Trying something new!

yflxxunc54nr8agnhyl6yzl72ejkfbmt4t8yenimkbxeejxnn4zjnz2ss5ku7cxt-300x176We are trying a new program with our 4th-9th grade students called BrainWare Safari. It is computer software that uses video game style activities to help students with attention, memory, and other struggles that many of our Pathway students deal with. I have witnessed this program at work and tried it myself, and I must say, some of the games are difficult! An article in eSchool News gives more information:

May 16th, 2012

Press Release: BrainWare Safari Closes Cognitive Gaps for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities

Read more by eSchool News

BrainWare Safari Closes Cognitive Gaps for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities

Study Shows Improvement in Executive Functions, Attention and Working Memory

CHICAGO, IL (May 15, 2012) – Groundbreaking research has demonstrated that a comprehensive, integrated cognitive skills training program can raise the cognitive functioning of students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) to parity with normally developing students. The results were presented in May at the Learning and the Brain Conference in Arlington, VA and in a Neuroscience in Education Webinar.

Students in the study who used BrainWare Safari for 12 weeks improved their cognitive functioning by 2.8 years compared to 2 months for a control group. Their overall cognitive proficiency increased from 64% to 89%, where 90% is the expected proficiency for a normally developing student. The control group improved just 1 point in cognitive proficiency, from 63% to 64%.

SLD is a disorder in one or more basic psychological processes. While students with SLD often have deficits in cognitive processes, such as executive functions, verbal and visual working memory, and processing speed, support fojjr students with SLD has typically focused on accommodating rather than remediating their deficits. This new research shows, for the first time, the effective remediation of key underlying psychological processes for students with SLD.

“Previous research has suggested that students with SLD must develop their underlying cognitive skills in order to benefit from interventions,” said Dr. Sarah Avtzon, the study’s leader and an Assistant Professor and Director of Early Childhood Development at Daemen College. “These results show not only that we can help students develop these critical skills but the cognitive improvements translate into dramatic gains in reading and math performance.”

The SLD students in the study who used BrainWare Safari improved their reading ability by 0.8 grade equivalent (GE) in 12 weeks, compared to 0.1 GE for the control group. Math performance improved by a full grade equivalent for the study group, compared to 0.2 GE for the control group.

Concludes Dr. Avtzon, “By targeting the underlying processing skills most directly linked with academic performance, we can close the achievement gap between students with SLD and typically developing peers.”

About BrainWare Safari

Chicago-based Learning Enhancement Corporation is the developer of award-winning BrainWare Safari, software that uses motivating video-game technology to develop 41 cognitive skills comprehensively and in an integrated manner. For further information, visit


Betsy Hill


Sounds promising, doesn’t it? We are hopeful that this program will be successful in supporting all the other amazing types of learning that happens at Pathway. Let me give you a little glimpse into the BrainWare experience: A student will log into BrainWare and they become a jungle animal character. This character begins as a baby, but grows to be a child, then teenager, and adult animal as the student progresses in the game’s levels. The opening activity screen looks something like this:


The activities that are available for the students to choose have levels within them that increase in difficulty. Some of the activities incorporate familiar tasks like tic-tac-toe, while others, like one called Whispering Waterfall, challenge students with multi-step directions.


In the activity, students will read the directions to understand their current level. The first level of this game (Whispering Waterfall) asks the player to listen to three letters be read aloud (the picture shown is level 4, which incorporates both letters and numbers). Next, the player will tap the computer mouse to the beat heard in headphones five times. Then, the player will type in the three letters he initially heard. This game obviously supports memory skills and much more!
If you are a parent of a Pathway student in grades 4-9, ask about BrainWare! Your student may even want to play at home! As tempting as it may be to play some of the games, please don’t as it will affect your child’s records. We’re looking forward to seeing results!
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