an individual greets another, including eye contact and practicing this skill after viewing the steps, he would direct his attention towards the individual speaking to him. There were times where he displayed eye contact independently and other times where he responded to a simple prompt such as, “Do you remember what you do with you eyes when talking to someone?” In such cases, the videos provided a common reference point to help aid in the application of the skill. Using the natural resources and setting helps individuals transfer skills more smoothly when the skill is applied.

-Courtney Harvancik, Wisconsin Teacher