Handheld study units help Haitian kids learn

When Florida's Miami-Killian High School began seeing significant numbers of Haitian students file through their doors, they were prepared to help educate them - whether they spoke English or not.

The school had available dozens of Brainchild's Study Buddy hand-held learning devices. The devices look like small game players, but they are used by students to reinforce instruction in mathematics, language arts, math and science. And, for the Haitian students, Study Buddies come with content in their native language, Haitian Creole.

“It is so wonderful to hand one of our new students a learning device that already has content in their native language,” said Sheryl Place, ESOL director at Miami-Killian High School. “These students have been through so much that it is just a comfort for them to see some lessons and resources in a familiar language. They know about cell phones and they know about gaming devices. The Study Buddy is familiar and it speaks their language.”

Study Buddies are complemented by a web-based assessment and instructional resource also by Brainchild called Achiever!, which allows students to practice for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test without pressure while seeing how well they can handle English. They can refer to the Study Buddy in English, Spanish or Creole to explain concepts or continue working on problems until they understand the concept and are more comfortable with the English version of the questions.