Empowering every learner to reach their full potential
Founded in the city of Vic in 1826, the Vedruna Schools of Catalonia consist of 36 centres on a private-public partnership basis in the Autonomous Region in Spain and currently have around 22,000 pupils from Kindergarten right through to Middle and High School.
In 2013, the schools initiated a large rollout of Google Chromebooks to complement their adoption of G-Suite for Education in an effort to enhance pupils’ digital competencies for better, future-proofed learning. Since that time over 8,000 Chromebooks have been introduced and continue to be used through the system.
Some of these devices belong to the individual pupil, who is then able to use at home. In other instances the Chromebook remains in the classroom. Pupils in first year of secondary school have 1:1 devices, while devices are shared among everyone else. Staff also have 1:1 access to a Chromebook.
Texthelp conducted an efficacy study between the September 2016 and June 2017 school year using its assistive technology solutions for reading and writing – Read&Write and Fluency Tutor.
Vedruna has always been committed to using modern technology for learning in the classroom; after using Chromebooks and G-Suite for Education for a number of years, the network of schools wanted to discover if
our literacy support software could improve student performance. The study also gave teachers a chance to further their professional development.
One specific English teacher – who was always on the lookout for how technology could positively impact students’ learning – was particularly excited about how the the supports from Texthelp could assist students improve native Spanish language/grammar levels, those learning English as a second language, as well as those with additional learning needs.
An emphasis was also on helping students to improve their word pronunciation when reading aloud, particularly among those with dyslexia and low level reading ability, as the school felt that they had never previously used technology to address this.
While a number of Vedruna schools were introduced to both Read&Write and Fluency Tutor, one K-5 class with 30 students in a testing environment was chosen to complete an initial study. The students were aged between 9 and 10 years old with Catalan and Spanish as mother tongues. The following is a timeline of activities that took place before, during, and after the study:
Agreement on the case study and planning of the deployment
Training was conducted for all teachers responsible for using Read&Write or Fluency Tutor with students. This included hands on training in addition to online training and on demand video tutorials.
December 2016 – May 2017
Pupils were trained in person on both Read&Write and Fluency Tutor by the previously trained teachers. All pupils were required to complete competency based activities using the software. Once complete, pupils were then expected to use on a normal/regular basis throughout the school year.
As the year progressed it was evident that more training was required for teachers. This was achieved through both in person and online training activities until an acceptable amount of confidence was acquired.
Data collected and reviewed.
- A number of positive outcomes were identified:
- When writing in English, students increased their word count by over 70%. Similarly, when writing in Spanish the word count increase was 50%.
- Overall writing scores (incorporating word count, words with errors, sentence count, and words per sentence) increased by 36% in English and 27% in Spanish.
- Words correctly read per minute – the primary indicator of reading fluency – increased by over 27% when reading in English.
- The number of mispronunciations of words while reading in English decreased by nearly half (45.9%).
- Overall reading prosody (comprised of reading expression, phrasing, smoothness and pace) increased by nearly 10%.