Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Students in Alternative Program Benefit from Learning Library

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Students in Alternative Program Benefit from Learning Library

Article excerpt

One thing that is lacking in the information age, it has been said, is human interaction. Computers can't provide the needed social stimulation that interacting with other humans can. A related question that doesn't seem to be asked quite as much is "Can computers provide self-esteem?" Can interacting with a computer possibly give a self-confidence, boost to those who need it?

Of course, there are no obvious answers to these questions, but there is a program being used by the students at University Creek Alternative Program in Blaine, Minn. that may provide some insight into this intriguing question.

"The kids in alternative programs don't need negativity," says Kay Despard, project administrator at University Creek. "They don't need another authority figure or teacher telling them what to do."

What they need, according to Despard, is a program that gives suggestions rather than directions; that shows the way and leaves it up to the student to act on that advice instead of pushing and prodding.

* Material Covers the Basics

Because of these unique needs, Despard chose Liafail's Lifetime Library (LLL), a CD-ROM-based basic skills program produced by Liafail, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minn. The complete 87 CD-ROM set contains more than 5,400 instructional screens, 5,000 interactive questions, 4,000 combined minutes of audio and video, 3,600 test questions and 3,000 photo illustrations.

The entire library consists of three basic courses that use Kentucky Educational Television's award-winning programs as a basis for instructional content. Math Basics provides math instruction up to eighth grade, utilizing visual presentations of math concepts and extensive simulations that follow the NCTM standards. Page teaches intermediate level reading skills by following the lives of young adults as they encounter situations requiring reading skills. Beyond Words teaches high school level math, reading and writing skills. Each course has a placement test and each lesson has both a pre- and post-test to measure students' competency and mastery levels.

"The program is very user-friendly; after a couple of class sessions, students can easily and confidently instruct other students how to use it, which in itself is a confidence-builder," says Despard. The program gives students instant results from tests and quizzes, letting them immediately know their mastery level of study material. …

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