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Online Course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom

Now Available on the LINCS Learning Portal --- The LINCS Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom Online Course

LINCS provides the opportunity for professional development for its members in the form of a series of optional online courses developed by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’sLiteracy Information and Communication System (LINCS) Resource Collection initiative. These online courses are self-paced, freely available, and accessible 24 hours a day through the LINCS Learning Portal. The courses will enable users to work at their own pace, at a time that is most convenient to them.


Online Course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom

Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom is designed for adult education instructors who are at the beginner/intermediate level of knowledge of technology tools and technology integration in the classroom. This course examines the why, how, and what questions for integrating technology in the adult education classroom:

  • Why is technology important for instruction and learning?
  • How do you approach integrating technology?
  • What tools can you use to integrate technology?

This course covers the purposes for integrating technology, explores guidelines for planning to integrate technology into instruction, and organizes thinking about the wide range of technology tools available. Examples of adult education practitioners’ experiences in integrating technology are incorporated throughout the course. In the culminating activity, participants create a Technology Integration Action Plan for a unit or lesson selected for use with adult learners.


Use this discussion thread to post your responses to questions below from the online course, Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom. Please share your comments to any of the following questions, or post a general comment or feedback on the course.

  • Introduce yourself.
  • What technology devices do your students have access to? What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?
  • After reading the Let’s Become Chefs! final activity, what are some creative ways to integrate technology into the strategy for the final activity? List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.
  • What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?
  • How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?
  • After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?
  • After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?
  • After listening to two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, share your responses to the following questions: (1) Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool? (2) Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool? (3) Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How? (4) Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use?
  • When you are finished redesigning your lesson plan, we invite you to share it with others here. Revisit this thread to reflect on your progress and the lesson effectiveness.


This online course was developed under the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) Resource Collection initiative under Contract No. ED-VAE-11-C-0048.


The new LINCS Learning Portal offers adult educators free online professional development courses from a variety of OVAE initiatives. Join today at:


tlparker10's picture

All of my students have cell phones.  75% of those are smart phones.  Two of my students do not have text enabled phones, but use an Internet application to text.  My students use their phones mostly to stay in contact with their friends and family.  Parents respond to students text during school hours eventhough it is against school rules to use their phones (other than during lunch).  All students have access to computers and Internet at school, but only 5 have computers at home with internet access. One student shared with me, "YouTube is the best math teacher I've ever had."

Patricia Senerius's picture

Hello, I am an adult GED instructor.

Most of my students have smart phones.  A few have notebooks or tablets. They primarily use them for social networking, emails and text messaging.  Some use them for online searches.  If students don't have wifi at home, they go to their local library.  The elderly adults (50-60 years old) have difficulty with creating accounts, accessing them with user names, and creating passwords.  They also have difficulty with keyboarding skills.  The younger adults are more proficient with these skills.

Jacqueline Vulcano's picture

Hi Patricia - 

Our town public library just initiated a program allowing library card holders to check out Verizon hotspots. You could inquire about the program from my contact there, if you're interested: Jordan Rich,

My ESL students also have difficulty creating accounts, remembering passwords, etc. Since our college won't give adult ed email addresses because they don't pay tuition, what I've done for my Levels 1&2 ESL students is have them create a Google account during the first week of class which resembles a school account (ex. and use their phone number as their password. Then, I become their IT contact person if they have problems logging into any of the apps we use in class. Many of the apps we use in class have Google sign-in capabilities, so it has GREATLY streamlined login issues. I also give them a technology help sheet with their email, password, apps we use, wifi access, etc. and print it on bright paper so they can find it quickly in their binder: Technology Help Sheet

Jacqueline Vulcano

tlparker10's picture is a fee $ service where you can develop and print a class book of recipes.  Teachers (usually on a restricted budget) may opt to set up a class wiki or blog and ask students to submit their recipes to that site.  Additionally, Google Drive may be a good option.  In my experience when working with a class or collaborating with peers, I prefer Google Drive as it can be modified in real-time; whereas a wiki can only save one editor at a time, and some posts may be lost. 

litchick66's picture

Hi, I'm an administrative assistant for a literacy non-profit.  We are thrilled when students have access to their own technologies, as we are not funded to support the latest and greatest advances in technology.

I also am and Adult Basic Education Instructional Aide, completely certified to be an ABE teacher.  There's just so much to learn with common core and new technology!  I must admit, I enjoy the one-to-one contact with our adult learners.  I also am a volunteer tutor in math, reading and ESL.

Most of our students have some kind of cell phone.  About half have smart phones.  Several have access to computers and the Internet, and we have three Internet-accessible computers in our study center for students who want to come in to learn about the Internet, email, word processing/writing skills, etc.

Students with cell phones regularly take calls and send texts.  Some are able to read and send email via smart phones.  There was one student who wanted to access PLATO Learning Environment, an online learning platform, via her cellphone, but in practice, the screen was too small to manipulate the tasks.

Students with computer access at home regularly access PLATO Learning Environment, send emails, and sometimes send in writing samples attached to emails.  Most popular, however, is the Google search.

We are so pleased with our students who are motivated to keep up with the changes in technology and use technology to communicate and learn independently.

litchick66's picture

Tried and true is Microsoft Word.  Depending upon the keyboarding skills of the participants, students can do this themselves.  Another idea might be Microsoft Publisher.  Because the lesson plan states students should know the two parts to the recipe: the ingredients and the process, students can draw two text boxes on the page to better visualize the two parts to the recipe.

tlparker10's picture

Hi! I like your idea of using Publisher with the two text boxes.  Graphic Organizers are always well received in my classroom.  However, some students may not have Microsoft on their computers as Publisher has a cost.  I found Google Drive -> Draw allows students to add 2 text boxes for free.  If students do not have computers at home, they can also use Google at the public library.  Thanks for sharing your idea; it helped me expand my scope on this project.

Nell Eckersley's picture

Hi Trudy and Carrie,

The use of graphic organizers is a very helpful addition to the recipe lesson and Google Drive -> Draw a great tip for creating them.  For folks new to Google Drive drawing tools, here is a link to a short video on creating a venn diagram using the drawing tools in Google Drive which covers the basics you would need to create the two text boxes for the recipe lesson.  And here is a blog post on using Google Drive and Draw for graphic organizers




litchick66's picture

Nell, thank you for the links.  Google offers so many tools I need help learning how to use them.


Nell Eckersley's picture

Hi Carrie,

What would be the first google tool you would liek to know more about?  I'm finishing up a serieis of webinars on social media tools and I think the next series will be on google tools--so you could help me identify which ones to concentrate on.




litchick66's picture

I suppose the first things I'd like to implement/integrate involves how I can compare and contrast easily things like Google Hangouts, vs. Facebook Groups, and how can I get to post to our organization's Facebook page?  There is just so much out there!  I'm beyond getting new and exciting ideas, I'm getting overwhelmed, honestly.

I'm interested in Google, primarily because I pay $99 a year for Windows Microsoft 365 service to connect home activities with work activities.  I'd like to have an inexpensive way I can combine my professional development at home and with practical elements at work, and access documents, ideas, contacts, etc., at work.  However, it sounds like Google has it all.  Microsoft Windows Office 365, seems to do the same things that Google apps do for free. I find I'm making more and more work for myself, the more I learn about the available technologies.


sleduke's picture
  • What technology devices do your students have access to?

All of my students (right now) have cell phones. Most of them are smart phones. Most of them have computers with internet access at home. Access for half of them is via laptop. None have tablets.


  • What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?

Text, calls, Facebook access, some research and GPs. Probably more, though every time I try to answer this questions it's a snow day and I've forgotten to survey them.

litchick66's picture
  • What technology devices do your learners have access to?  I have a few individual students.  I do not teach in a classroom, but one-on-one in a tutoring situation.  Two of my three learners have smartphones, one ( Mrs. A) is proficient in its use.  Two of my three learners have laptops, the same learner (Mrs. A) that is proficient with the smartphone (and her tablet) is fairly proficient in managing searches and maneuvering the Internet on her laptop or other desktop computer.
  • What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devises to accomplish?  Two of three learners (Mrs. A and Mr. B) are using the online learning platforms such as PLATO and TASC Academy to enhance their one-on-one learning.  Mrs. A loves to search the Internet for information related to her Indian heritage.  Mrs. A likes to use the word processor to write papers in practice for her High School Equivalency exam.  She also enjoys our yearly Page to Stage project, using the word processor to create plays for performance by a professional theatre company at our organizations winter/holiday event.  Mrs. A is an avid Facebook user.  Mr. C is technology averse, but owns a laptop.  He uses it in his home, and is slowly working towards, but has not yet accomplished the goals he set at the beginning of 2015.



Paul Rogers's picture

I think that eventually smart phones and other mobile devices will be used all the time in schools, replacing textbooks and dictionaries. I once saw a four year old girl showing her two year old sister a video of a cartoon lesson on the alphabet!!!

This video attached shows several schools where smart phones are utilized in classes effectively....


Lori Krecioch's picture

I have heard about a few really interesting ideas here in this course. I signed up for the website in which I can create a newspaper with my class, so I want to get started on that asap. I also like the idea about putting up autobiographies on Pinterest. The classroom in which I teach has computers at each desk, so the students are able to access technology, and now I have some really creative ideas to use with them. I can't can't wait to get started.  

afodor's picture

All of my students have a cell phone, 50% are smartphones.   They use their devices for texting and facebook. 

Most students have a computer, but internet access is sketchy.  Many do not have an updated format for word, instead

use the notepad or a free trial to write documents. Many students will do job search, look up directions, phone numbers and doctor's offices.  Some students will look up coupons, store ads and specials online.  Students can have access to a computer and internet while here in class. 

litchick66's picture

I've got the POST Method Technology Integration Plan for Let's Become Chefs! printed out.  It looks like Cynthia tried email, DropBox, the Internet and Wordpress Blog with her students.  Because I work in literacy, we have many students who do not even have email addresses.  I do not have experience as an instructor using DropBox with my students, although I've had opportunity in professional development to use it as a learner.  I've tried blogging too, and believe I could probably, with some preparation, walk students through how to post an entry to a blog.

I see the benefits of each type of technology as bringing students into the 21st century, using 21st century learning skills and tools.  The drawbacks I see are the limited exposure and steep learning curve some students (especially lower SES groups and literacy students) might experience when these types of technologies are used.  That having been written, I'm all for using technology in the classroom, with the understanding that each student brings a different level of experience and understanding with him or her to the table. 

litchick66's picture

I see that in my response above, I did not use the proper frame of reference to answer the question.  That explains why I had such a hard time with my response making sense.

Cynthia tried an online platform for writing in order to prepare her students for the writing portion of the GED examination.  She found that many students did not visit the site.  However, with eighty-some percent of her students on Facebook, she managed to create a Facebook page for her class and all the students fulfilled all the writing and responding requirements.

Cynthia achieved several goals.  She was able to use Facebook as an online community, as a writing requirement, and as a method for providing feedback for students' submissions.

The drawback is researching all the ins and outs of Facebook privacy settings and policies, which are constantly changing.  I do admire that she was able to come up with such an innovative solution to her situation, and make a success out of it.

litchick66's picture

Nell Eckersley is an ESOL teacher.  Her students are mostly adults, from what I remember.  Each comes from a different country, and has a different level of English language skills.  She had used magazine pictures in the past as prompts for writing. 

She was introduced to Pinterest and quickly adapted the technology to an older assignment she had been using. 

Students learned not only about Pinterest, but about privacy and creating usernames and passwords.  Hopefully they were able to transfer that knowledge to other types of technology, programs and platforms.

Students' learning was enhanced by the use of the computer, which I gather she and the students had access to in the classroom or building.  Additionally, she was able to pique the students' interest and widen the availability of images available for the assignment with which she had previously been using magazine pictures.  Student had a greater range of images to choose from, but were still required to write in English about a topic she had assigned.

litchick66's picture

Oh, I have really been down the wrong path with technology.  I find it so difficult to keep up, that I spend any time with a student (in literacy), teaching the technology instead of the desired outcome.  I need to focus more on how technology can help a student get to where he or she wants to go, instead of teaching the technology as an end in itself.

okiecat's picture

I am still digesting many of the suggestions in this presentation. I am offering a GED preparation class in a VERY rural area. The community is only about 1700 population. I currently only have 3 students. All have cell phones, but use only for talk and text. 1 student understands computers for email and playing games. I will continue to review this material as we progress through class.

litchick66's picture

I'd certainly like to use the podcasts with ESL students (I work in literacy).  I'd like to learn how to create a podcast a student can record, for example, speaking pronunciation pairs with a focus on long and short vowel sounds.  Hopefully, I'd be able to access such a podcast and be able to review the activity with my one student, and teach other tutors of ESL how to use podcasts with their ESL students as well.

Honestly I haven't checked the links to all the Tech Tools in Educational Context, but hope to examine at least half of them.  I'd like to learn how to use Facebook as a Learning Management System, and perhaps use Facebook in its original intent to be "repurposed" from a learning management system to how online collaboration can create community among our adult learners, who do not attend a class together, but have similar experiences.

