New Large-Scale Study Confirms Effectiveness of Calcularis

Calcularis, our software for dyscalculia, has been evaluated in smaller studies which clearly showed that the software was beneficial for increasing children’s proficiency in math. A large-scale study has now been completed in Germany with over one hundred children participating. The study looked at the software’s effects on students in general, rather than focusing on children with learning differences such as dyscalculia.

Child working with Dybuster software. Dybuster developed Calcularis, software for training math skills and to aid dyscalculics.

Child working with Dybuster software. Dybuster developed Calcularis, software for training math skills and to aid dyscalculics.

The results of the study determined that the software increased children’s mathematical abilities and were published on 2 June in Frontiers in Psychology.

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The Schools that use Dybuster Software: Fehraltdorf

We would like to introduce a few of the schools where teachers and students use our software for dyslexia and dyscalculia. Our first portrait is of the public school in Fehraltorf, Switzerland.

Fehraltdorf, public school in Switzerland that uses Orthograph and Calcularis.

Fehraltorf, public school in Switzerland that uses Orthograph and Calcularis.

Fehraltorf is a small town in the canton of Zurich in Switzerland. The public school is made up of a primary and secondary school.

Most classes are taught by grade and age level, but a few classes mix age levels together. Special education instruction is integrated into regular classroom instruction.

Each classroom is equipped with four computers. The school also has a computer room and twenty laptops for general use.

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Educational Technology for Learning Disabilities: Dybuster LinkedIn Discussion Group

dybuster linkedin educational technology for learning disabilities

Looking for discussion and debate on educational topics? Like to keep up-to-date on educational technology? Or maybe you want to share your knowledge and experiences regarding learning differences?

We’ve launched a LinkedIn discussion group to addresses all of these needs and more. With new members added weekly, we hope the group will provide information and resources, professional networking, and food for thought.

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Dybuster User Studies: How Effective is Orthograph?

Dybuster‘s software Orthograph was developed in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The principles behind the software came from neuroscience and computer science. An important part of the development process was rigorous user testing: how well did the software actually work? Did Orthograph really help dyslexics improve their spelling and reading.

First case study

The first study on Dybuster software was published in 2007. Eighty children between the ages of nine and eleven took part in the study, which was led by neuropsychologists Prof. Dr. Lutz Jäncke and Prof. M. Meyer. The participants included both children with dyslexia and children without.

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Video Tutorial for Calcularis, Software for Dyscalculia

Calcularis includes seventeen different learning games, all them designed to help students with dyscalculia improve their math and number skills. The software selects which games will help a student learn best, based on that child’s strengths and problem areas.

The games work to develop a user’s number processing abilities and grasp of a mental number line, such as in the Landing Game where a falling cone must be landed as close as possible to the target number on a number line. Other games allow students to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The Shelves Game, for example, breaks multiplication down into repeated additions.

For a quick introduction to Calcularis, check out the video below. You can also try the software for free on our website.

Dybuster Colour Game – Using Colours to Map Letters to Sounds

Multi-sensory learning helps students approach a subject like spelling or maths through the use of different senses. When playing the Colour Game in Orthograph, Dybuster’s software for children with dyslexia, students associate letters with colours and also with sound. This activates new learning channels in the brain and helps children to map spoken sound to written letters, something that is difficult for dyslexics.

The video below shows the game in action and provides a voice-over guide. You can test the game yourself for free by visiting the Orthograph Trial page. No download is necessary; you can access the program in your browser.

Meet the Dybuster Team

It’s a bright sunny day in Zurich, the city where our company Dybuster is based (Orthograph and Calcularis were developed in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). Also bright and kind of sunny, or at least orange, is the new hair color of one of our software developers, Michael. We decided to share the sunshine on our blog by making a quick introduction (with photos!) of the Dybuster team.

 

christianChristian Vögeli

Our company founder and CEO. Christian has a background in computer science and is now the head of Dybuster. The company is his baby; he lives in Lucerne with his wife Mirjam and three other babies.

 

 

 

 

justinJustin Henskens

Strategic marketing analyst, dyslexic, and huge Doctor Who fan. Fluent in five languages. Often the moving spirit behind lunch breaks.

 

 

felixFelix Fontein

Software developer and possessor of PHD in mathematics. Spends his free time reading books, taking photos, and writing programs.

 

 

michaelMichael Bürge

The one whose hair brought the sunshine today. Missing in this photo are the glowing red contact lenses. Michi works in software development at Dybuster.

 

 

James Wright

Social media manager, currently writing this post at this very minute. Artist and a dyslexic!

 

 

 

 

Not in the office today and so out of phone camera range were: Ueli Zberg, our point of contact for schools and a secondary school teacher himself; and Caroline Geissmann, our head of office administration who keeps Dybuster running smoothly. In the office but keeping out of phone camera range is the final member of our software development team, who asked to be described as an anonymous guy with a rainbow mohawk.

