The RM Group
Published 25 September 2001

SuccessMaker software - Special Educational Needs and much, much more!

SuccessMaker

Chiltern Gate School has an extremely diverse range of pupils in the first and middle school range (five to twelve years of age). We hear from S Gordon - Director of Pastoral Care, Chris Kirk - Director of Curriculum Studies

"Our school was chosen by BECTA (formerly NCET) as the only special school to trial ILS. We were asked to use SuccessMaker and the results have by far exceeded our expectations."

"We have ten SuccessMaker workstations, nine of which are in classrooms. These nine classroom computers are 'owned' by the teachers, classroom assistants and children. We were first uncertain about this arrangement and felt that they should all be in one room but we have since found that this is the best arrangement for us."

"The model of one computer in each classroom has had an extraordinary effect on the trial as a whole by accelerating the acquisition of expertise in information technology for both child and teacher alike. This in turn has played a major part in the management and use of SuccessMaker. It was sold to us as a package that needed the minimum of teacher intervention, the computer does this or that and all you do is keep an eye on the reports to make sure that things do not go terribly wrong. As we have progressed with our understanding of ILS and SuccessMaker, we have become bolder with the way we have been able to 'tweak' the system."

A Special Needs School

Because our teachers 'own the system', they are keen to become actively involved. All teachers with ILS in their class are now CAI (computer aided instruction) managers which means that they can get right in and control the menu of everyday computer instruction, to tie in with their class work and reset or turn off strands so that the children can work on areas of difficulty and reinforce work in the classroom before being presented with it on computer. If no areas of difficulty are perceived in a child's progress they are left with the Management System guiding their passage through the courses.

"The individualised programmes ensure a differentiated learning experience. They are able to gain very useful information from the detailed reports and can see instantly if a child has a problems. This information assists in the formulation of the child's programme of study both on and off the ILS courses.

The worksheets are very useful but they could do with being a little more imaginative. Most teachers use them at least once a week, often for homework, as they are simple to run off. They are fully differentiated and the children love them.

This year has been both exciting and an educational experience. The RM Education team have been highly supportive of our efforts and have got us out of trouble when we have made a mistake. Nothing has been too much trouble for them. On one occasion a computer was 'sabotaged' and after two hours of hotline support we asked Peter Reimann what time he finished work? "Oh about five o'clock" was the answer. It was in fact six o'clock on a Friday evening yet he was still cheerfully helping us out!

It is clear to us at Chiltern Gate that the future success of ILS systems are in the partnership of computer and teacher in the classroom. Thanks RM Education from the staff and children at Chiltern Gate school."

"When I first knew that I was going to use ILS in my classroom I was filled with trepidation. I was a self-confessed computer-phobic and had so far in my teaching career managed to leave studies to the experts. Now there was no escape! Within a few months of using SuccessMaker and seeing its benefits to the children I began to think very differently and would now consider myself to be reasonably computer literate. I have progressed to the heady heights of CAI manager and am now finding the confidence to use other programs and systems in the classroom. SuccessMaker has made a success of me as well as the children".

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