Lannie Burton's picture

.  I'd like to explore the use of podcasts to have my online students explain their take on some of the math concepts that present problems for them. I can then respond, hopefully, in king.  I also think that PollEverywhere is a tool that students can access on their mobile devices to take weekly quizzes to be graded.

litchick66's picture

Nell integrated the use of email in a traditional lesson of writing a letter to the mayor.  She had to teach students how to sign up for email, which is something I'm hoping to get our literacy students to do.  Nell seemed more comfortable using the tool than teaching how to use it (oh, I can relate), and the second time around found the core lessons that needed to be taught in order to come up with email addresses and good passwords.  Students were able to use the email for varying purposes, it built family community, teacher/student communication, and connection with the online community.  I think teching about email addresses turned out to be an essential lesson plan for Nell, as I think it is for my literacy students.  Perhaps Nell could have used Google Docs to write one letter from the class (and I feel like I'm reaching here), to use collaborative writing and language negotiating skills for her ESL students.  I also think that my suggestion would be difficult to monitor and manage in the classroom.  I really like Nell's idea.

Cynthia used a URL shortener and QR codes to direct students to a You Tube Video on living in a home versus living in an apartment.  She utilized many types of technology and learned about them and added them as needed to her lesson.  The technology used exceeded most of her students' present understanding of using smartphones; however, it made the world more understandable as QR codes are being used at bus stops, etc. around the city.  I think the bitly service and the QR codes were the best way to introduce students to multiple means of technology use in their daily lives, and achieve the desired purpose of the lesson.  I cannot think of another way that would have been more effective or direct as those means used by Cynthia.

Nona Jean Arai's picture

I am a returning teacher, who has been away from teaching for more than 10 years. With the new curriculum at my school, we are required to integrate technology into our language teaching. This is something I need to learn more about. I believe that once students have their own email address and learn how to use it in their daily lives, they will feel get ahead in their lives.

rmhaupt's picture

All of my students have a cellphone only 25% of them have a smartphone, and all of them text. In class they have access to the internet using desktop and laptop computers and ipads.  They use technology to communicate with family and friends, pay bills and apply for jobs.  Some are using either PLATO, WIN or GED Academy to prepare for the TASC.

rmhaupt's picture

I had my students look for thier favorite recipe on the internet to see if they could find a healthier version to compare to their traditional recipe.  They could create a short movie using movie maker on how to make thier recipe or a podcast.

List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.

Google Drive

Microsoft word

Movie maker by microsoft

Ipad to take pictures or videos

rmhaupt's picture

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? She had tried a leaning management system and Facebook

What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another?

The first tool students didn't use so it wasn't a benefit. Facebook, the students were already using so it worked better.

What are some limitations of both tools?

If students don't use the lms they won't benefit from the experience.  Facebook was a good idea and was managed well. My limitation with Facebook would be the simple fact that it is not accessable at school and the majority of my students don't have internet or a computer at home. 

rmhaupt's picture

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

The student's were able to create an account in Pinterest which gave them the oppurtunity to learn more about the possiblitilies of the internet and using different websites. They learned computer skills that they could transfer to a job situation.  I like the Pinterest lesson, unfortunately we can't access Pinterest at school.

rmhaupt's picture

I liked Cynthia and Neils lesson ideas and the approaches they took to achieve the lessons goals.  I use technology tools in my lessons already. My challenge has been internet access to Facebook and Pinterest. I have adult students but we are in a technical center that uses the department of ed internet that is highly filtered and blocks numerous pages on the internet.  I think that it's important to teach students how to use the internet and technology appropriately, I am not sure blocking it is the answer for adults.  We discuss technology responsibilites often.   I think that making sure you are using technology that the student have access to is extremely important. Eventhough my student's don't have access at home they learn the skills in the classroom that they can transfer to a job or their lives. 

rmhaupt's picture

Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? I would like to do more with podcast, viewing and creating.

 Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? I was interested in Viemo and Pinterest, they are blocked.  I already use TeacherTube and YouTube.

How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need? I like repurposing social media to be used as a learning or business tool so that they can be more productive.

rmhaupt's picture

Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? I believe both instructors understood and were confident using email, computer, smartphone and QR codes.

  • Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? The first class teacher backed up to teach the technology skill that some of the students didn't have and had the other students who were familar with email to help, great idea.  The second class had students share the smartphones because the class didn't have technology available, very resourceful. 
  • Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? Yes, the technology tools selected taught the students skills like emailing and using the smartphone apps in their daily lives.  It also taught them that technology can be used for more than socail needs.
  • Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use? Using the computer and internet to email was a very effective unit, I like how the teacher adjusted the lesson the second time she taught them to email.  I think that sharing the smartphones might be risking for the students who own the phones, do they have unlimited data etc. is it an added expense for the students.  Watching Khan Academy videos is a wonderful idea and very useful, I think watching them on a smartphone may be dificult for more than one person.  I think using the computer or tablet may have been easier perhaps at a library or school that would allow the class to use a lab.
cariocajess's picture
  • Introduce yourself.
  • What technology devices do your students have access to? What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?

I teach Adult Basic Education for GED preparation and most my students have cell phones (smartphones) but their access to internet is limited to when there is free wireless connection available. The classroom has computers available with cable (DSL) internet access, and my students use GED Academy website for GED. My supervisor encourages all students to have an account, since GED is now all computer-based. I have created a Facebook page for my students to post written assignments such as extended response questions from practice GED texts and answer journal questions when not in class.

  • After reading the Let’s Become Chefs! final activity, what are some creative ways to integrate technology into the strategy for the final activity? List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.

They can use a common-access website that uploads documents (google documents or windows 365). I would create a Facebook page to let students post on each their own recipe (and pictures of their recipes or videos of them preparing the recipes). The class would then choose which recipes would be posted on the recipe book online. This way the interaction is always dynamic via feedback from other students and make a more interactive recipe book that can always accommodate new recipes.

  • What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

The online platform, which the students did not use; and Facebook (which as she pointed out some of the students were always using). The first platform is seems to be more focused on the task; Facebook has more distractions available (online chat, advsertisements, notifications, candy crush…) because all are available right on the same screen.

  • How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

By individualizing the project by asking what are the specific interests of each student, via photographs. There is a vast amount of resources that the students can seek online and post into their pinterst account so the task becomes a lot more enjoyable for the student. They may not even have realized they were writing an autobiography!

  • After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?

Yes, as I posted earlier, I have a Facebook account for which my students can post online tasks, make comments, ask questions and bring subjects to be discussed next class. I have also implemented GED Academy accounts for the students. If a student repeatedly doesn’t show up for class it becomes easy to track them down via FB. I like to use the multi-modal tools. For example, I can  sometimes assign students to watch some of the “Khan Academy math classes” on YouTube since some YouTube instructions are quite good. I would like to add Google drive for sharing and storing student’s assignments using it as part of the materials in the lesson plan.

  • After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?

I would like to explore Google Documents for storing documents; and teacher tube, which I did not know existed. I would like to use more of my favorite tool Facebook to explore multi-modality teaching through videos and Skype.


  • After listening to two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, share your responses to the following questions: (1) Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool? (2) Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool? (3) Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How? (4) Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use?

E-mailing lessons seems that the instructor was very comfortable with this technology, however the problem was that a significant portion of the students did not know or even had an e-mail account before. The creation of an account for some students was a significant change in their lives not just learning but communicating with long distance family and friends. The instructor could have used google shared documents but it would also mean they would have to create a g-mail account for access however it would be more directed towards document sharing instead of communication.

The second instructor seemed more uncomfortable since it is a much newer technology and therefore more difficult finding resources easily. I believe her pool of students were younger and more adapted to the new technologies. The real advantage is that it emulated reality since she was assigning tasks such as seeking apartments to rent and calculating costs with that so the

Karen Ennis's picture

I teach advanced level ESL at a community college.  Most of the students have cell phones/smart phones, and like having technology in the classroom.  We have access to a computer lab at least one day per week.  We use edmodo,, livebinders, youtube, and other sites.  I've seen a dramatic change in students' available technology, from almost no cell phones or computers 10 years ago to almost all students having smart phones and being connected today.  For "Let's Become Chefs," a class/group project could be to make a video or animated video of a recipe being made. 

Karen Ennis's picture

It was very interesting to me how Cynthia realized that her initial plan didn't work well, until she re-did the planning process and applied the POST method.  This is a helpful insight for me.  She also said something that many of us experience - students who are busy with jobs, family, school.  It's hard to get them to participate in some things outside of the classroom, but Cynthia did it right. 

Karen Ennis's picture

I could relate to Nell's initial nervousness about using technology, but she jumped right in and leaned about Pinterest and used it in her classroom in a very interesting way.  It inspired me! 

Karen Ennis's picture

I just checked out Teachertube, which I had never heard of.  I will go back to that site to explore more. 

Karen Ennis's picture

Nell used email for her lesson, and seemed comfortable with it.  It enabled students without email addresses to set them up so was very helpful for them.  It seemed to be a very positive experience for the students, and taught them to engage with local government using email.  It seemed a good choice.  They could have also used the local government website as an alternative way to communicate with the mayor. 

Cynthia used smart phones and  It was a good way to demonstrate to students that smart phones can be used for learning.  Using was a good way to make url's more accessible.  One drawback could be that the students who don't have smartphones might be excluded, but given the increasing number of people with smart phones, it was a good activity.

BBowen's picture

Both instructors were knowledgeable about their student academic needs, and identified clear goals/objectives about the learning needed to address those needs.  Both wanted to find a way to integrate technology with the least amount of restriction and maybe the lowest learning curve for their students:  Nell's students were intermediate ESL, she had access to computers due to a financial gift for technology from the NYC mayor, and she wanted students to write a thank you and commentary letter using email.  Part of the planning for this lesson was to make sure everyone had an email from which to send their letters, and the teacher did well to anticipate some snafus:  Not everyone knew how to create and use email, and others were very adept already. Those who knew how to use email may have started their writing while other were getting help on setting up emails, understanding the concept hands-on of what this entailed.  I wonder if those adept students were able to help those who had little to no experience?  To then discover that students who had email addresses didn't know how to access from public computers was a compounded concern, and a plan was created for this. On top of this, using Gmail to create email accounts became limiting within a given IP address.  How could a teacher have anticipated all of these barriers?  The teacher was not inexperienced in any of the tech requirements needed to execute toward the objectives; however, the students may have written letters by hand in the class and through instruction but presented different and varying barriers to typing and emailing their letters.  This may have taken a little longer than Nell anticipated.  Eventually, students appreciated the experience, learned much more about emails, and are now able to access from public computers, create emails and secure passwords, and can communicate and share attachments and photos with family, friends,a nd colleagues/peers.

With Cynthia's group, there was no computer lab but she did survey her learners to find that more than half had smart phones.  She wanted to proced through her plan to show a Khan video on YouTube but realized that if she did this, the URL could be too long for the smart phone, and so she used a tool, Bitly, to shorten it, and from that to create a QR/scan code.  She tested it, and continued with her class plan, allowing students to show, experiment and talk about apps and QR codes and how to D/L and where they find them in the environment.  She created sheets with the QR code for students to scan once they understood the concept, and they shared phones watching YouTube.  Like Nell's students, Cynthia's were happy and proud to share what they had learned about the QR code, and demonstrated to their families, proving they had actually learned to use this bit of technology.

What I am learning from the experiences of both women is that: (1) I have to know what the learning needs are of my students/colleagues (2) I have to identify what my specific focus/objective is going to be toward that learning (3) I have to plan for what the outcomes should be as a result of the objective-focused tasks, and (4) I have to consider if there is a technology that will help me and/or my learners/colleagues get the task completed in a more efficient, potentially collaborative way?  It is important that I consider first MY existing technological skills and hardware, and then consider my learners/colleagues by asking/surveying each person, and consider the greatest common denominator (!) of most!!  I have to give time to planning what I will need to do to plan stepwise lessons even at the risk of boring some students---who may/may not want to help others--to get to the objective.  What I will also have to consider is what steps toward technology are worth leaving out or doing myself first as background planning, and which steps can be kept for the general learning good of the student.  This is not easy, and so I appreciate these shared experiences.

K Reyes's picture


My name is Kristi Reyes, and I have taught noncredit ESL at MiraCosta College in California almost 18 years (work anniversary on Jan. 26), first as an associate faculty for seven years.  During that time, I also taught in all kinds of adult ESL programs (college credit ESL, IEPs, vacation ESL, workplace ESL, refugee/resettlement) - what any PT teacher needs to do to cobble together an income.  I have been integrating technology for quite a while now and am a tech trainer for OTAN (Outreach and Technical Assistance Network), also writing articles on Web-based class activities and contributing to the teaching with technology repository.  Despite that, I am self-taught and lack a bit of the theoretical foundation about technology integration, so I am delighted to join this group and peruse the online modules, especially now that I'm on sabbatical and have some time to devote to learning. I look forward to reading all the posts that I see here!

As for technology accessibility of my students, I believe that due to the high cost of living in the area where I teach (coastal Southern California), the folks (including immigrants) who can afford to live here have the means to acquire tech gadgets. Compared to what I discovered through discussions with ESL teachers from the Los Angeles area in a professional development Community of Practice (CALPRO's Evidence-Based Writing Instruction) I recently participated in, my students not only have greater access but are relatively much more tech-savvy than their peers in other areas of this part of the state. 

I used Survey Monkey to find out about technology access of students in our program's level 5 - 7 classes a few months ago: Results:

Level 5 AM - 78% have computers with internet access, 65% have cell phones with internet access

Level 5 PM - 62% have computers with internet access, 68% have cell phones with internet access

Level 6 AM - 65% have computers with internet access, 90% have cell phones with internet access

Level 6 PM - 29% have computers with internet access, 76% have cell phones with internet access

Level 7 PM - 78% have computers with internet access, 67% have cell phones with internet access

The morning Level 7 class was unable to participate.

