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A North Canterbury educational resource provider has approached the Ministry of Education for assistance in providing a free login to its literacy development program to every school student in New Zealand during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Learning Staircase, based in Rangiora, designs and retails top quality educational resources and software for learners of all ages including adults and learners with specific learning disabilities. Their StepsWeb online program lets learners improve their literacy, vocabulary, comprehension and verbal reasoning via research-based tools, games and activities.
StepsWeb is already utilised by over 1000 schools nationwide but The Learning Staircase owner Ros Lugg says that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Zealand and schools closed they wanted to share it more broadly.
“We have contacted all the schools that have an existing account with us and offered to supply unlimited logins so the whole school population can access StepsWeb,” explains Ros. “We have also contacted the Ministry of Education proposing that we provide every student in the country with a StepsWeb login through a school account so that they can continue their learning from home during the COVID-19 lockdown.”
Whilst Ros is yet to hear back from the Ministry, over 250 schools throughout New Zealand with an existing account have already taken up the offer resulting in over 25,000 new student logins.
“We work very closely with schools and are aware of the struggles schools are going through at this time,” explains Ros. “There are limited options for teachers to be actively teaching children remotely and StepsWeb is ideal for this - particularly as it can support Te Reo and other languages. It can also be used on any device or computer.”
Ros says the program will automatically analyse each learner’s literacy level and put them on the right level of a structured literacy course. It also includes a number of specific features which are particularly relevant for dyslexic learners.
“The program even analyses each learner's errors and creates individualized reinforcement,” explains Ros. “In this way, parents will know that their children are learning the right skills and knowledge for both reading and spelling.
“Parents have the option of printing out worksheets, handwriting sheets, crosswords and a range of hands-on card games which are suitable for family use. Basically, StepsWeb provides everything you need to teach and practice core literacy skills - at any level.”
StepsWeb can also be purchased by parents and caregivers for home learning, if children aren’t connected via their school
For more information on the StepsWeb program visit stepsweb.com.