Michigan School Students Play “Head Games” – by Betsy Hill

A front-page article appeared today in the Huron Daily Tribune that recounts a story from the Harbor Beach School District in the thumb of Michigan.  It all started with a pilot of BrainWare Safari, the cognitive development software program,  two years ago.  This year every student in the district used the program, from third grade through seniors in high school.

In the pilot in 2008, every student who used the program improved his or her cognitive ability, with an average improvement of 3 to 4 years after using the program for just 12 weeks.  Students have experienced dramatic improvements in attention skills, memory, pattern recognition, processing multi-step directions and other mental processes that enable them to learn more effectively. 

How does that translate into academics?  Teachers started to see students paying better attention in class, being more engaged in their work and even behaving better.  And learning and test results started to improve as well.  One high school student saw a jump of 7 points on her ACT score and became class valedictorian.

The story is a textbook case of how a school district can evaluate and implement new technology.  They put the program through its paces, were clear about the expected outcomes and measured them.  And, of course, the first step was that they were willing to try something new.  As Harbor Beach Superintendent Ron Kraft expresses it, “We’re not afraid to step out on a limb.” 

The limb turned out to be a strong one — and other schools are following Harbor Beach’s lead with great results.  Share your BrainWare Safari story with us!

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