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About KTSS Programs

Emily: Here I explain why tool programs work for students. This is a "behind-the-scenes" look at the science behind these EPSS programs.

KidTools and KidSkills are new kinds of software to help students take control of their learning, behavior, and problem solving to improve success in school. The tools are research-based and have undergone extensive testing with actual students in classroom settings.

These software programs include a library of tools provided as easy-to-use templates for children to personalize and use independently in school and other settings.

There are two levels of tools in each of these programs. eKidTools and eKidSkills are made for elementary students with some reading abilities, ages 7-10. Within eKidTools, there is a set of PictureTools made for preschool/primary children that do not require reading abilities. iKidTools and iKidSkills are made for intermediate/middle school students with reading abilities, ages 11-14. Because these tools are all related, children can move up and down the levels to use the tools that best fit their skills and needs.

KidTools are organized into groups according to their strategies for encouraging behavior change. The elementary version uses 6 categories while the intermediate version uses 4 categories, but the tools are similar across the two programs. They include tools for earning points for appropriate behaviors, making behavior contracts, developing behavior plans, and self-monitoring.

KidSkills are organized into groups according to the part of the learning process that they support. The elementary version uses 4 categories while the intermediate version uses 6 categories, but the tools are similar across the two programs. They include tools for getting organized, doing homework, learning new information, preparing for tests, and working on individual and group projects.

Why the Tools Work!

The EPSS Tools support children in using learning strategies and self-control skills for improving academic and behavioral outcomes. The content of the tools in these two areas are integrated with the EPSS support methods and software. When students combine skills from these two areas, they are more likely to be successful than when they use skills in just one area.

Computer-based Instruction Students with mild disabilities learn using well-designed software and technology-supported tools. Most students enjoy learning with computers and maximize attention when working on computers. CBI materials are easily personalized to meet individual needs and provide support for students. Complex strategies can be learned through computer-based instructional formats, especially when combined with direct instruction and teacher support in strategy use.

Learning Strategies give children methods to learn and remember more successfully. The tools help students apply these methods to learning new information and showing that they have learned the information when taking tests and writing about topics. Project strategy tools can guide the student through working on projects with others over a longer period of time.

Self-Control Skills are made up of "thinking" and "doing" steps. The tools help children analyze problems, think about choices, make plans to change or control a behavior, and monitor how well the plan works for them. Organizational tools help children get organized and carry out their plans. Contracts help children make and carry out commitments.

Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) have four basic components: 1) easily accessible information, 2) user guidance, 3) information/skills tutorials, and 4) tools to carry out the task. EPSS Tools integrate these components into a support system for your children and students. You help the child determine which tools to use, what content to type into the tools, when to monitor success, and what the next step will be.

EPSS Tools integrate these methods and materials into a support system for your children and students. You help the child determine which tools to use, what content to type into the tools, when to monitor success, and what the next step will be.

KidTools and KidSkills are available in the right form, the right time, and the right place. KidTools and KidSkills support your students when they are ready. All you need to do is have the child open up the software on the computer and select a good tool for the situation.

A Changing Paradigm

The student learns to be in control! The tools involve the student in planning and being responsible for learning and personal change. As students go through the planning process by deciding what to put into each tool and by entering their content into the tool templates, they are engaged and mentally rehearsing their plan and committing to following their plan. Their active creation of each tool is an important component of this process to provide mental rehearsal again and again. The tools combine two important research-based approaches--the cognitive element of what students should say to themselves or "think", as in self-talk, and the behavioral element of specific steps they will carry out and monitor. Teachers have found these tools helpful for all students, particularly useful in inclusive classrooms.

Support for Instruction

In today's classrooms with increased diversity, increased accountability and the corresponding pressure for academic success, use of the tools provides teachers ways to support a wide range of students in cognitive-behavioral change and learning strategies. The tools help teachers combine direct instruction in strategies, problem solving, and change procedures with the structure to help students follow through, evaluate success, and make new commitments. The tools provide concrete methods for teachers, school counselors, study aides, and parents for supporting and mentoring students.

Last modified:  Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:44 AM