Scientific Learning Contributes Content to Open Source Community

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Scientific Learning Corp. has announced it will contribute neuroscience- and technology-based based activities from two of its educational products to open source program FreeReading.net.

The open source program allows users to access, share, and copy online content legally, owing to what is known as a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License, more commonly referred to as a "wiki" license. This means such free use is contingent on the content being contributed willingly by its owner and that any use of the content in another venue or medium includes proper attribution. FreeReading.net is a research-based open source program that allows teachers to share and use content, such as lesson plans, activities, data, and reference material, to aid in reading instruction for grades K through 3.

The content SLC will be contributing comes from its Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant programs. Fast ForWord is a family of educational software applications designed to aid in developing a child's brain to process information more efficiently. Reading Assistant is designed to help users strengthen their reading skills, including vocabulary and comprehension, through a proven intervention method along with speech recognition technology.

In addition, SLC will contribute original lessons custom-made for FreeReading.net. The lessons will largely be consistent with the current structure of the program's "Intervention A," a reading intervention program for small groups of kindergarten or first grade students who need additional help with phonological awareness and phonics.

Said SLC CEO Andy Myers, "We as a company really believe in the open source content approach.  Scientific Learning feels that the open source content offers a distinct advantage to a traditional textbook.  [The programs] can be updated regularly and can be produced and distributed at little or no cost."  This, he added, "frees up resources for schools and districts to use on proven technology and methods such as brain fitness, which is the ability to improve brain processing efficiency, to 'open' the brain to be more receptive to learning."

The effectiveness of open source learning in the classroom recently received what might be considered its first broad, official validation. The State of Florida has approved the program offerings from FreeReading.net as a supplemental reading education program for schools statewide, marking the first time that an open source instructional program has been approved through an official state adoption.

Myers expounded upon SLC's belief in the value of open source content, saying that schools and districts can broaden the resources they acquire with their budgets. "We believe there are two sides to effective learning: a research-based curriculum and a well-prepared brain that is able to capture, process, and retain information."

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.

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