Academy of Literacy converts the memory challenged into logic based learners.
Teaches the ALPHabetic Principle in a meaningful & predictable format.

Why is it not in schools?

Change comes slowly in education. The A.W.A.R.E. program has succeeded in making up to 90% of written English logical and predictable. Educators who are used to basic phonics rules and memory-based learning regard that fact as a fairy tale. They find it difficult to accept that we have succeeded where Benjamin Franklin failed. However, teachers and parents whose students have benefited from the A.W.A.R.E. program are clamouring for it to be brought into schools.

What research supports it?

Seven years of in-house research consists of testing students with standard literacy tests (Durrell and WRAT) and comparing their incoming test scores with later or graduating test results. (see statistics provided) The A.W.A.R.E. method shows a 99% success rate with students, many of whom have been written off by the standard education system as "unteachable".

The A.W.A.R.E. Academy of Learning is actively seeking research partners. One important area of research would be to undertake testing by means of functional MRI scans. The hypothesis to be examined is that the complexity of the A.W.A.R.E. process produces a shift in the locus of brain activity from long-term memory to working memory and that shift, accounts for the effectiveness of the program.

Pilot testing of the prototype of "Phonogics" in the local schools yielded a high percentage of successes with students and showed the effectiveness of the approach in holding students' interest and attention.

Three major branches of research confirm the soundness of the fundamental principles that undergird the A.W.A.R.E. Program:

  • current brain research that affirms the crucial factor of meaningful contexts, in making abstract learning concrete
  • the work of Dr. Paula Tallal at Rutgers University on the importance of phonologic awareness
  • and work conducted at Acadia University on "Elaborative Interrogation as an Effective Learning Strategy".

In the development of ALPHabiTunes, The National Research Council (N.R.C.) took the unprecedented step to co-fund the initial stage of the PhonKnowLedgy program, AlphabiTunes, into a computer based teaching program on the proviso that we procured an independent controlled study. The results of the controlled studies required by the N.R.C. and carried out by Dr. Cameron at the University of Victoria.

Why does it need to be a Web Application?

To meet the needs of all learners, the A.W.A.R.E. process has been evolved and honed in the "A.W.A.R.E." Learning Center. To keep the process exactly as designed and prevent shortcuts, it needs to move directly from the computer to the student. The Web App format assures that this highly effective, proven system will become more widely available to all learners. The interactive format of the A.W.A.R.E. Web App guarantees multi-sensory involvement on the part of students. Research affirms that people retain only 20% of what they see, 30% of what they hear, and 50% of what they see and hear, but will retain as much as 80% of what they see, hear, and do simultaneously.

Why would I need it if I have a spell-checker?

A spell checker cannot distinguish between sound-alike words - there, their and they're, knew and new, hour and our. Unable to monitor the message that is intended to be conveyed, a spell checker can cause considerable embarrassment. "I have been responsible for ruining an entire corporation" was passed as "correct" within a resume! From the standpoint of learning, a spell checker becomes a crutch that may prevent the learner from developing independence in spelling, decoding and pronouncing English words.

How does it differ from other literacy software?

We span the chasm between grown-ups and kids based on the personal qualities of the program's developer and history of the company.

The Web App satisfies the needs of both children and their adult helpers. For adults, the A.W.A.R.E. program becomes a personal "Techi Tutor" that teaches students fundamental concepts of decoding and encoding written English with minimal adult help. For students, software is designed to draw young learners irresistibly to learning and it effectively deals with the 7 "kisses of death" that Carolyn Miller identified at the 1998 Game Developers Conference.

#1 Death kiss -Kids love anything sweet-

  • Fact: Kids have a rebellious tinge and love off-the wall humour, the unexpected and absurd. A.W.A.R.E characters and stories include quirks and foibles; the plots involve the students and are filled with obstacles, challenges and intriguing activities.

#2 Death kiss -Give 'Em what's good for them-

  • Fact: that's too medicinal. The Techi-Tutor presents the concepts to be learned from the children's perspective. It draws on their imagination, and success is achieved by children referring to their own behaviour and knowledge base. Rewards capitalize on the children's personal involvement and creativity.

#3 Death kiss -You got to amuse them-

  • Fact: Children are hungry for content. The A.W.A.R.E Web App delivers solid information and ties it to the real world. It imbues abstract letters with very human characteristics and meaningful behaviours.

Death Kiss #4 -Always play it safe-

  • Fact: Children like to explore and while the program sends the learners on a quest, Techi Tutor offers them choices and options to enter or leave throughout the program.

Death Kiss #5 -Kids are created equal-

  • Fact: There is a difference between toddlers and teens but they all love stories. While the A.W.A.R.E. stories that carry the educational messages are designed with young children in mind, their humour and action appeal to more mature learners as well.

Death Kiss #6 -Explain everything-

  • Fact: Kids are very intuitive and don't want to be talked down to. Techi Tutor presents the bulk of the complex learning material and navigational tools through animation, plot and rhymes. Learners are drawn into the story and begin to relate to the computer and take cues from the characters on screen.

Death Kiss #7 -Be sure your characters are wholesome-

  • Fact: Wholesome all too often equals dull. The Web App characters are multi-dimensional and take on different personalities to reflect their sounds, functions and failings.
The A.W.A.R.E. software is unique in offering a completely new process of literacy teaching in a format designed to draw upon the learners' way of processing information. It is educationally sound, the information is consistent, and the delivery will appeal not only to the young learners but to adults who will recognize the nursery rhymes and songs of their childhood that form an integral part of the presentation.

How can such a complex system be more effective than simple memory?

Brain research shows that memorized information has a low rate of transfer or application. The strength of the A.W.A.R.E. program is based on the fact that the learning is active and its very complexity requires a shift into working memory. Material that has been actively processed in working memory is readily available and easily transferred or applied in new situations.