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The Learning Staircase decided to support the project and English literacy and language teaching in general and is providing, on a continuing basis, free use of the Steps software for all schools and learning institutes in Samoa. The sixteen computers, four for each pilot school, were provided by the Auckland Unitarian Church.
Although many of the Year 7 students had never used a computer before they had no trouble picking up the skills to use the Steps software, thoroughly enjoying all the activities and the built in reward system. They were also very proud to be in the privileged position of learning valuable keyboard skills and to be ahead of their classmates for once instead of lagging behind.
Parents were extremely pleased with their child’s progress and extremely grateful, sometimes emotionally so, for the extra assistance their child was receiving. For example, one parent was almost in tears of gratitude over the extra help her daughter was being given.
It also makes sense to support the national language by having Samoan remedial resources. It was therefore decided to develop Samoan Steps resources and The Learning Staircase again agreed to provide support by placing Samoan content developed by MESC onto the Steps software. A Memorandum of Understanding was drawn up and signed by both parties. It was also agreed that Samoan language learners in other countries, primarily New Zealand, could use the Samoan Steps materials. This is a ground breaking initiative and has the potential to address reading problems of Samoan children at an early age and on a national scale.