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  • Writer's pictureJohn Roberts

A-Maze-ing Progress (using an App and Show Me Methodologies)

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Despite a lack of trumpet-blowing on progress with Show Me, we have been taking great strides in our Specialist School Workgroups over the past year. This, despite the many challenges in education during the pandemic. A period that has highlighted the need for greater coordination in use of technology between schools and home. I will provide separate updates on our progress, particularly as we are now ramping up our activities for the new school year.

However, I wanted to kick off this new term with a success story that to many would seem trivial, but to us in the Show Me community ‘shows me’ (and us) that we’re on the right track. It’s a small win, but read to the end and you’ll start to understand the importance.

About a year ago I downloaded the free Android app “Animal Maze” from Busy Things to my son’s Kindle Fire. Using the “Show Me App General Approach” developed by the Workgroup over the last school year and adapting it for home use (far less structured!) by limiting internet access, we have been persevering with our son, Joseph, to try to get him to play with the app. We did this by showing it to him, showing how to do it and then letting him do it himself. For some time, he has not been able to do it and, much more importantly, was not motivated to play with it when other options were available.

However, this summer we were delighted to discover him playing it and actually solving some of the mazes. Check out the video for examples, which included some hand-over-hand assistance but led to him solving more and more by himself. He particularly liked completing each maze for the ‘reward’ of music and the animated character that came with each success.

I suspect many of you reading this will not be overly impressed by his achievement. For a 16 year old boy to achieve something that was created for pre-school children is not something to shout about is it?

Well… firstly, any progress in teaching new skills to Joseph is a big deal and takes overcoming many challenges, such as:

  • Finding motivating ways to encourage him to pay attention

  • Finding appropriate level activities from which to learn

  • Creating the right environment for him to focus on the task in hand.

All of these, and many others, are major challenges for all pupils in specialist education settings.

Secondly, it is personally rewarding that the methodologies we have been developing to overcome those challenges within the Show Me programme have actually worked.

However, the reason this is so significant comes back to the origins of Show Me and our understanding from collaboration with global leaders in neuro-science and education.

In laymen’s terms, when anyone learns a new task, they build new neural paths in their brains. And increasing neural paths, increases our capacity to learn and achieve new things. So, by learning how to complete a maze, which is actually a highly sophisticated task of calculation and planning, Joseph has opened the door to completing and learning new things.

If you know Joseph or other kids like him in SEND education, you’ll understand how cool this is.

A-Maze-ing in fact!

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