Development Tutor addresses the cognitive skills that are foundational to reading, spelling, Mathematics and learning as such. Skills include 1.) focused and sustained attention, 2.) visual and auditory processing, 3.) visual, auditory, iconic, sequential, short-term and working memory, and 4.) logical thinking. Development Tutor is available in English only, and can be done by any child who has a very basic understanding of English.
The sessions are between 15 and 25 minutes long, closer to 15 minutes for a beginner, moving closer to 25 minutes once the learner has started to make progress. As improving sustained attention is a goal, a session should preferably not be interrupted. We recommend an absolute minimum of three, and a maximum of seven sessions per week (one per day). Naturally, doing one lesson per day will lead to much faster progress than doing one every second day.
There are four alternating sessions. The first session starts at St. Cooks River Falls, where the learner has to complete three exercises: Auditory Grid, Sequence and Shapes Pattern. To play, the learner should simply click on the numbers 1, 2 and then 3. During the second session the learner pays a visit to Mermaid Isles, where they are challenged by Flash, Blocks Pattern and Auditory Arrows. During the next session they explore Grotty Mountain Inn, doing Auditory Grid, Logical Thinking and Shapes Pattern, followed by the fourth session at Barrels Shipwreck where Flash, Grid Pattern and Auditory Arrows await.
Based on their efforts the learner will receive Educoins, which they can use to buy creatures. As the learner continues from one session to the next, Treasure Island will also start revealing its treasures: the map will become colorful whereafter items will start appearing.
The input required by the parent or tutor is minimal. The parent or tutor should make sure that the learner is working at a clean space so that they cannot make notes or use objects to remember an answer. Do not help the learner get to an answer as this might make them progress to a higher level, which they will eventually not be able to cope with. Also, don’t teach the learner any methods (mnemonics) to aid their memory, as using mnemonics does not build brain ‘muscle’.
The parent or tutor should also make sure the learner can hear the commands properly, especially when doing Auditory Grid and Auditory Arrows. Use earphones when needed. Sound is also important so that the learner can hear the blobs recognizing their efforts, and motivating them to keep on trying.
The Progress Report tracks the learner’s progress, from the intro-level to an advanced level. Depending on the specific exercise and skills level of the learner their initial progress might be fast, and slow down after a while, or their initial progress might be slow, and only pick up speed later. Few, if any, learners will ever get to the highest level for all the exercises.
A parent should refrain from putting too much emphasis on the Progress Report. After all, the ultimate intention of the program is to impact the learner’s schoolwork, not for them to be the best Edublox Online Tutor player!
Because Development Tutor requires minimal input and supervision the program is ideal to be used in computer labs at schools.