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Integrating Technology - serving low-income adult learners

In a  report issued in 2009,  it was estimated that between 42 and 104 million adults were in need of classes through adult education, but there were classes only available to meet the needs of less than 10% of these adults, many of them low-income immigrants (see below).

The report is excellent in describing What could and should be done, but there is no discussion of the How the goals could be achieved.

Now, however, the solution - the How - is actually very simple:

  1. Provide adult learners with low-cost computers and internet service

  2. Teach basic computer skills along with other classes such as ESL

  3. Use Smart Phones creatively

  4. Create a list of websites that offer free lessons on a variety of subjects for these adult learners.

  5. Do all of the above bilingually when necessary

Now, as we approach 2018, we can create a Bridge to the Digital Divide that actually up to 50 million people could use to further their educational needs and goals.

If you use computers in your classes and are interested in learning more, let’s start the discussion.

Thank you,

Paul Rogers

Tools To Support Adult Learners Working at a Distance

John Fleischman Sacramento County Office of Education CASAS National Summer Institute 2009


From the text:

“42 – 104 million adults in need of classes  

Only 3 to 7% served in classrooms”  

“Can we serve more/better with distance education?

The National Commission on Adult Literacy calls on Congress to transform adult education to serve 20 million adults annually by the year 2020. To accomplish the goal, nine Action Steps are recommended.”

“Strong national leadership must be provided to develop and deploy technology-assisted learning, including creation of a national Web portal for adult learners.”  





Ira Sockowitz's picture

Paul, in response to your post I submit that various entrepreneurs have been thinking about how tackle this problem and have a few options to offer, including my company, Learning Games Studios. If you are not already aware, there is the Adult Literacy XPRIZE competition (XPRIZE Home Page) that got 109 people to register and 43 companies to submit mobile applications to teach literacy. In my case, my app teaches both ESL & literacy. At present, there are eight semifinalists whose apps are being field tested in three cities (again, myself included). Several of us and the XPRIZE itself had display tables at the recent ProLiteracy Conference in Minneapolis to demonstrate our solutions. Being digital, many of us are cost-effective solutions for providers to expand their services to even more learners. Hopefully, you and others can become aware of us and try our solutions.

Paul Rogers's picture

Ira, this is great and I will review your information tomorrow. In a previous post I discussed how I use my own program with adult learners, incorporating smart phones, etc. Perhaps we can collaborate somehow to meet the needs of low - income working adults. 

Paul Rogers's picture

Ira - I looked at the list of those competing for the XPrize and I think that each them can offer something  to the whole effort. But, in my opinion, there needs to be more collaboration in order to begin to solve the problem of the the Digital Divide.

In my post above I mention a few things that low-income adults need to use technology fully, including low-cost computers and also bilingual (or actually multi-lingual) instructions. I Also, funding is one area where collaboration would be very beneficial. In my case, I will be submitting grant applications for funding to build a network of “Drop-In Centers” in various venues in the area, including libraries, schools and community centers. Perhaps you would be interested in reviewing the proposal.

S Jones's picture

Were you expecting this to share something with us? 


Paul Rogers's picture

S Jones - for some reason we can not click on that site, but if you copy and paste it to Google it will open up the PDF file.