I teach at the noon time, and in my most recent class (while I didn't formally survey the students, most of whom have finished high school in their native countries, and several of whom had bachelor - PhDs), a Vocational ESL class, many of the students had computers, tablets, AND cell phones.  Anyway, that's not the norm, but it definitely made for interesting and valuable technology-integration possibilities in the class.

Shortly after I surveyed students (the purposes were to gather updated information to support our recently-approved hybrid classes and to update data I had originally supplied in my sabbatical leave application), the students in these levels had to take the WIA/EL Civics Tech Survey.  Here are some of those results (132 students surveyed), on the first post of my sabbatical blog.  The results indicated that 73% of (129) students surveyed have smartphones.  Obviously, as we include more tech integration, blended and online learning, we need to consider that students will more likely be doing this coursework on the tiny screens of their cellphones.

Some of the everyday tasks students are doing with their tech devices are the following (according to the WIA/EL Civics Tech survey for our agency) are the following:

  • text 83%
  • get information/do research 76%
  • learn in (42%) and outside (39%) of class
  • apply for jobs 18%
  • work 8%
  • pay bills 28%
  • e-mail 66%
  • shop 27%
  • use social media 60%
  • access entertainment 50%

It is interesting to note that using the internet in and outside of class to learn is not a common use.  Obviously as educators, we need to do a better job os what is being advocated in the modules of this course: Use the tools that are used in everyday life in the real world – use the same tools to provide academic success and bring education into the realm of the real world.


David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Kristi, and others,

Thanks, Kristi, for joining this group and posting such an engaging introduction! Lots to chew on here. Reading about what you have learned from surveying your students reminds me of a couple of things:

  • Teachers looking for a quick and easy written survey (perhaps it could be an oral survey) of adult ed students' access to and use of mobile/cell phones (plain feature phones as well as smart phones) might want to take a look at a cell phone survey that was originally developed by Santa Ana College (Southern California) ESL professor, Susan Gaer, and which I added to and edited. You'll find it at

Incidentally, this is just one resource listed in the Mlearning in Adult Ed Web page,, which other adult education practitioners are welcome to read and add to.

  • Participants in the Technology and Learning CoP might benefit from seeing the results of other teachers' surveys of their students. Do their results look like Kristi's? Let's find out.

For example, Kristi, could you share a copy of your SurveyMonkey survey form? Could someone here develop it as two online survey instruments, one for adult ESL/ESOL students, another for ABE/ASE students, that any adult education teacher (with access to Survey Monkey or another online survey app) could use with her/his students? Teachers who use the survey could post their results here by class type/location and level, and we might see some interesting patterns emerge. 

"It is interesting to note that using the internet in and outside of class to learn is not a common use." Thanks for this observation, Kristi. You have identified a major need in adult basic education (including ESL/ESOL) that we need to explicitly address in both classes and computer labs: how students can become expert in using computers (and tablets, smartphones and other portable web-accessing digital devices) for online learning. While many adult education teachers now include basic digital literacy/digital readiness skills or more advanced ITC skills, and some integrate online learning skills as they teach students how to use a particular online platform such as Schoology, Edmodo, Blackboard, Moodle, or even an online learning filing system such as Evernote, Pinterest or Dropbox, I wonder how many adult education teachers have defined a set of transferable online learning skills or competencies and made them into explict learning objectives for the online component of their blended (hybrid, face-to-face and online) learning model. Online learning competencies is a set of "teaching people how to fish" skills that adult learners -- and others -- will need to survive and thrive in the 21st century.

Anyone: are you teaching these skills, and if so, how are you doing it?

David J. Rosen

K Reyes's picture

Thanks for your reply to my post, Dr. Rosen.

These are the two questions I posed on the Survey Monkey surveys, one for each class, to get an overall idea about students' tech accessibility (i.e., internet access).  The WIA Tech Plan Learner Survey is much more comprehensive. 

In the noncredit ESL program in which I teach, we just finished piloting our first-ever hybrid courses, two sections (one an intermediate/advanced VESL class and the other a level 6/low advanced ESL class).  The results were promising in that all but one student indicated that they would consider online/hybrid classes in the future, and the persistence/retention rates for both classes were high.  The classes were taught by two instructors skilled at integrating technology who had been using the CMS (Blackboard) for the main delivery platform for years in a blended learning format.  However, not a lot of consideration was given to what David Rosen mentions: having "a set of transferable online learning skills or competencies and made them into explicit learning objectives for the online component of their blended (hybrid, face-to-face and online) learning model" until one of the teachers mentioned proposing a new course on "how to take online classes."  The focus of such a course may be too narrow to gain support by the college we work for, so we may propose a computers for ESL course which would be delivered as a hybrid class so that students would learn to do online learning implicitly, but with a module on taking online classes, we would explicitly teach to the types of objectives Dr. Rosen mentions... I just don't know what those particular objectives are, though, so I'll be searching but would be appreciative if anyone in this group could 1) share anecdotal or quantitative data on best practices for hybrid or fully online courses they have offered, 2) share sources/resources/or just a brainstorm of ideas of learning objectives described above. 

For the instructional side, there is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning National Standards for Quality Online Teaching and in California for Community College instructors there is the brief @ONE Standards for Quality Online Teaching. Does anyone else know of particular standards such as these to guide new online teachers and/or for evaluation of online/hybrid courses?

Has anyone read this text?  Collins, Allan (2009).  Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. Teachers College Press. It's an interesting read, and even though the publish date is not that current, there is definite support in the author's vision of the future of education that we need to teach not just digital literacy but also how to be an online student.  See my blog post with a brief summary.

Enjoy the holidays!

K Reyes's picture

Here are a couple of ideas for how I may integrate technology with the following assignment:

As a final activity, create a class book of favorite recipes. Have students select a favorite recipe they use at home and write it down. Have them revise their recipes with their group members or a partner, using the recipe writing rubric as a guide for revision. Collect final drafts of recipes into a class recipe book.

1.  My first idea was a class blog with students posting photos to accompany the recipe, but since I see that this was already mentioned in another post, it's obviously not the most creative idea, so I kept thinking...

2. My second idea would be something I may do if I were teaching an intermediate level class, which is set up a class wiki, which allows for easy online revisions / editing and reversions to past versions for comparison.  I would group students by countries and have them create a wiki page with one or two recipes, photos, a map showing where the recipe comes from, and as time permitted, they could even create a how-to video or slides with photos (they take using their cellphone cameras or digital cameras) showing how to put together the dish(es) they are writing recipes for.  That way, the spoken skills are also part of the lesson, in addition to the fact that they'll be working on teams and will need to use workplace skills to get the project done.  I would also include in the assignment that the students create a shopping list with prices (within a given budget) and stores in the local area or online (What use would the assignment be if the ingredients cannot be bought in the USA?) where they can purchase the ingredients and costs for the items.  They could do this in Excel to learn some basic features of spreadsheets. 

3. My third idea is to extend/modify the assignment for my Vocational ESL class.  In that case, my students generally have higher-level English and technology skills, so I would put the students in teams and give the task of a business start-up for a restaurant: do online research to find out what sort of restaurant would be successful in our area, find a location, write a brief/simplified business plan using a Word template, create a menu (also a Word template) and price list based on recipes for one house-specialty appetizer, drink, soup/salad, entrée, and dessert. They would create a PowerPoint slideshow or a Web page for the restaurant and present their restaurant proposals to the class. I have assigned this type of project before a couple of different times in the Vocational ESL class I teach, but the groups were free to choose any type of business and had to create promotional materials and business cards using templates from MS Office.  The results were amazing - everything from internet cafes to combo old folks homes/child care centers.  The students were so proud of their products they created on their teams.  Once we had a contest in which other classes visited, and the groups "sold" their business ideas, with students from other classes voting on the best projects.

K Reyes's picture

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom?

The instructor says that she first tried an online platform but doesn't specific which or exactly how she tried to implement it.  I think just telling students to "go onto X platform" is ineffective.  The benefits of using the platform -- with demos and print materials on how to get on and how to navigate -- and a requirement to post (such as part of a grade) need to be explicitly explained to students.  Also, the instructor realized that students didn't need "one more place ... to go."

What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

She indicated that she knew that 85% of her students were already on Facebook, so using if for class would not include a learning curve for them.  I would personally be reluctant for students to share their written work, especially if any of the content is of a personal nature, online via a social networking site, even if the students are part of a "private group."  The obvious benefits of having students share their writing online, no matter the site / platform, are the following:  having an audience of peers, the opportunity to read others' work and comment on it at a time when it is convenient for the student, fewer time constraints for reading and replying, and a chance for students to view the various ways their peers may have approached the assignment and/or may have expressed different viewpoints. 

With social networking, the audience can be very wide, so even with a private group, content could be shared.

With a password-protected CMS (Blackboard/Moodle), there is more of a seriousness to the educational task (in my opinion).

K Reyes's picture

First of all, I have to say that I am addicted to Pinterest, too.  I don't post - I'm just a lurker who finds recipes, new hairstyles, and home decorating ideas -- and occasionally some good teaching ideas -- by perusing the site.  I absolutely love Nell's class project:  Pinterest for a collaborative board on what a new immigrant needs to know when they arrive in the United States.

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

A few brief comments: 

1) First, I think how she paired a student who was comfortable with computers with a novice is a very effective way of breaking in technology integration for students and setting up a comfort zone.  I typically do this, too, by having the very first class project (some sort of partner presentation or introduction) a pair project. 

2) When students are excited about something in class, they are more motivated and will spend more time on the task, which was obviously the case with the autobiographies, as Nell said: "All the students did their homework and some did much more than was assigned."

3) Finally, not only did students express themselves with technology as the medium, they also learned new tech jargon (pin, post, etc.) and skills.  They had a wide audience by sharing their work online with the world. It would be incredibly boring to read or listen to someone talk about themselves without images, and the students learned various ways to find/use images, which enhanced their digital literacy. 

Creative, awesome project idea!

K Reyes's picture

As I mentioned in my introductory post, although I have integrated technology for a while now, I have only a minimum of the theoretical background on sound practices, and there is always so much more to learn, but that's what keeps me from getting burned out. 

As an "early adopter," I approach technology integration with a very positive attitude and try out new tools myself whenever I have time and try to include one new tool in my lesson plans for students to try at least once every term (every 8 weeks).  Although most of my students now feel more comfortable with technology, occasionally there is one in each class -- typically an older student -- who will say "I've never touched a computer before."  Luckily I usually have an instructional aide and sometimes a student writing consultant when my class visits the computer lab, and I'll even go so far as assigning one of my helpers to the student or sitting with the student myself to type his/her paragraph or create his/her PowerPoint presentation, whatever the task happens to be, just to help the student ease into the comfort zone.  I can usually gauge students' levels (as well as their English proficiency) during the first day or two of a new class, so again, pairing up students based on abilities or lack thereof really helps in the beginning, as do group projects later.

Resource: Technology Integration Matrix (Teacher Descriptors)

I also used to give a speech the first day of class to create buy-in for all the technology use I have students do.  This was stolen from someone at the CA Dept. of Ed/Adult Division, and I would credit him if I could remember his name.  Anyway, I tell students that to be successful in the USA they need to be able to use two languages well.  I ask them what languages they are. Responses include English, of course, but also Spanish, and sometimes Chinese.  After a wait time, someone will eventually think of "Computers" as the second language.  Then, a class, we brainstorm all the necessities that are met via computers (e.g., finding a location/address/driving directions, booking travel, applying for a job, using an ATM machine, even the self-check lanes at supermarkets, connecting with friends/family, registering/enrolling in classes). Nowadays I don't really need to create buy-in as much as I did just a few years ago because of the higher levels of technology accessibility of students.

I am quite familiar with TPACK, Universal Design for Education, and student goal setting, but I had not heard about POST.  I really like its simplicity and will definitely use it myself as a theoretical framework for technology integration as well as in the future when I mentor other teachers and give technology-integration presentations.  Honestly, though, I am a holdout on integrating social networking such as Facebook.  I feel that there are so many other tools available for connecting to and with students, even though the majority of them do use FB. I prefer to use tools that are specifically designed for educational purposes or that allow different methods of creativity / communication / learning /sharing that are not possible with the educational sites.  It is interesting to note, though, that when a site becomes popular (such as Voicethread or Voki) with educators, a subscription version for teachers becomes available.

K Reyes's picture

Forgot the hyperlink: Technology Integration Matrix

Where are you on the matrix?

K Reyes's picture

I have used the majority of the tools in the Technology Tools in Educational Context table  but one that I want to explore further is QR codes. The video was very brief - it provided just 2 - 3 ideas, but I have found several resources online that list multiple ideas for using QR codes. 

 I recently had students in my Vocational ESL class complete an assignment in which they created business cards with their personal logos on Word business card templates, which included a QR code with their contact info or they simply created v-cards using the site  It was a good experience for them because although almost everyone had seen a QR code before, only a few knew what they actually were. 

I would like to experiment with QR Voice, which turns text entered into an audio file.  I can see excellent potential for this tool with beginning level ESL, which I do not currently teach, unfortunately, but I have a lot of ideas for how this tool could be used for intermediate-advanced level students. I also would like to create some sort of class activity with QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator

K Reyes's picture

After listening to two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, the following are my responses:

(A) Nell - technology tool - email.

