Why and How CAPIT Works
Our project began with two premises. The first is that real teachers are better than cartoon characters; the second is that students spend too much time playing on digital devices. Taking a curriculum, “gamifying” it, and having the app teach it to the student has been done before. We did something different. And we were guided by the following principle: LESS IS MORE.
This principle is based on Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller, 2003, see also Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, 2017), which explains that in the process of Learning, information passes through Working Memory before it is stored in Long-Term Memory. Because Working Memory is limited, unnecessary information adds Extraneous Cognitive Load, which prevents learning from taking place.
WHAT WE BUILT
So we removed what isn't necessary. We removed the “virtual world,” the “animated characters,” and the “extrinsic rewards” such as “currencies” and “badges.” They weren’t necessary, so we removed them.
In the end, we were left with a curriculum. In every interface, the students are either reading, writing, spelling or typing. And the kids are engaged BY the learning, and NOT by an external motivator.
We were happy to learn that because our curriculum doesn’t look like a game, teachers were allowing students more time on the program, and older struggling readers were more comfortable using it.
We then took things a step further: WE REMOVED THE INSTRUCTIONS.
For example, instead of telling students the “name” and “sound” of a letter, we say: /l/ as in Laptop, and give the student a Laptop to assemble. Then we give the student the letter L so they can place it over their Laptop and create an association in their mind between the Sound and Shape of the letter using our Visual Mnemonic—all without us saying a single word of instruction.
We made learning to read so easy, kids don’t need instructions. Less is More.
When teachers invite CAPIT into their classroom, they are not inviting a guest lecturer into your classroom—because CAPIT keeps it’s mouth shut! There is only one teacher per classroom: the human teacher.
And because CAPIT never communicates instructions to students, it comes ELL Ready Out of the Box, without modifications or additional teacher training.
American classrooms are like a rainbow of languages. One teacher using our program, Elsie from Sherman Oaks, has 7 languages in her classroom: Spanish, Hebrew, Russian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Arminian, and English. Elsie tells us: “I’m seeing progress amongst all my students, especially the English Language Learners.”
Furthermore, all her students have a shared learning experience, because CAPIT allows them to learn to read as equals: they get to use the exact same program in the exact same way.
CAPIT was built on an important research principle known as Cognitive Load Theory. This principle enabled us—no—forced us, to create a unique phonics curriculum that teaches students to read Without Verbal instructions. It also informed our decision in creating a phonics curriculum that is 100% Learning 100% of the Time.