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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Product Review: Learning Link Technologies

Back-to-school time is usually a happy time, for parents anyway :) But if your child struggles in school, or is failing to make progress, back-to-school can mean back-to-the-nightmare. As a teacher, I see this more than I would like. 

Usually by the end of the first three weeks of school, I can identify who out of my ~150 students struggles in school. Give me another few weeks and I might be able to more closely identify their issues. For some, it remains a mystery all year long. I can only imagine the misery these students must feel, knowing everyday they come to school only to continue to struggle, and in some cases, fail. These are students that I can see are intelligent and have unique gifts, but something doesn't click for them in school.

It's these students that I want to help the most and, sadly, have the least time for. In our rush and bustle of a school day (50 minute periods), I generally have two minutes or less to devote to each student each day. That's just not a lot of time to make significant changes.

Luckily, it is at this point that Learning Link Technologies steps in. Lisa Harp, an educator, learning disability specialist, and educational therapist for over twenty years, developed this program to help students with learning differences.This system is completely different from any tutoring, intensive drills, or other programs that focus on the content the child is learning. With Learning Link's system, your child will be focused on brain retraining through various physical exercises that link the brain to the senses.

I've had the opportunity to review their online course and am very encouraged by what I see there. There are many simple exercises using common objects that take a small amount of time each day. Besides rewiring the brain, these exercises are short and not too difficult, allowing your struggling learner to try them without getting frustrated or giving up.

There is a lot more of the course I want to explore for my own children and myself as an educator, but, for now, let me give you a brief overview of what you can expect from Learning Link.

When you sign up, the first resource you'll be given a free download of an excellent resource for parents and teachers alike. As I looked through the file, I was amazed at the number of skills students can be taught to help them to correct some of their issues. From math struggles to learning to read fluently, there were many tips that I, a teacher for 9 years, had never heard of before. Some of them I was able to implement into my classroom right away.

The Learning Link site also has two other free resources for dyscalculia testing and dyslexia testing.The site also has a lot of information on learning differences of various kinds.

Believe it or not, I haven't even gotten to the online course yet! The online course opens up for you a moodle account. Moodle is quick becoming a standard in education for online learning, so you know that the resources will be easy to access. There is a forum where you can interact with other parents of struggling learners as well as the staff at Learning Link.

There are many resources to use, but everything is clearly labeled so you know where to begin. You and your child will work through various "phases" where you focus on different brain retraining activities. There are also helpful videos and detailed pictures to help you along the way. 

The resources are fun and colorful. I had my sons try some of the exercises and they enjoyed the challenge they provided and didn't seem to realize they might be doing something that related to school. This is something you can put in the context of a game we're playing with our brains and make it into something your child looks forward to, rather than more homework/schoolwork that they fear they will fail.

The staff at Learning Link is helpful and friendly and quick to answer questions. I was impressed with the depth of the course as well as the sound, research-driven approach they take to creating successful learners.

As an educator, there is nothing more heartbreaking than to see a student struggle and not be able to help them. Sadly, many of these children will continue to fail year after year, until they've been given the message, "I'm dumb; I'm not good at math; I'm not smart." so often that they believe it. Their life can continue to be one of struggle, sometimes for decades after school is over. The good news is that this doesn't have to be the future for your child.

If your child has been struggling in school, don't give up. Check out the Learning Link site to learn more about the issues your child may be having, and take steps to correct their learning issues and turn a struggling learner into a successful one.

To learn more about Learning Link, visit their site, or join their facebook page and follow them on twitter

Now you have a chance to win access to Learning Link's awesome online program by visiting my giveaway page!

In order to review this product, I was given access to their online course. I have not received any other compensation and the statements in this article are my honest opinion.
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