  • She was very comfortable using email herself, but she didn't expect that students would not have any experience using email or that they would have difficulties in simply setting up their email accounts. 
  • She modeled flexibility in the time allowances for the lesson activities in order to get students on board with email. 
  • I do believe that even though the class was a language class, the instructor taught an invaluable technology tool - email.  While the students' initial reward in learning email was the ability to communicate with family and friends, eventually they will be able to use email for a wide range of purposes - communicating with their and their children's teachers, seeking information, shopping online, looking for and applying for jobs - to name a few.  We pretty much need an email address for so many things we do these days.  At the college where I teach, students cannot even enroll (as for all California community colleges) in credit classes without an email address.
  • It is unclear which email provider was used - some are easier to set up and use than others - personally I love gmail because with its account, you have Google docs, Google drive, Youtube account and more).  I have heard of Gaggle, which I guess is "safe" and filtered, made especially for education. 
  • I have had the same experience that Nell did, and from the frustration of the experience of using so much class time to help students set up email accounts just to have them "forget" their password the following week in the lab, I created a step-by-step handout with screenshots on which students wrote their log in and passwords, kept in a safe place in their binders.  Other teachers just have students use the same password, such as the name of the school or class.
  • I do believe this (email) was the best choice of technology tool for writing to the mayor of NYC.  Letter writing is becoming less common and is reserved for more formal matters that require documentation, but I suppose another option would have been to teach letter format and have had students use a Word template to type up formal letters.

(B) Cythia - technology tools - URL shortener and QR Code creator and reader on cell phones.

  • It was unclear whether Cynthia had ever used these tools much previous to the experience/lesson described.  She didn't find out how many students had cell phones, but luckily, if they did not, they could always use the short URL to access the video rather than the QR code.
  • Her idea to shorten the long URL for the Khan Academy video was great.  I could understand what she meant about typing in the URL, though, on cell phones - what a pain for clumsy-fingered people like me!  That's the beauty of the QR code - just point, shoot, and the mobile device does the work. I wonder how long it took for students to download the QR code reader and which one was used, if any particular one.  In my experience using QR codes, some students know what they are but no one has a QR code reader installed on their devices, so that could take up some class time.
  • The tools definitely promoted family literacy/numeracy!  How cool that the students watched the video at home again with family members!
  • Personally, since I teach with a CMS (Blackboard) or if not, I create a class Web page for my ESL classes, I would just link or embed the video on my class site, which I assign and expect students to visit at least weekly.  However, I can see that if this were not the case (no class Web site), URL shorteners such as Bitly or Snipurl, etc., and QR codes and code readers would be a great way to provide homework, supplemental resources for students to study and read outside of class, provide class announcements, etc. I suppose that the instructor could have also just texted or emailed the URL for the video to students so they could simply click the link - that would save time for the teacher of creating (and printing - not sure if she printed out the QR code or just projected it) the QR Code and save time for students to have to download a QR code reader.
K Reyes's picture

Hi, there.

This is the culminating activity for the Integrating Technology Self-Paced Course, an introductory VESL project on selling/branding oneself by researching company logos and making mini presentations, creating a personal logo, writing a paragraph about it, and presenting the logo to the class as way of self-introduction: Kristi Reyes Culminating Activity.

As I expressed, I am interested in learning more about online portfolios for ESL students.  Over the course of a term, I have students do several projects, which I would like for them to be able to compile in a portfolio for later reference and access.  Does anyone use online portfolios?  If so, please share which site you use and any words of advice.

Thanks and happy new year!

lgmullins's picture

I am Lisa Mullins.  I teach AE in Tennessee.  Ours is a very rural setting, but most folks have access to some type of technology.  I thought Nell and Cynthia used some great ideas with their classes.  The facebook activity was a good way to bring learners to use social media in a writing activity.  Also Pinterest can open new doors for the students and for the teacher as it offers a vast number of ideas on many topics.  I have not tried these types of activities with my classes, but hope to do so soon. 

msh14's picture

I'm Margaret Stoughton and I teach Adult Ed. at the Beaver County Jail in Western PA. We have no Internet but I'm trying new methods so that my students can be exposed to more than photographs! We do have computers and printers and CDs which are not very useful. The program we use most is Encyclopedia Britannica Multimedia.. It has reading excerpts, still photos, and videos on countless subjects. There are Math CDs, typing practice, and a program of skills necessary for the GED 14.

The students use the computer for the class in Everyday Edits (locating errors in a reading and correcting them on a laptop which is projected on an ENO Board.) My goal is to learn how to use the board effectively. They also use a Print shop program to make writing paper, cards, calendars, etc. which teaches them more computer skills - rather elementary, but it's all we have now.

It's often frustrating and I'd appreciate any ideas for computer activities and programs for a class with no Internet. I have been told that it is possible to use YouTube and downloading it to a flashdrive. I will certainly try that.

Heather Erwin's picture

Hello Margaret,

Teaching in the internet dead zone that is a correctional facility is certainly challenging.  Fortunately, there are a lot of new resources becoming available, and foundations, agencies and other grant making entities are recognizing that digital literacy skills are a Human Right. The people you are teaching will have a much harder time succeeding when they get back to their communities without at least basic knowledge of mobile tech devices and a cursory understanding of digital literacy skills.  

Khan Academy puts all of their videos (mostly math and science) on YouTube and you can copy and cache them using a fairly basic, downloadable program like keepvid or another such program.  You can also ask your administrators to explore acquiring a collection like RACHEL, or KA Lite, or the WiderNet Project's eGranary.  These are not all free, but the organizations that produce these off-line collections are aware of the budgetary constraints facilities and educators face and so try to make things affordable.  There are also some really cool mobile device projects in the works.  Check out for an example of an ed-tech company focused on bringing an "internet-like" experience into corrections classrooms.

We've had a number of pretty good discussions on the Correctional Education Group around access to technology etc.  It might be worth a look back over some of those to get an idea of what other educators working in secure classrooms are doing to bring some tech skills to their students. Here's one example  

Best of good luck to you!  

-- Heather Erwin, SME -- Correctional Education Group

Lynette Hazelton's picture


    My name is Lynette Hazelton and, among my responsibilities, I teach a hybrid GED Social Studies/Language Arts course at District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund in Philadelphia. The increased demands of the new GED in terms of background knowledge, the ability to read complex text and the ability to respond to a prompt using text-based evidence combined with the limits we have on classroom time and mixed with students' anxiousness to get their GED as quickly as possible has created for me a perfect storm.  This collision of forces has compelled me, as noting has before, to really up my technology game and that is why I signed up for the course.  

       Currently, I teach once a week for three hours and about a third of that time is spent in the computer lab. Right now I've used it for internet research, writing position letters to elected officials, and practicing the extended writings.  However, my hope is to expand my repertoire in a way that increases a student's engagement (including time on task) and increases a student's retention of the information.

        I look forward to both the class and being a part of the this group. 


Cheryl Casey's picture

HI,  I'm Cheryl from Arizona Adult Ed. 

It’s exciting to see students engaged, as they will be using their cell phones or other mobile devices in the classroom, but I find them too small for truly profound engaged work.  I’d like to see them getting away from their phones and more into conversation with each other and with longer, more involved, challenging ideas and texts. The woman who used phones to teach her adult ed students about QR codes and broached math through a cell phone viewing of a Khan Academy video shows the use of technology to enter a subject and get the attention of student. Now the job would be to have them put down their phones for some of the time while they did some project-based work which involved discussion and problem solving. Just because phones are accessible and attractive to students doesn’t mean they’re the best tool for the job.

The challenge is in getting students engaged in something meaningful and keeping them engaged, some of which can be done through technology that incorporates thoughtful self-expression, elf-reflection and deep reading. This means taking the time to design really exciting project-based challenging work, or finding sites like PBS Learning Media that integrate some technology and the use of videos with good, thoughtful lessons. We need to be connecting students to relevant ideas that somehow inspire them to become intellectually curious and discerning. Technology may be a portal, but the challenge is to use it in a way that moves them to a deeper understanding of into the important topics and problems we face today. 

Glenda Rose's picture

Cheryl makes a really great point.  Technology is a tool and we should not let it replace good instructional design.  In my mind, the greatest use of cell phones is extending instruction outside of the limits of a traditional class.  For example, I've had students do photo scavenger hunts with their phones (in groups) and report back.  I'm attaching a link to an example of one of those here. (I hope it works.  If it doesn't, and you are interested, just email me at and I'll send you the file.)   The USA Learns courses, in case you aren't aware, are available on cell phones. Just be aware that the "application version" cannot be used to track student proxy (distance learning) hours.  But (and this is an important "but"), if you ask students to download and use a gaming browser (such as Photon or Puffin - I use Puffin), you can access the CLASS site in its full version, including videos that play.  Their activities are recorded and you can report those as proxy hours.   Again, this does not replace what I'm doing during class, but it does extend my students' opportunities for practice outside of class, and many of them really enjoy it.  I remember when I first introduced Quizlet how happy I was when students started asking, "Can I use this at home?"  Yes.  Yes, you can.  In fact, I'd be thrilled if you made your own cards and shared them with me and your classmates.  Then I can print those out (with the teacher account) and use them in the class, so I'm relating what the student does out of class with what we're doing in class.  The same thing goes for the use of social media.  A teacher's use of these tools should be connected to instructional goals, but they do not replace well-designed learning opportunities in a safe "practice" arena like the classroom. 


Cheryl Casey's picture

Students can create a recipe book online through Google Docs that can be updated and shared easily. They can also use Publisher.

Cheryl Casey's picture

Cynthia used a technology tool she thought her students would like that "looked cool."  However, students did not go there. So, she reassessed with the POST method and decided to use Facebook since that was the platform most of her students were already using. The advantages of using Facebook are that students naturally gravitated here anyway and were familiar with how it worked, and it was easy to post things there to share. The disadvantage is that it wasn't private, some students didn't have an account, and  not all students used it equally.





Cheryl Casey's picture

The teacher used Pinterest as a tool to help her students become more familiar with the computer and to create an autobiography. They also wrote about themselves and shared their autobiographies orally.

Cheryl Casey's picture

I generally  go about the process backwards as well. I find a cool platform that looks like it will be easy to teach students how to use, and that is versatile enough for several purposes (reading, WRITING, creativity learning). I think this can work if the plan is to use the platform regularly and in class, and I don;'t want to use phones or Facebook. 

Cheryl Casey's picture

After looking at the list of tools for each category, I would like to explore student podcasts and pinterest for ESL students. I also saw that we can re-purpose and create QR codes for education by using the codes to access online sites or videos without having to enter lengthy web addresses. That was cool. 

Laura Smart's picture

My name is Laura Smart. I am an adult basic education teacher in Huntington and Warren. I have only been in adult education for 1 year and have already fallen in love with it! I come from an 18 year career in special education and ready for a change. I am currently working on my Masters Degree in adult education & executive development at Ball State University. Once I have completed my degree, I hope to assist with teacher trainings, curriculum development and grant writing. 

Laura Smart's picture

My students, surprisingly, have access to more technology than I do! They have smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. however, they do not always know how to use them. I think with some of my students it is more of a "status" symbol for them among their friends. My students are able to mostly play music, check emails and a few of the students will work on websites which I provide for them to study for the HSE. Other students use these devices for social media. They keep in contact with their family and peers. 

Christopher Cooper's picture

Does anyone have any good examples of Wikis in use for classroom teaching and student interaction? This is like Wikipedia but for an individual class. The technology behind it I'm talking about is MediaWiki, which is an open source tool for creating a Wiki environment. Can you share a link to the Wiki?


David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Chris and others,

On April 23, 2015 - 7:33pm Christopher Cooper wrote:

Does anyone have any good examples of Wikis in use for classroom teaching and student interaction? This is like Wikipedia but for an individual class. The technology behind it I'm talking about is MediaWiki, which is an open source tool for creating a Wiki environment. Can you share a link to the Wiki?

I have a couple of ideas to suggest, and hope this spurs others to make suggestions of wikis for classroom teaching and student interaction.

1) WikiHow , as the name suggests, is a wiki with articles on how to do or make things. It is not specifically for adult basic skills learners; however, a few years ago I heard the founder of WikiHow say that then their most prolific contributor was an older woman from Oakland, California who was not a strong writer but who knew how to do so many things that WikiHow volunteers eagerly awaited her next article than they gladly edited. I believe that WikiHow still uses a standard format for its articles that might be useful for any writing assignment that involves explaining how to do something or requires writing directions or instructions. A teacher who introduced this format could then suggest to some of the students that they consider light editing, as needed, and posting to WikiHow. Having a real audience for one's writing is a powerful motivation to write.  If someone here tries this, using WikiHow, please let us know what happens.

2) A few years ago I developed a writing wiki for adult learners. It hasn't been well used much, but still exists. Those who want to use it are welcome to. It's called the Writing Together Wiki

With it, students can:

  • Write articles for a school or program newsletter
  • Write a letter, for example to a legislator or other policy maker or to a newspaper editor
  • Make a brochure, for example a health brochure
  • Write a literary journal
  • Together, as a group, edit a piece of writing
  • Write individual letters, or a group letter, to a friend or classmate
  • Have a discussion with learners in another class, in another part of the country or the world
  • And more

I hope to hear other writing wiki suggestions here!

David J. Rosen

Technology and Learning CoP Moderator


Christopher Cooper's picture

Excellent info, David. Thank you!

I've looked into the WikiHow format a bit more and I think it may work well for my purposes.


David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Writing Colleagues,

Please take a look at the Writing Together wiki. I am considering updating it with current examples of adult learners' group writings. If you have some examples, please email them, or links to them, to me at .

Check out Writing Together, and WikiHow for ideas on student group writing projects, and let us know what you think.


