In Part I of this two-part series, I gave you an idea of the history and the evolution of our Functional Skills System software program. While our mobile apps have come a long way since the early days of development, one thing has remained constant; we never stop focussing on the end result. Whether it’s the Apple II computer of the 1980’s or the iPad of today, when students have technology at their fingertips they are more motivated to learn, and motivation yields results every time.
Many research studies have been conducted since our original Survival Words program was released over 25 years ago for the Apple II, and studies have been done on the effects of computer-based instruction for individuals who have signiﬁcant learning difﬁculties. As a result, many theories have been presented about the effects of computer-based instruction for teaching functional life, social, literacy, work, and math skills.
The Secret to Successful Learning
When you boil it down, all of that research points to one single element as the most important factor; motivation. Learners with special needs are no different than any other learners in this regard. The desire to learn new skills is fueled by motivation, and this motivation makes learners with special needs appear no different from anyone else in our society. Correctly designed computer software provides individuals with an opportunity to learn just like everyone else.
I will never forget the beginning of the software revolution in education. In those days, classrooms seldom had computers for special needs students so it was necessary to bring a computer to the school and set it up in order to do a demonstration. When it came time for me to leave and carry the equipment back out, there was never a shortage of volunteers to assist me. It did not take long to realize that these students wanted to be seen in the hallways carrying that Apple II computer.
The Mobile Tech Revolution
This early computer revolution has evolved into the mobile technology revolution of today. Motivation to learn is dramatically enhanced when these skills are reinforced on the iPod and iPad. Learners with special needs want to be seen carrying an iPod or better yet, an iPad, because they have a desire to be like everyone else. The iPod and iPad are “cool” tools for learning, and the best thing about them is that they are small, portable and ﬁt easily in your pocket or backpack.
Over the past year, The Conover Company has launched a movement which has taken the industry by storm. We have taken all 42 of our Functional Skills System software programs and created applications for each program for the iPod and iPad. All of our apps are available for download from the iTunes App Store.
Getting Parents Involved
Perhaps one of the most exciting advantages of our mobile technology applications is that parents can now be involved in their childʼs education process. Our apps are currently selling for 99¢ each – less than a cup of coffee. These very affordable applications are a great way to review at home whatʼs being taught at school, because parents can now access the same technology that we make available in the schools. The apps are easy to use with our unique user interface, provide direct access to any of the videos in the application and can be used over and over again.
While the apps do not have all of the functionality of our Functional Skills System software, they do include all the videos from their software counterparts – approximately 80 video clips in each app. With the use of these applications, there is no longer a disconnect between what is being taught in school and what is being reinforced at home. The tools available to parents today will enable parents to help their sons or daughters learn these key life, social, literacy, math and work skills essential to function more independently in their homes, workplaces, schools and communities.
See for yourself how The Conover Companyʼs mobile applications can make learning new skills fun while making a dramatic difference in the lives of your children.