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Over the past three years, Dr. Lynne Anderson-Inman and her University of Oregon colleagues have been exploring ways that computer-based study strategies can improve academic outcomes for middle- and high-school students with learning disabilities.

The adolescents participating in Project SUCCESS (Students Using Cognitively-Based Computer Enhanced Study Strategies) came to the project with a long history of school failure fueled by reading, writing, and organizational difficulties as well as a poor self-image and a reluctance to assume responsibility for their schoolwork.

Project SUCCESS participants were given a Macintosh PowerBook 145 and taught a variety of computer-based study strategies. Students use these strategies -- many of which employ Inspiration -- when completing class assignments, doing homework, and studying for tests.

For example, at one Project SUCCESS site, participating high school students meet with English and global studies teacher Esther Reed for one study period each day. During this time, Esther guides students as they work together to devise new ways to use the computer tools to solve their academic problems. They use the computer to collaborate on writing projects, study together for tests, and answer questions about reading assignments. "The feeling of electricity in the room is amazing," reports Esther who also said that she has watched Project SUCCESS students' grades, self-image, and interest in the learning process soar.

black and white photo of students working on Laptops (31762 bytes)High school students participating in the University of Oregon-sponsored Project SUCCESS use a variety of computer-based study strategies to overcome academic problems.

When high school junior Marcie first joined Project SUCCESS, she had trouble with handwriting, spelling, and organizing information in written work. When she wrote a first draft, she was often unable to read her own writing. She also frequently misplaced her papers and had to start assignments over again. These problems were reflected in her poor grades.

But Marcie has turned her school career around with the help of Project SUCCESS. For a research paper she wrote last year on the criminal life of Jeffrey Dahmer, Marcie created an electronic outline using Inspiration that organized the information she researched around four key concepts: why people commit crimes, the influences of background and childhood on criminal behavior, Dahmer's adult life, and the crimes he committed.

The electronic outline allowed her to insert information whenever and whereever she found it, making it easy to organize and synthesize for writing. Marcie then wrote several drafts of the paper with word-processing software and used a spell check program throughout the process.

The result was a well-deserved "A" and a product that Marcie was proud of and wanted to share with her classmates. Marcie maintains that the computer tools made all the difference and that now she wouldn't ever consider writing a paper without them.

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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