David J. Rosen


rebker's picture

I am a vocational Instructor teaching basic computer skills, typing, Microsoft Office, and Introductio to business. My options are limited to computers only due to the correctional setting. However, as we have a Local Area Network, I have created a Web environment that is comfortable for those students with Web experience, and a training setting for those who have not utilized the internet. By making it a paperless environment, the class is run very much like an online class, with the exception of having instant help via Instructor or tutor. As it is an open-entry/open-exit class, my students are at various places in the program. The class is as multimedia as I can make it utilizing the resources I have available. The demonstration  of the students reaching their goals is when the perform their final project. The final project consists of presenting a multimedia business presentation to the class. They are required to utilize all aspects of Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, & Publisher. The creation of the final project is totally up to the student and they receive no help from the instructor or tutors.  It is a cumulative of all they have covered in the class including Business Writing. Also by touching on the public speaking piece, they have the opportunity to speak before a group, which I have found is usually a first.

MBautista's picture

Sounds very familiar...  

I only do Computer Literacy (basic office, typing skills and Microsoft's Digital Literacy Certification).  I don't have them present (currently), but I have them do 'online' research for their presentation via Wikipedia for Schools (from RACHEL).


David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Kerry, 

Thanks for this clear description of how you use a computer network in a prison education setting to simulate a work setting. I especially like your final, project. You have identified a very important area of skills that often gets overlooked in adult basic education because it cannot be easily be tested: oral presentation skills.

Do you introduce the project early on so that students know that the skills they are learning will be put to use in an integrative final project?  

Are you allowed to upload education videos to your LAN? If so, do your students use any of the free, online videos to help them learn aspects of the MS Office suite?

Does your LAN have an internal email program that students can use for project-related purposes? (I am guessing for security reasons that it doesn't.)  

I understand that some prison education programs are using "prison proof" electronic tablets. (There have been discussions about that in the LINCS Corrections CoP that you and others could find by using the LINCS Search feature, with the search terms "tablet" and "corrections.) Is your facility considering using tablets?

Thanks for completing your profile. It was helpful to know a little more about you.

David J. Rosen

Technology and Learning CoP Moderator


MBautista's picture


    because we support our own classroom network, we've been able to do pretty much what we want - I do try to monitor the other classrooms, that the teachers aren't putting copyrighted material on the network.  We also have the luxury of having staff computers in the classrooms that we're able to project 'live' sites from.

    We do a number of the NCCER courses here and there are tasks in the Core Class that require the use of email.  We've pretty much simulated that for most of my tenure, but I put up an actual email server a year or two ago.  We had some issues with it, but with tweaks as we ran into them, I feel pretty confident of what we have now.  Every six months or so I'll have one of the Officers freak a little and I have to answer the standard question "They don't have Internet access, right?"

    Our system just opened up to offender devices this month.  The current device (JP5 mini) only has about a 4" screen, which we felt wasn't sufficient to attempt to use.  The vendor has a 10" tablet that they have been working on that we plan to investigate.  I'm planning on attending the national Correctional Education Association meeting in July as part of that research.

Here is a review of the earlier JP4 device -


Diana Satin's picture

Thank you, rebkr and Marshall, for describing your work-arounds for prison settings. I do PD and hear about the frustrations educators have resulting from the limitations in prisons, so I appreciate hearing approaches I could point them to.

A million years ago, WebWhacker was popular. It looks like Grab-a-site is the new incarnation. Do folks find either of those useful? 

MBautista's picture


    I've seen those, but have primarily used the HTTrack copier.  When I first started I was making an effort to try to grab existing sites.  Since then, I've encountered sites that make their information available offline for places with low-bandwidth, which was perfect for us.  Between these packaged sites I've found that there isn't too much that I feel that I need to try to copy.


KA-Lite -

Goodwill Foundation -

Fair Shake -

Idaho Dept of Labor - (this one we had to pay for)



Diana Satin's picture

Hi Marshall-

I really appreciate your telling us about these great resources. I'm noting them to share with colleagues working in prisons. 



Tram Ngo's picture
  • Introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Tram Ngo, and I am an ESL Program Coordinator as well as ESL teacher.

  • What technology devices do your students have access to? What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?

Due to our limited budget, the technology devices our students have access to tend to be their own personal devices. Most of our students have smartphones. In spite of the many functions a typical smartphone has, our students tend to use their phones only to call friends and family.

We do have one student who has an iPad and uses it to connect to the Internet. The iPad is very user-friendly, and she finds it more accessible than a desktop computer.

Tram Ngo's picture
  • What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

Cynthia tried to implement two technology tools: 1) an online platform and 2) Facebook. It was advantageous for Cynthia's students to use Facebook, rather than the online platform, since the majority of the students (85% of them) are already Facebook users. It was one less place the students had to go to. Nevertheless, not all of Cynthia's students used Facebook with the same frequency. Every online tool has its observable benefits and shortcomings.


Tram Ngo's picture

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

Nell's integration of Pinterest in the lesson enabled students to take an interactive role in developing their autobiographies. With the help of a social platform such as Pinterest, the students were able to select and choose images that represented them, such as images of their home countries and images of their favorite foods. Gathering images and pinning them onto the boards gave the students the opportunity to be makers of online content, and give online viewers an inside look at the students and their view and knowledge of the world. 

Tram Ngo's picture

After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?

In the past, I approached technology with a more instructor-centric model. I thought up of lessons related to technology but was never cognizant that my technology biases were not being recognized. Cynthia Bell's case example of using Facebook instead of another online platform was illustrative of meeting the students where they were at. Sometimes as instructors, we have ambitious ideas of what the lesson should be. Forgotten underneath all of those ideas and ambitions is the student, and what he/she knows and what he/she can work with during the lesson. The POST model really brought this reminder home.

Tram Ngo's picture
  • Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool? Nell Eckersley was using e-mail. It seemed like she was comfortable using e-mail.


  • Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool? Most of the students had pre-existing e-mail addresses, but there were some who didn't have any. In order to get the latter group of students abreast with the rest of the class, Nell had to teach them how to pick a good e-mail address and a good password.


  • Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How? E-mail deepened student learning and had great applicability and relevance to the students' lives. As Nell recounted, some Pakistani female students who had never used e-mail before, now were able to communicate with family and friends back in their native countries. 


  • Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use? I think e-mail was a good initial start to the unit on city governance and ways for members of the community to address their needs and wants. 
Mary Scholer's picture

We are fortunate to have a computer for each student and internet access. Ninety percent of my students have cell phones with internet access. Eighty percent of my  students do not have home computers. To search for information,Google is the most popular search engine. 

Facebook is a popular social media choice but the computers in our class do not let students on certain sites and Facebook is one of them . That is a blessing sometimes because it eliminates the temptation for students  going on the site and getting distracted. However,there are so many you tubes I would love to access but can not. Previously, I had students in a computer room and Facebook was a constant distraction . It can be a double edged sword .


rwessel51's picture

There are numerous free apps for downloading YouTube videos for offline viewing. They've been around for a while and nobody has put a stop to them. On the other hand, some people and companies are extremely aggressive about enforcing copyrights. On yet another hand, the Internet provides an incredible number of resources for helping people lift themselves out of poverty and ignorance, and it can be considered discriminatory and unethical when people who wish to take advantage of these resources can not because they have limited access to internet-connected devices and are prevented from accessing this information otherwise. Read this article for the caveats:,2817,2476563,00.asp. What works for purely private use may also work under fair use. 

Mary Scholer's picture

My name is Mary Scholer and I am an Adult Education Teacher  in Albany, NY

Technology devices that my students have access to are cell phones and our class computers.  Ninety percent of my students have access to a cell phone. The students have calls come in but they mostly text.

 Students  use their phones to take notes.  For example  students take  pictures of math formulas that  I have on the classroom walls .Some students take pictures of schedules that are posted on the door rather then have to write them out. 

In my classroom we are fortunate enough to have computers and internet service for all my students. Most students do not have computers at home.

Everyday my  students use the classroom computer to review math concepts that they just learned. 

 The site they go to is Kahn Academy. If we learned about percentage the students log on to and go to the math percents section and practice math skills. If they still don't understand the site explains the concept very concisely. 

Students also regularly look up words on their cell phones that they don't understand.

Google is the most popular search engine they use regularly. Another everyday task students use is checking their Facebook account on their phones.

Our computers in class don't allow access to Facebook and I find this very helpful.



Mary Scholer's picture

Some creative ways to integrate technology into the strategy for the final activity would be to have my students use our class computers which has Microsoft Word. Most of students do not have home computers.I would have them go to Microsoft Word and then they would go to the "file" menu . Students would scroll down to "new".Then I would have them go to  "templates" When students get to templates they will type in "recipes".

There are nice templates and students will have a sense of ownership when they type their own name on their personal recipe. Students can type the ingredients using one font and then the instructions for the recipe in another font so to differentiate the ingredients from instructions. They could also put the ingredient amounts in bold. Then they can copy and paste the recipe and email it to themselves or friends. They could also post the recipe on their Facebook account. We also could print the recipes out and exchange them with one another. Since my students do not use computers other then in class I think this could be an assignment that would meet them where they are at technologically.


Mary Scholer's picture

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

Cynthia tried assigning a writing lesson in order to prepare her students for the essay part of the GED exam.

She reminded me of myself going ahead an giving an online platform without stopping to consider where the students were at.  Cynthia learned the on line platform wasn't working with her students. Cynthia observed that most of her students had facebook accounts. The POST METHOD made her take into account who her students were instead of forcing a tool on them. She had the students do writing in a FACEBOOK group. She observed also that the students who wrote the least in her class wrote much more in the FACEBOOK group. 

One limitation FACEBOOK has is that there are many distractions such as advertisements and chats.

An observed benefit of FACEBOOK is the students were open to using FACEBOOK because most of them had accounts and enjoyed it.The students that didn't! have accounts were  agreeable to joining. 

A benefit of using the online platform tool is that the lesson is very structured. You don't have the temptation to wander off the topic. The disadvantage is that you can't always be as creative. 

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning

Nell was very creative in her ESL class using Pinterest. I never would have thought to use Pinterest with my students. I use it for my personal use but thought what a great Ida to use in class. Most of my students have email addresses and know how to create passwords.

there is one exception in my class and he is an ABE student. For him I would have to give him one on one tutoring to help him establish an email address. It seemed Nell was very comfortable using email and Pinterest.

pinterst enhanced the EHsL students learning because they had pictures serve has another type of media in understanding vocabulary words and the history of fellow students in their class. 



Maryann Allen's picture

My students use smart phones, ipads, and desk top computers.  Most students use facebook to keep in tough with friends and family.  They all do some kind of school work on a device, either to study for the GED, complete course work for high school classes, or to learn basic computer skills.  Only one stated that they paid bills and got updates from their healthcare provider.

Paul Rogers's picture


I teach adult ESL, and, in one Blended class a year ago, students would come in during the first hour to study their English lessons on Pumarosa, and, during the second hour, we would review lessons around a table. 

At a certain point I introduced other lessons on the internet, such as studying for the Driver's test. 

I finally set up two free websites, using WIX and Wiki Spaces, put up videos on Youtube, and added lessons on my Facebook page: songs, pronunciation and grammar. 

Now I am learning how to covert everything for cell phone use. Soon there will be a version for Pumarosa. 

I believe that the use of cell phones is very important for adult English learners because they work and have families, and may have problems attending classes. Mothers of infants cannot attend classes usually, and, unfortunately, many programs still do not offer child-care.

A Blended Distance-Learning approach to adult education, based on technology, someday might be the norm, with many more people enrolling in classes.








Maryann Allen's picture

Students could create a potential blog post about their recipe.  Using a web image search they could look for food pictures that look like their recipe.  Student could also take pictures of the actual recipe the next time it is made at home.  For each entry they could tell the story of how the recipe became their favorite or how their family began making the dish.

Students would be using internet search tools, camera, some form of transfer of data for the pictures, and publishing software.

Student could create a Power Point or other presentation program.  As with the first activity, students can use a web image search they could look for food pictures that look like their recipe.  Student could also take pictures of the actual recipe the next time it is made at home.  For each entry they could tell the story of how the recipe became their favorite or how their family began making the dish.

Wyclifff Coward's picture


Hello! Everyone. I teach adult ESOL. Students in my classes have access to cellphones, smartphones, chromebooks, and notebooks. Mostly students use their cellphone and smartphones to access the Web, look up the translation of word, get the pronunciation of words in English, and to email an assignment.

  • After reading the Let’s Become Chefs! final activity, what are some creative ways to integrate technology into the strategy for the final activity? List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.

They can use a common-access website that uploads documents (google documents or windows 365). I am thinking of creating a class wiki and letting students letting students share different recipes. For the end of term get together, I can have students use the class wiki to plan what  foods and drinks to have  write  what they will each contribute. This will allow for active participation and each student will get to read the wiki and to write on it.

In her ABE class, Cynthia used Facebook  to create a class Group . Since 85% of her students were already on Facebook. Cynthia had tried using an online platform before but her students were not going to it. The observed benefits were that students were willing to go use this site once their accounts were made private. Students got a space where they could meet without being Facebook "friends." They were able to upload documents, write in other program formats, as well as upload their work. All in all, students who were not so inclined to write at first were the most users of this group which Cynthia created just for her class. The limitations to the Facebook group are that students would all need to join the group so as to see and reply to work submitted to the group. Another limitation is that they would all need to know how to upload the different documents if the need to share their work.

Nell's use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhanced and extended student learning by allowing students to become better acquainted with fellow classmates' home countries. They were able to work collaboratively on finding favourite  foods. They were also able to use technology in many different ways such as searching for images, uploading, and writing.  

