Summer camp with FrontRead

DrengeAkademiet – a summer camp for students, exclusively boys, who are struggling in class – has been able to show some good results in the five years the project has existed. They attribute a part of their results to their continued search for the newest and most innovative tools for learning. Things that are able to keep the boys focused.

As part of their program, DrengeAkademiet has now begun using FrontRead. According to Jakob Petersen, learning consultant at the Academy, it has done great things and the boys have really accepted the program and taken it in.

”We have 100 boys in the camp, and not very many of them knew about FrontRead beforehand. So we introduced it as a new method that allowed them to train reading fluency in a different way while at the same time using some of the techniques we have already been working with.”

DrengeAkademiet has had success with pulling their students’ grades up – sometimes by several years worth of learning. But it helps them when the children are prepared to learn.

“What motivated the boys a lot about FrontRead was this element of competing with yourself. It is a good gamification of fundamental skills that they can transfer into their regular classes afterwards,” Jakob said. “I didn’t know FrontRead before I was introduced to it. But I was sold as soon as I tried it. It is nothing like the tools available to us right now, and we teachers love new adaptive things. It’s even better when the students can become engaged by putting up new goals for themselves, and that is something they do here by adjusting the reading speed or their reaction time up or down.”

The good flow

Jakob is not surprised that FrontRead helps motivate the boys in the age group he works with. At the same time, he hasn’t had the experience that the boys felt bored during class, and nearly all the boys achieved an increase in reading speed.

”The boys really wanted to show how well they do and how sharp they are. Last year we were working on another exercise on a different site, that just did not have the same flow. In FrontRead the students work intensively with several different things on the same platform. At the same time, they train quite a bit without noticing it. When they constantly receive a response and want to show how skilled they are it helps keep them motivated and going.”

The boys at the academy were given the choice of working with FrontRead, or working with different methods and tools. Even though not everyone chose to, the majority still decided to work with FrontRead. “Around 60% of the students thought it was a blast, and that is considered quite a success. When we gave the students free rein to chose what they wanted to work with, FrontRead was the choice many of them decided upon. It also helps the teacher a lot, as the program requires very little management and input from them.”

Foto: Løkkefondens DrengeAkademi
The students at DrengeAkademiet are happy for the quick feedback they recieve from FrontRead.

According to Jakob there is no doubt that FrontRead frees up time for the educator, and that would only be more visible during a typical study course.

“Its not what I’d call free motivating education, but it comes close. Of course everything relies on how the educator works with his students on the program. But it is really good, and it works really well. You are not necessarily tied to a table and a chair. In principle you can use FrontRead laying down, so it opens up the possibility of working with the app in a different way than you might be used to.”

DrengeAkademiet is evaluated by researchers from the Danish School of Education at Aarhus University, and have been the topic of several reports published. In 2016 the students at the academy raised their grades with what in average would be 1.40 student years in spelling, 3.38 student years in reading and 3 years in mathematical skills.