Three teachers and one administrator from Bridgeport Exempted Village School District had a special opportunity to visit the Waterford Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah for a behind-the-scenes look at the research, design, innovation and creativity of Waterford and SuccessMaker, both award-winning interactive software programs for reading and math.
Waterford Institute is a nonprofit research organization with a mission to provide equity and excellence in education through the effective use of technology. Their approach is to start educating children while they are young - the time when education has the most impact.
Waterford uses rigorous scientific based research models to develop their product and to make it effective. Their software programs are standard-based and engaging with exciting graphics, music, and game-like components that delight children while constantly monitoring each student's mastery of skills then adapting instruction to meet each student's needs.
Bridgeport Exempted village School District believes in the importance of integrating technology in the curriculum to enhance subject-area learning. Lisa Clark, technology coordinator for the district believes that technology plays a key role in motivating students, encouraging project-based learning styles, and supporting the acquisition of skills such as "higher order thinking," analysis, and problem solving. She states that the SuccessMaker program is currently being utilized in grades K-8 for reading and math instruction with much success.
Students enter each grade at different levels, and this program is effective in meeting the needs of each individual student. Movement through the program is personalized by the learners responses whether they move forward, spend extended time on a skill, or move backward to master a skill.