In the past I just used whatever technology available in the classroom to the best of my ability. However, after listening to the reflections to the reflections of the two instructors and reflecting upon the guidelines in this Module, I would surely be giving to P.O.S.T. I also plan to become more familiar with the features of the technologies available and to explore the many possible ways of using them in to better student learning.

After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools  used in an educational context, I would like to explore using Weebly,Tumblr, and Google Docs in my lessons. The ways mentioned are new to me since I never used them in my lessons. I am thinking that an online class community can have their own Facebook account. This is a way of repurposing one tool for another. The community will meet but through Facebook.

Nell used emails and Gmails with her students to communicate with the mayor. This at first din not meet students' existing needs since many of them  hadn't email accounts and Gmail l restricted to a certain number the amount of addresses which could be used form the same IP address. I think that opting for each student to have use their individual emails to write the mayor was  did not meet their existing needs since they didn't even have accounts. What could have been done instead was to create a class email account then write one letter signed by all the students. In this way it would not have been so frustrating when Gmail restricted the number using the same IP address. I think that using did eventually improve learning since the students learnt how to set up an email account and to communicate using emails.

Cynthia' s use of  smart phones I think did meet student's existing needs. The idea of creating QR codes to access Khan Academy was also a good one as her program doesn't have a computer lab.


Thank you,



litchick66's picture
  •  Apply the POST Method in the Technology Integration Action Plan

    • ​People:  One-to-one tutoring.  Student, Ms. A., is working towards her High School Equivalency Diploma.  Middle aged female with transportation barriers to attending a regular adult education classroom. Good technology skills, although hit-and-miss on occasion and she could learn much more, she is highly "connected" with a smart phone, tablet, some Internet search and some word processing skills.  While she is the only learner completing the project, I have designed it with hopes that it is reproducible in an adult ed classroom.
    • Objectives: 1) to examine both sides of the issue of Indian Removal in the 1830s, including legislative events leading up to the Trail of Tears; 2) to learn the difference between primary and secondary resources.  Learner(s) will be able to present an expository paper, a speech or a visual representation of events leading up to & including the Trail of Tears
    • Strategy:  1) to pique interest in two- or more-sided issues with the technology based introduction to controversial subjects and subsequent discussion; 2) Allow learner to satisfy her desire to learn about Native Americans by research on the Internet, while requiring the location of primary and secondary government documents related to the subject. 
    • Technology: 1) (on smart phones and computers) used to introduce the idea of controversial subjects, with subsequent discussion hopefully leading to the conclusion that there can be more than one plausible answer to any controversial issue. 2) Desktop computers with Internet access; 3) Smart phone access to apps such as and the; 4) Smart Board for Introduction to subject matter (for Projecting questions and results to PollEverywhere; and to introduce a PBS YouTube video for viewing as whole group from the SMART Board.
  • Part 2 Planning for Technology in Technology Integration Action Plan 
    • ​Where am I now?:  1) I was not as prepared as I thought for using with my learner.  I stumbled because I had a participant's account I had forgotten about, and a presenter's account which I had prepared for this lesson; 2: SMART Board,  of course, not all Adult Ed program have access to a SMART Board.  Perhaps there is other technology, simple laptop and projector to accomplish the goals I had for classroom reproduction of this lesson
    • Where do I want to be?:  I would like more experience with laptop/projectors and SMART Board technology.  While I work for a small literacy non-profit, I would like to benefit the AE community with some of my ideas that could be adapted to the AE classroom.
    • Timeline for PD and Implementation: I have been exposed to but would like further professional development on the use of SMART Boards.   I have noticed their use on the local weather reports.  It would be nice to bring the latest into and Adult Ed classroom.
    • Assessment:  Informally assess the increase in talk about technology, its use in everyday life and in the classroom among learners; where, how, why to use technology and when learner want to use technology in their learning.
  • Part 3 Reflecting on Integrating Technology in Tech Integration Action Plan
    • Results:  Learner (Mrs. A) is very independent and completed most of the project on her own.  She was more interested in learning about Native American History and culture than any events leading up to the Trail of Tears. 
    • Change or Improve: primary and secondary government resources needed to be addressed and broken down into "common language" in separate or mini-lessons to make the documents more understandable.  This will be addressed in future lessons with Mrs. A.
Maryann Allen's picture

Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?

I would like to explore Bitly and QR Codes.  I had never thought of using Pinterest for education.  I once started a Weebly and would like to get back into it.  Podcasts could be used both for students to demonstrate knowledge as well as a reference for other student to gain knowledge.


  • Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool? 

  • Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool? 

  • Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How? 

  • Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use?

    Nell used email and seemed very comfortable with creating a new email address and sending and receiving emails.

    Many of the students had email address already but did not know how to access their account from a public computer.  Some did not have an address and needed to create one.  When the lesson was presented a second time there was more time spent preparing to go to the computer lab beforehand.  They had students bring passwords in the day before, and had students without address create several to choose from before getting on the computer.

    Students now submit homework assignments via email when they cannot attend class.  They also exchange information with fellow students about notes and assignments.

    Email was a good choice for getting students involved with politics in their area.  Nell could have used Facebook.

    Cynthia used smart phones, Bitly, and QR codes to view a Khan Academy video on whether to buy or rent a house.  She heard about Bitly at a conference and it sounded like she was familiar with QR codes.

    Most of the students had smart phones and were willing to share with those students who did not.  Only one of student had ever used a QR code before.  Cynthia worked with the student in steps to teach the technology.  They talked about apps, QR codes, watching the video, and researching available homes for rent or sale.

    Students learned many things other than how to calculate whether to rent or buy a home.  The student with phones became more confident is using them and became instructors to others.  All students learned that the phones could be used for research and learning in addition to making calls and playing games.

    I think this was a good use of technology.  I am not sure if shortening the URL was necessary or a QR code could be made from original. Getting the student comfortable navigating Khan Academy would have been a benefit.


Christina Jo.'s picture

Hello everyone.  My name is Christina and I teach beginner ESL at DIIRI.  I have taught ESL to elementary students for the last three years overseas.  This is my first time teaching adult learners and I am excited to see how I can integrate technology to help them learn.  I used technology overseas quite frequently and found it to be extremely successful.  I am hopeful I can learn ways to integrate technology at my current job.\

Most of my students have access to cell phones.  Just recently in a lesson they told me they use google maps for directions (usually in their first language).  I was able to use the computer lab and have students write down directions they found on google maps in English.  It was a great lesson because some students were already familiar with the program and could help others who were not.  Some students were even looking up directions in their home country which brought in a nice cultural aspect.

As for computers, not all my students have access.  I find it difficult to teach in the computer labs because their levels vary greatly.  I end up running around trying to get my students caught up.  I hope to find tools that can be user friendly for all levels.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Christina,

Thanks for your great introduction. Since you are interested in cell phones, and possibly also smartphones, you may want to use the LINCS "Search" feature to read through some of the recent discussions here on the use of cell phones, smartphones and tablets in adult basic skills classes.

Tell us more about what kinds of student tools you are hoping to find.

David J. Rosen

Moderator, Technology and Learning Community of Practice



Mary Scholer's picture

One thing I just learned is that I first have to take into consideration where each student is at in my adult education class. I want so much for them to get their high school equivalency diploma that I often fail to realize I must slow down . By that I mean that I have to see where each stuent is at and work from there. 

Mary Scholer's picture

Most of my students have smart phones.

They use these phones to look up vocabulary words, read emails,send emails , get directions Facebook,and listen to music.  We have computers in our classroom so the students who do not have cell phones Use the computers to sign up for an email address and use many sites the smart phone users access. 

Jacqueline Vulcano's picture

Hi -

For my thesis project, I'm developing an online teacher training course that helps in-service teachers implement computer skills into beginner adult ESL classes (SPL 0-3) using free tech tools/websites. Does anyone know of any reading websites that would be appropriate for beginner adult ELLs? I'm particularly looking for sites that use assistive technology such as highlighting words as they are read or adjusting the audio speed. This is all I've found thus far: (The sample issue is free.)


Jacqueline Vulcano

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Jacqueline, and others,

Some of the free websites, from the Literacy List's Easy Reading for Adult Learners page may be suitable for ELLs; some have been designed for them. Nearly all were designed for low-literate adults, not children, who want to improve their reading skills. There are other websites and other resources on that page that I have not included here because they are delivered by email or because they are not free. You might want to check them out, too. The following websites are in alphabetical order.

American Stories for English Learners

56 american stories in Voice of America Special English. Includes the text and an audio file of the story being read in a human voice

Best of the Reader

" A series of (Canadian) e-books for adult literacy and English as a second language learners. This site has 14 e-books, a teacher’s guide, and a calendar of special days and holidays for 2012. Each e-book has 8 to 10 stories, and each story has exercises and activities to go with it. There is also an answer key in each e-book. The stories, recipes, puzzles, and other material are from past issues of The Westcoast Reader (1982-2009), a newspaper for adults who are improving their English reading skills.You have permission to download, print, and distribute all the material on this site. To view and print the e-books, you may need to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader."

California Distance Learning Project

Articles and follow-up questions at several different levels of difficulty on many topics.

CNN Learning Resources

Recent CNN articles on current events and an extensive archive of articles on compelling contemporary topics (such as abortion, gun control, euthanasia) in  a full version and an edited, easier-to-read version.

Center for the Study of Adult Literacy's free online library for adult learners

The Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (CSAL) offers a great free library of adult literacy readings. The readings have three levels: Easier, Medium and Harder, and include these topics:

health; food; babies; children ages 2-12; teenagers; families; advice; non-fiction (real life) stories; fiction (made-up stories); jobs and work; money; history; science; and other.  (Choose Library)

Elizabeth Claire's Easy English News


Hundreds of very short stories and easier stories for ESL beginners. Audio -- an actual human voice reading the story --is an option at the top of each story.

Marshall Adult Education

Leveled reading selections that are appropriate for and valued by adult learners. These materials, combined with the research-proven strategies of repeated reading and guided oral reading, aid in building learners' fluency and comprehension skills. The materials correspond to Casas 200 - 235. Passages can be "auded" (heard) as well as read.


Includes articles at various levels that can be read online or printed out.
"Newsela is a site that lists very popular news articles for readers. The power of the site is that you get to choose the reading levels of the recent news. A beginning reader can start at very low levels and as you click to increase each level you can see the depth, complexity, vocabulary and sentence structure change with each setting. It might be nice to have readers of all levels read the same article and then have them discuss what they understood from the article. Another usage might be for someone to read at their comfort level then try the next level up so they can start to experience some of the differences. As they get more comfortable with what that "next level" looks like, the student can then start a new article at that next level and revert back to the old level to verify understanding." Ed Latham, in a post on June 19, 2015 to the LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education Community of Practice,

Simple English Wikipedia

Wikipedias are places where many people are working together to make encyclopedias in many languages. Writers use simple English words and simple writing structures. There are over 6,000 pages in the Simple English Wikipedia. All of the pages are free to use.

Story Share

A collaborative digital literacy hub that provides relevant and readable content for students who read below grade level beyond elementary school. Books can be searched by grade interest level  or "Post high school" and by level (GLE, Lexile, or Fountas and Pinnell.) There are six  levels of difficulty (K-5). Content is for children, young adults and adults.


David J. Rosen


Jeannie Huyser's picture

Thank you so much for this wealth of information.



Alecia Ohm's picture

Hi Jaqueline, one of the instructors in our program is using Read Naturally for her adult ESL students. From what she described, the online system uses visual and auditory cues to guide students through different reading exercises. It may be worth a look if you are doing research on assistive technology.


Evette Fortenberry's picture

My name is Evette Fortenberry and I serve as an Adult Educator for City Colleges of Chicago. My students encompass the TDL (Transportation, Distribution & Logistics) GED Bridge.

The majority of my students have access to smartphones, in-class laptops, personal tablets & laptops as well as at-home and library desktops. Some of the tasks they are using include Google searches, email checks, school homepage reading, GEDi (i-Pathways), GEDTS services and more. I do my best to include technology in all sections of learning for my classes.

Evette Fortenberry's picture

Some additional ways to implement technology into this project are listed below:





Andrea Grunden's picture

My name is Andrea. I teach an Adult Education Reading class.

The majority of my students have smart phones. Daily, they use these to access Facebook, e-mail and to text. A small percentage of my students own some sort of tablet and less than half have access to a computer at home. While some use their tablets to read, most students main use of these is for social networking or gaming. 

A couple of ways to integrate technology into the final activity for Let's Become Chefs! would be to create an e-book of the recipe or use a closed Facebook group to share the recipes. An e-book would allow the students to work on the design process and set up. Facebook is a familiar platform to most students, so providing a different way of using it could be very beneficial.

Cynthia used a writing platform but found that students didn't really access it outside of class. By using Facebook as a format for sharing the students work she found that all of the students engaged in the activity. The upside to using Facebook is that it is one most students are readily familiar with and provides the opportunity to discuss and comment. The downside is that it doesn't necessarily provide collaboration. While you can make comments, there isn't the opportunity to work together beyond that. A blogging format provides more options for setting up the writing (design, etc), but not all students are familiar with the set up and it can be a drawback that they aren't familiar with the format.

Nell's students used Pinterest to collect pictures for their autobiographies. The use of Pinterest helped students engage with technology in a new way and created an excitement. Many of the students went above and beyond for this project. It also provided the opportunity to have students work in partners. Having a student more proficient work with a student less proficient benefits both students.

I have always been a fan of using technology in the classroom. I enjoy what it has to offer, however, I never really understood how social media could be used in the classroom. After listening to the reflections of these two students, I have an understanding of how all kinds of technology can be used. I also see the great value in viewing the integration of technology from the POST method.