Dybuster Coach and Analytics

Dybuster software is designed to allow children to practice reading and math independently. Orthograph and Calcularis guide the user through a series of learning games that increase with difficulty according to a child’s progress and learning needs. The software has been shown to help children with dyslexia and dyscalculia improve their spelling and math skills.

However the software is not designed to replace teachers or therapists. Teachers and parents are the most important guides of a child’s learning path. To give those guides the best possible overview of a student’s progress, we include Dybuster Coach with every school and home license of our software.

Both Orthograph Coach and Calcularis Coach give parents access to in-depth feedback on how often their child has used the software and how long each session has lasted. Reports include which words or math problems have been practiced and which ones still pose difficulties. Statistics predict error probabilities. The Modules feature in Orthograph Coach allows parents to create lists of words tailored to their child’s practice needs.

Teachers and specialists can use the analytics in Dybuster Coach to track an entire classroom’s progress, compare how different students are doing, and create individual reports. They have an immediate overview as to which students are developing what skills, as well as information on length and frequency of the practice sessions. This detailed feedback can then be used to supplement a teacher’s other instruction or to aid in a dyslexia or dyscalculia intervention program.

To test out Dybuster software for yourself, please visit the Orthograph trial page (software for dyslexia) or the Calcularis trial page (software for dyscalculia).

Dybuster Coach: track and analyze a child’s progress as he or she develops letter and number skills.

Calcularis Learning Games: Helping to Solve Dyscalculia

Calcularis learning game for dyscalculia

Judging quantities, performing simple arithmetic, picturing numbers on a number line: all of these tasks can cause severe frustration to someone with dyscalculia. Math problems that pose no difficulty to their peers, can seem incomprehensible to dyscalculic children.

An inability to deal with numbers can leave dyscalculics with deep feelings of anxiety and inferiority when faced with anything math-related, such as counting out change or remembering the multiplication tables.

When children with dyscalculia play the Dybuster Calcularis learning games, the software gradually helps the brain to develop new learning channels and to automate mathematical processes. User studies have shown these games to be very effective: students using the software over a period of three months improved their addition skills by 30% and subtraction skills by 40%.

The games are designed to develop both numerical understanding and arithmetic operations. Students practice numbers as quantities, number words, Arabic numerals and positions on a number ray. Children progress from comparing amounts, to adding and subtracting with colored blocks, to multiplying and dividing. As their skills increase, dyscalculics also gain confidence in their own number abilities.

The results of the users studies involving Dybuster Calcularis were published in the following peer-reviewed publications:

Study about the neurplastic changes: K. Kucian, U. Grond, S. Rotzer, B. Henzi, C. Schönmann, F. Plangger, M. Gälli, E. Martin, M. von Aster. Mental number line training in children with developmental dyscalculia. NeuroImage, Neuroimage, 57(3):782-95, 2011

User adaptation, improvements in HRT (Addition/Subtraction): T. Käser, A. G. Busetto, G.-M. Baschera, J. Kohn, K. Kucian, M. von Aster, and M. Gross. Modelling and Optimizing the Process of Learning Mathematics. Proceedings of ITS (Chania, Greece, 14-18 June, 2012), pp 389-398, 2012

User adaptation, study 2011: T. Käser, G.-M. Baschera, J. Kohn, K. Kucian, V. Richtmann, U. Grond, M. Gross, and M. von Aster. Design and evaluation of the computer-based training program Calcularis for enhancing numerical cognition. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 4: 489, 2013

But our favorite reviews come from the parents, teachers, and students who use our software:

Tracking progress in Calcularis. Parents, teachers, and students can easily see how far a child has come in developing math skills.

Tracking progress in Calcularis. Parents, teachers, and students can easily see how far a child has come in developing math skills.

“As a mother, I am extremely impressed by Dybuster.” – Katharina, mother

“I like the fact that I can use Dybuster on my computer at home instead of having to visit a therapist.” – Jonathan, 12 years old

Like to test out the learning games yourself? Please visit the Calcularis website and download your free trial.

 

 

[bctt tweet=”Calcularis Learning Games: Helping to Solve Dyscalculia” username=”@dybuster_EN”]

TEDx Talk by Markus Gross on Dybuster’s Software

TEDx talks are the local version of TED, conferences that spread ideas and bring in speakers on a large range of topics.

One of the speakers at Zurich’s event in 2015 was Markus Gross, head Computer Graphics Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and instrumental in the founding of Dybuster.

Markus told of his own experience as the father of a dyslexic and as a computer scientist looking for ways to help students with dyslexia.

Below you can watch this short dynamic introduction to the multi-modal learning developed by Markus and Dybuster. Learn how the struggles of Markus’s son Adrian with dyslexia led to the development of intervention software Orthograph, and eventually to the use of the same approach applied to dyscalculia in Calcularis.

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