I am familiar with most of the technology listed in the printout. I think the one I would like to explore more thoroughly, especially in the context of my class, would be QR codes. I have used these as a consumer, but never thought of the benefit they can provide in a classroom setting. With many of my students using smartphones, this tool seems to be a good choice. Evernote or Google docs will also provide a great opportunity for students to revise and edit others work. 

Nell used e-mail to add a new dimension to her previous lesson. She seemed very comfortable with using e-mail herself, however found that many of her students were not familiar with the basics of e-mail. During the first lesson, Nell found that many of her students were less prepared for using e-mail than she had anticipated. At that point, she had the students start from the beginning. The next time through the lesson she was prepared to have the students start "further back" in the process. This was a great use of technology and by providing these students with the skills and opportunity to use e-mail she has opened the door to technology opportunities. 

Andrea Grunden's picture

Part One:

People: The majority of my students are fairly computer literate. While most don't have access to a computer at home, almost all have access to a smart phone and to computers at the library or other centers. One or two students aren't as proficient in regards to technology. Any project will require more help on an individual basis.

Objective: By the end of the unit, students will be able to brainstorm ideas, compose an organized paragraph including: topic sentence, two statements, explanation/examples, and a clincher sentence, revise and edit the original paragraph. 


- Model and then practice different brainstorming activities

- Model and practice paragraph organizational structure

- Model and practice drafting a paragraph

- Model and practice revising paragraph

- Model and practice editing paragraph

Technology: Using google docs will provide students with a way to save their notes and progress. It will also provide students the ability to access their work from any computer (not just the ones provided in class).

Where I am now: 

I have used google docs and google drive before. I feel fairly comfortable setting up a document for myself.

Where do I want to be: 

I would like to be more proficient in my use of this technology. I believe exploring what these two options have to offer or possibly taking a brief "how-to" course on them would provide me greater familiarity with all it has to offer and how to connect this technology with students. 


This lesson is coming up soon within my lessons, so I think I should plan on at least watching a video on how to within the next week or so.


This technology will improve students understanding of keyboarding, word processing and document storage.


While many of my students had some familiarity with computers, there were more than I thought that will need more hands on instruction before completing this activity.


I will plan extra class time before beginning the writing process for students to set up an e-mail account and become familiar with the set up.

biancal's picture

What technology devices do your students have access to? What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?

My students are intermediate ESL students.  Some students have computers at home and some have limited skills in relation to using a computer.  All students have smart phones and most are comfortable navigating social media such as Facebook.

Micaela Allison-Shropshire's picture

I really like the POST method using Pinterest! I started Pinterest for arts and crafts ideas. Then I searched for education ideas. WOW! What a gold mine. I have downloaded many free education ideas in many areas. Now I have a new tool to use in teaching POST!

Maureen Whelan's picture

In a recent statewide survey, 93% of the students, both ABE and ESL,  in our Adult Education programs responded that they have access to a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone to be able to complete out of the classroom learning. When asked about the type of technology available, the responses were: smartphones - 65% of ABE students and 50% of ESL students; tablets - 34% of ABE and 28% of ESL students; laptops - 60% of ABE and 40% of ESL students; and desktops - 35% of ABE and 22% of ESL students.  However when queried  about access to the Internet outside of the classroom, 94% of ABE students and 85% of ESL students could access information via the Internet. 

Kathy_Tracey's picture

Hi Maureen, 

Where did you come across this information? I'd love to share it. I think it speaks to a huge opportunity to provide students with extra learning opportunities outside of the traditional class. However, access to technology does not always equal access to quality leanring resources that are available online. Our role then becomes more of curators, finding relevent content and organizing it for students to have easy access. 

Maureen Whelan's picture

Having students work on a project as a group through the use of technology allows students to address content objectives while enhancing their technological skills and learning how to communicate appropriately in a virtual environment.  We are beginning to use Schoology as a platform for student lessons.  For the recipe assignment, students could each create a recipe aligned with rubric requirements while also reviewing and offering comments on each other's recipe.  Consequently, a student could be create, self-evaluate (based on his/her own comments on others' recipes) and revise his/her own recipe during the one project.  The process would include original creation, revisions and chats.  The project could conclude with a student survey querying what new skills the student used and how communications via chats compared with in person chats in addition to the creation of a cookbook - food for the tummy and food for the mind! 

Barbara Baker's picture

Everyone I surveyed has a cell phone, except one student. The one student who doesn't have one is an older woman and she comes from a lower income background. I recently started looking at a program called Remind where I can send students "reminders" about things coming up. So far, I have some students signed up and I will use that to let them know about major events. Not all of the students can accept text messaging on their phones though, so it won't work for everyone.


David J. Rosen's picture

Technology and Learning Colleagues,

The problems that Barbara Baker has described in her effort to integrate technology in her classroom: 1) that some students may not have a computer or portable digital device, and 2) that some students who may have cell phones don't have the sms text messaging feature are common in our field. Can anyone offer solutions to either or both of them?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

rwessel51's picture

Voice broadcasting might be an alternative for use with learners whose phones don't have SMS capabilities. I've never used it, so I can't say if or how it will work in an educational environment. Here's a link to one service: you do a Google search on "voice broadcasting," you'll find a few more providers.

David J. Rosen's picture

Thanks Bob for that suggestion. If you -- or others -- try it out, let us know how it works.

Does anyone else have other possible solutions to these problems that Barbara Baker raised: 1) that some students may not have a computer or portable digital device, and 2) that some students who may have cell phones don't have the sms text messaging feature are common in our field?

Barbara, here are two possible solutions to the first problem:

1. local libraries and possibly community computing centers offer low-income people and others who do not have computers the opportunity to use them there for free.

2. The EveryoneOn adult education partnership http://www.everyoneon/adulted may be available where your student lives. She is eligible as an adult basic skills student, and as an adult education teacher you are also eligible, for:

1) discounts on purchase of desktop and laptop computers,

2) inexpensive (approximately $10/month) broadband Internet access, and

3) wireless hotspots that enable a wireless Internet connection for example at home or in a classroom.

Also, a few libraries , for example in New York City and in Providence R.I.,  lend library users hotspots, Chromebooks and/or electronic tablets, often for six months or more. Anyone know of libraries in other communities that do that now?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

Barbara Baker's picture

David, thank you for your comments. I really appreciate the link you shared. I have another student in HSED who can't seem to get to our site so I will share this information with her and maybe she can afford the cheaper internet price.

Barbara Baker

Angie Reid's picture

Hello, all. I'm Angie Reid, an adult educator at an ABE/GED program. As a longtime technophile and admirer of shiny things, I come close to giddiness when I think of the educational possibilities that open via the mere click of a mouse or tap on a screen. I want my learners to be voracious but savvy consumers of information. It's that desire that keeps me in exploration mode, checking out this app or surveying that web-based tool.

The majority of my learners are technophiles too, to one degree or another. Virtually every student has a cellphone -- well, except for the 16 year old whose mom confiscated it as part of a disciplinary action. About 85% of our learners have home access to PCs, laptops, and/or tablets, and the Web. For those who don't have access at home, our site has a large computer lab adjacent to the classroom as well as a student "den" with another bank of machines. The public library is just across the street; yet another bank of machines is located there. We set a day aside each week for one-on-one work with learners struggling with everything from fractions to technology. We get takers on the fraction help but not so much on the technology help.

Access is available. Support is available. I don't think time is though. Most of our learners are employed (or underemployed) adults with children and sometimes even grandchildren. If they don't have home access to technology, they may not seek it out simply because there are scarcely enough hours to manage regular classes, let alone an extra trip to center. What all that means to me as an educator is that any tool we use must (1) lead to developing targeted skills and (2) be simple enough to be mastered within our existing classroom hours by even the most technologically challenged.

As you can probably tell, I am absorbing the POST method and truly appreciate the dose of reality it brings. I have selected a lesson, and now I am off to find the technology that supports my objectives.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Angie, and others,

Thanks for introducing yourself Angie. It sounds like you have technology enthusiasm as well as a teaching situation in which you and your students have good access to technology.   Regarding the time concern you raised, many teachers reading this would nod in agreement. Recently, some teachers have found good smart phone apps that adult learners can often access for short (or long) periods of time when they are on public transportation, waiting for an appointment, in a line at the post office,  or in some cases (think of security guards or some restaurant workers in the mid-afternoon slower time) at work.  A few years ago I created a Pinterest account of adult basic skills apps.. I haven't updated it recently, but if I got some encouragement and some good app suggestions from LINCS members, I would!

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

Angie Reid's picture

After reading the Let’s Become Chefs! final activity, what are some creative ways to integrate technology into the strategy for the final activity? List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.

Students could create free “padlets” at Padlet is an online virtual bulletin board where teachers and students can share links, photos, and text in a secure environment. I could envision students creating posts for with photos of and information about each ingredient. The posts can be be freely moved around, allowing students to explore the recipe’s order or challenge others to create the proper sequence. I also think that a shared Google Doc could be put to use here.

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

Cynthia tried an online platform for students to interact outside of class and then turned to Facebook as an online space to share writing. I can definitely identify with her unfortunate experiences using the online platform: I too have a beautiful, thorough unit on essay writing that was scarcely touched by learners because I let the technology drive the process. Her Facebook foray worked out better since she was using a tool that was familiar to many already.

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

Nell thought about more than the act of posting items on a Pinterest board. She prepared her learners by talking about online communities and privacy issues. She addressed potential snags, such as some needing additional computer access, and made certain to pair experienced learners with less experienced ones. She paved the way and provided the needed support to allow students to truly focus on the activity.

After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?

The technology has often driven the process. In fact, I honestly think it has overridden the objectives on many occasions. It’s as though we’re presented with this new flat-head screwdriver, and we feel the need to use it because, well, it’s so shiny. We don’t even seem to notice that it won’t work with the crosshead screw in our other hand. I will attempt to avoid that mistake from here on. I do plan to use the POST method when designing lessons and selecting my technologies.

After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?

I have never considered using QR codes for anything other than connecting potential learners to our college website. After watching the video, I can see how math worksheets could be built with QR codes linking to favorite video explanations.

As I was reading “Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation,” I encountered several innovative spins on existing technology. For example, the idea of using popular electronic entertainment technologies to teach desired objectives fascinates me to no end. I can think of several popular online games that require constant math as well as an understanding of many difficult economic principles. I recall reading information about some Scandinavian educators researching that very idea, but that was years ago.

After listening to two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, share your responses…

In the case of the ESOL email lesson, it is obvious that instructor Nell Eckersley was comfortable with using email as a communication tool. However, several of her students were not familiar with email or how to create an account, and others didn’t know how to access their accounts. (This is another situation with which I can identify. Despite the best of intentions, sometimes we educators for get that our adult learners may not remember their email addresses, let alone their passwords.) After the initial issues, Nell recovered nicely, identifying the problems and designing a process to avoid them in the future. Teaching her learners how to use email definitely deepened the students’ learning, as is evidenced by the continued use of the tool for expanding communication beyond the assignment. ■

Mary Beth's picture

I would have the students use Google Docs to write their recipes since many will not have access to Microsoft Word. Some will use home PCs, others the community library.  I usually have a couple of students who need additional assistance so we do that either before or after class, on the laptop I bring to the classroom.  For students that have smart phones they may choose to take a picture of whatever they've made, and email it, in order to retrieve the picture, and insert it as a picture within their document.  I do have some students that know how to use PowerPoint, so that may also be an option for those students.

Mary Beth's picture

As part of this course, I've decided to learn more about VoiceThread.  While on the website, I noticed there's a trial version, and a paid subscription.  Is this tool free?  I registered on the website but have yet to receive the activation email to finish the registration process.  Perhaps they only send activation emails during normal work hours.

Mary Beth's picture

Most students in my class have a smartphone.  They use these devices to look up definitions of words.  In addition, within the class, they use their phones to access interactive websites to be able to search for information.

Terrie Lipke's picture

Do you incorporate any mobile instructional programs in your class? Do the students use any instructional programs or do any class/homework on their phones?  

Mary Beth's picture

I teach a combined low/high intermediate level El/Civics class, that combines both ESL and Civics.  Students are using their smartphones as a substitute for a PC because the location where I teach does not have PCs that they can use.  I'm not teaching how to use specific mobile apps but rather having students use the internet to access information on Employment, Health/Wellness, Democratic Process, and Consumer Resources.  These are all topics within the El/Civics state curriculum.  After vocabulary introduction, and establishing schema theory so I get a sense for what students already know, I provide a worksheet that goes along with the topics.  Students are instructed to complete the worksheet in class, or as homework.  For example, students need to identify their local, state, and national leaders.  They use a combination of resources on the internet to determine this information.  For Consumer Resources, I distribute junk mail flyers for various company advertisements.  Students use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to identify if there are any complaints for a particular company, the type of complaints, the BBB grade for the business, and whether or not they would do business with the company, and explain why or why not.  My basis for a lesson are the state standards/competencies that the student needs to accomplish.  The smartphone is the technology the students use to meet the standard/competency.  I demo. the activities using the instructor PC since this is conducive to projecting to the entire class via the projector.  For students who do not have a smartphone, they either team up with someone who has a smartphone, use the instructor PC, or complete on their own as homework-- either using their home PC, or the local library.  The class time frame is such that there's usually only enough time to demo one example before the class ends.  Thus those who do not have smartphones do not feel left out of the activity since they are being attentive to what I'm showing them on the PC, and taking notes, while the smartphone users are emulating on their smartphones what I'm demo'ing on the instructor PC.  Since the worksheets are a homework assignment, everyone has an opportunity to complete outside of the classroom using whatever technology resource they have for accessing the internet.

Terese Prena's picture

Students in both my ELL and GED(r) Prep classes have access to smartphones.  They mostly stay in touch with family and friends via conversations, texts, and various forms of social media.  Many students use their phones or the internet to check email ( check children's school schedules), shop, search for jobs, and get driving directions.  Not all, however, especially in the ELL class have their own computers, so access to the Internet may be limited to smart phones.

Terese Prena's picture

Strategy:  Create a class book of favorite recipes

To implement this strategy, the instructor can have the students use GoogleDocs.  Students can type of their recipes and share with group members or the entire class.  Revisions can take place directly  on the document.  Final copies can be placed into a book within the program.  Students can also use email and include attachments to share recipes and revise.  The recipe book can be created in Microsoft Publisher.

Mary Beth's picture

Cynthia use an online platform, and Facebook Group technology tools. 

The observed benefits of using Facebook were that students were receptive to using this tool because most students were familiar with Facebook, and already used it. 

Limitations of the online platform-- one more place that students had to go to/learn.  Limitations of Facebook-- one needs to understand Facebook permissions and how to set up one's account to be very private.

Mary Beth's picture

Concerning how Nell enhanced student learning-- For those students who were already using technology, they wanted to expand their technology skills in class.  For those students not using technology, they were willing to embrace technology as a means to become more connected to their technology savvy children.

Concerning how Nell extended student learning-- Students were already exploring images via print medium.  Thus, they had an established foundation that they were able to extend by looking for online images.


Mary Beth's picture

Several years ago I made a mistake similar to Cynthia Bell of setting up an entire class to use Blackboard with many grammar topics and hyperlinks to allow each student to work at their own pace during class sessions that were in the computer lab.  On our first opportunity in the lab, I discovered most students either did not know their login/password, or forgot to bring the information to class.  In addition to this hurdle, I discovered about 1/4 of the class was not computer literate-- this group would never get to the grammar topics until they understood how to turn on a PC, and had mouse skills for being able to navigate a page, click on hyperlinks, and move/click on answers to cloze activities, and use typing skills for short answer exercises.  Much has changed since then, not just in my teaching approach but students, in general, are more tech savvy then they were back in 2005.

I now team students by ability-- novice PC users with experienced PC users.  Since most of the students are not good typists, and this is not a goal of the ESL class, I use to change long URLs into short/meaningful names with a date suffix to make the URL unique.  Additionally, whatever technology I have the students use, I make sure I understand thoroughly myself before I use it as part of a class.  Finally, technology supplements my lesson, and is not the main focus of the lesson. 

For example, for an upcoming lesson, I want to use as an extra aid for students to understand the printed instructions I will supply to them.  The print copy is a screen capture of a website tool, that I demo in the class.  Students use the website tool, to complete a worksheet that goes with the tool.  During class, as part of my demo, students complete one worksheet exercise using the website tool, and complete the remaining exercises outside of class, using the same website tool.  By placing the screen capture within VoiceThread, and recording my verbal instructions, my hope is that students will have this additional instructional material that they can refer back to once they leave the classroom, and perhaps forget how to complete the worksheet.  Additionally, for those students who are absent when I introduce the lesson-- they can use what I post in VoiceThread and will be able to catch up independently without having to make special arrangements to schedule time with me/other classmates to understand what was covered in the class they missed.  Because I will be the one doing the development of the VoiceThread, from a student perspective it will be only an introduction to VoiceThread capability.  I can use that introduction for subsequent lessons where I might want students to use their speaking skills to explain something that they have screen captured and/or found on the internet.

Daniel Lewis's picture

My name is Daniel R. Lewis and I am trying to integrate technology in my class.  We are using the students'  cell phones with the application for kahoot to have interactive lessons.

Terese Prena's picture

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

Cynthia tried to implement an online platform for students to interact outside of the classroom.   She realized that her students did not use this platform  She felt it was another place students had to go in order to complete assignments.  She realized she didn't think about who her students were and what technology skills they had.  Students were also limited to the tools that had.  So, she also incorporated Facebook to help students share pieces of writing with one another.  A benefit of using this program was that most students were already using it and were familiar with it.  However, for those students that were not using it, she had to teach them how to set up accounts and set privacy settings.  

I am curious as to what program students use to type up their writing.  Those students who were limited to smartphone use, how did they complete the writing piece.

Terese Prena's picture

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

Nell carefully designed her lessons to accommodate the needs of her students  She enhanced their knowledge of online resources available to them, if they didn't already know about Pinterest.  She discussed privacy issues, which is crucial when using online media.  She inadvertently discussed time management when discussing access to computers for those who did not have their own.  Students had to practice how to manage their time differently in order to find access to and use computers outside of their homes.  Finally, by pairing students together, the students practiced their oral communication skills. 

Terese Prena's picture

After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?

In the past, I think I've just jumped into using technology.  For example, I may attend a workshop where a technology tool was used and then would somehow incorporate it into my lesson plan.  I didn't always think about my students' existing tech skills.  So, using the POST method will help me think more about their needs.  I will focus on the learning goal while being cognizant of the students' existing skills.

My concern is my hesitation in using technology that I am unfamiliar with.  I don't consider myself technologically savvy, and I don't seek out different tools.  I feel like I don't even know where to find different tools to use.  Where do I begin?

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Terese, and others,

Terese, you wrote, "My concern is my hesitation in using technology that I am unfamiliar with.  I don't consider myself technologically savvy, and I don't seek out different tools.  I feel like I don't even know where to find different tools to use.  Where do I begin?"  There are many adult basic skills -- and other -- teachers who also wonder where to begin. Fortunately, on LINCS there is an Onine Tools and Resources Micro group of adult basic skills teachers and professional developers who have compiled a list of of potentially valuable online tools and resources for adult learners and their teachers. They have also created a simple, easy-to-use process for reviewing them, and have evaluated several. If you are interested, you may wish to join a new micro group which, we hope, will start up again next month. In any case, the results from last year's group are available. There is a list of over 50 online tools and resources at  Members of the micro group evaluated several of these, including the following: Blendspace; Create Your Own Comic -; Doodle; Google Forms; Google Slides; Kahoot! ; Make Beliefs Comix ; Poll Everywhere; Prezi;  RubiStar; and  Schoology

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

Terese Prena's picture
After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?

I would definitely like to explore Google Docs in more depth.  This will help students share written work and revise as needed.  I would like to look into using podcasts for specific topics.  Evernote might be a good tool to share with the students.  Many of them want to take pictures of notes I have on the board.  I always encourage them to actually write them down as a means to remember them.  Since the notes can be taken on a smart phone; it may be more relevant to the students.  This tool can also be used to share writing assignments.  Bitly can be used to share URLs with students, which I regularly do.  I need to explore how students can access the QR codes on their smart phones.  Twitter could be used for ESL students to communicate with one another on specific topics outside of the class.  They can practice their writing skills.  They can use to help one another with questions they may have.

Terese Prena's picture

Reflecting on Integrating Technology

You just heard two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, and jotted down your thoughts about the following questions:

  • Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool?
  • Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool?
  • Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How?
  • Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use?
Terese Prena's picture
  • Cynthia Bell used Bitly so that students could access information quickly.  Specifically, she used it for her students to access a Khan Academy video on math.   Since she was able to express how she created a QR code, I assume she was comfortable in using the tool.
  • For some students, Bitly met their technology skills.  However, for those whose skills were not met, she realized that in shortening the URL students could access the Khan Academy video a lot easier than typing it in themselves where mistakes could happen.  She copied the code and pasted it onto a word document.  She used this as a handout for the students.  For those who did not have a scanner app on their phone, she helped them download a free app.  Their discussion on where they had seen codes in real life made its application more relevant.  Students learned how a smart phone could be used to gather information.  Using the QR code made it easier for Bell to share a URL for a website that would teach the students a math concept.  It also deepened the students' understanding of different ways to use a smart phone.
  • I think this technology tool was the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the lesson.  She could have posted the URL on FAcebook, Twitter or a website, but then she would have had to show some students how to use that tool.  This may take more time to teach than the time allotted for this lesson.
Mary Beth's picture

I did not choose a tool from the table of categorized technology tools, however I did learn of this tool as part of taking the "Integrating Technology in the Adult Ed. Classroom" course.  The tool name is VoiceThread.  The tool comes under the category of Multimodal communication tools but I will not be using it's full capability, i.e., I will not invite students to comment, but rather I will use the commenting, and drawing features to explain to students how to use a website tool.  The need I'm attempting to meet is providing students with duplicate verbal and visual instructions that I provide in the classroom, for additional "out of class" usage as they complete a homework worksheet, using search output from a web based tool.

Mary Beth's picture

Cynthia Bell used bitly to create a QR code for accessing a video on the web.  To prepare for the class, she created the QR code prior to class, and made copies of the QR code (after pasting into Word) so that students could scan it during class.  While QR codes were new for all but one student, there was not a huge learning curve for those students who already had smart phones.  Students were able to spend the bulk of their time viewing the website video vs. trying to access the website.  Cynthia could have used to create a short/meaningful URL, and not have to worry about it being case sensitive  This would have allowed those students who did not have smart phones to access the video on a public computer outside of class (e.g. community library).

Jeanne Grunden's picture

I would have students type their recipe in Google docs in Google Drive. Students in my class see me use Google Drive every day because my lesson plans are in spread sheets and stored in Google Drive. They could also add illustrations through clip art and copy and paste them to their recipe. 

Jeanne Grunden's picture

Cynthia tried to implement an online space for students to share their writing but it did not work because it was one more place where students had to go. So she decided to use use Facebook since most of here students went there and she create an group for them to work in. The observed benefit was that all students agreed to use Facebook and completed the class requirements. 

The limitations that she encountered with Facebook was that not all students used the Facebook group the same amount of time.

I like her use of Facebook and think that I want to look into creating a Facebook group and try using it.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Jeanne, and others who are interested in using Facebook with their students, 

You may find the Adult Educators Using Facebook for Education (AEFE) group helpful. This is a national group of adult educators who use or want to use Facebook private groups with their students. As co-convener of this Facebook group I would be glad to send you an invitation to join. 

David j. Rosen

Jeanne Grunden's picture

The tool that I am interested in exploring is Weebly. I visited their site and explored a little bit and sent them an email to see if they provide how much time a student uses their program. I am looking for a good free educational website to use for our GED online class. The one that the college uses is not open ended and I hope to find an online site that provides attendance and that can students can use when the college is not in session.

I found the use of google docs as a collaborative work space for students very informative. I currently use Google Docs as a way to share work that students miss when they are absent from class. I simply create a Google Docs sheet with the videos and worksheets presented in class and email it to students.

Earlier we learned how Facebook can be re-purposed as a place for students to practice and share their writing assignments and I agree that this is a good way to use Facebook in an educational setting.


David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Jeanne,

Weebly could be a good choice, but there are other free website and online shell platforms such as Wix, Schoology, Edmodo and others. Can you tell us more about what you want your students to be able to do with the website or classoom online platform, and perhaps then some of us will have recommendations. You mention attendance, which implies that you might like a class website designed specifically for teachers, which Weebly is not, although it is often used by teachers. Have you looked at Schoology or Edmodo? They are shell platforms designed for K-12 teachers and used by many adult educators. Since you use Google docs, have you looked at Google Drive or Google Sites? All these online tools are free for teachers and available to students 24/7/365.

Once you tell us more about what you want -- and what you want your GED students -- to be able to do with your online presence, perhaps others will have suggestions. In the Technology and Learning community we have many experienced users of Google tools, Weebly, Edmodo, and other online tools who might have suggestions for you. Also you will find many of these online tools listed in the appendix of my free online guide, Blended Learning for the Adult Education Classroom

If you like using Facebook with your students, you may be interested to know that Facebook has a free, private group option that many adult educators use with their students, and you may be interested in joining the Facebook for Adult Education online group. If so, email me and I'll send you an invitation.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP


susan clancy kelly's picture

I teach HSE and ABE Math for Adult Education division at the College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL. I've been using technology for quite a while to enhance and support teaching math concepts, providing Math skills practice and improving student's computer and digital literacy skills. Currently use Blackboard to support my HSE Math class for students working on their GED/HiSAT/TABE exams. Challenges for my students include access to technology and literacy skills to read and understand information on a website.

susan clancy kelly's picture

Most of my students have access to smartphones. Some have access to a computer at home and internet access, some do not. Generally they use their phones for communicating with friends and family, sending text messages, posting on Facebook or other social media. I don't think very many students make use of computers for online activities like paying bills, applying for jobs, finding information or shopping, because of lack of availability of technology or poor internet access.

In the classroom, students may have access to college desktop computers, if the class is scheduled in a computer lab. Otherwise, we may have access to a set of laptops on a rolling cart, which we can request to use as needed. Most classrooms have a projector connected to a computer and also a document camera. Some of the classrooms have smart boards also.

susan clancy kelly's picture

Here are a few ideas to integrate technology into the final activity - creating a class cookbook of favorite recipes.

1. Have students search online for recipes using different search engines.

2. Save recipes in PDF format, download saved recipes to a central storage folder so everyone can read them.

3. Use cloud storage for sharing and collaborating - a Google docs folder, Evernote app or similar.

4. Have students vote online for favorite recipes to include in the cookbook. Use monkey survey or a similar online application to create and send a survey to each class member

5. Collate survey results and graph - use the data management features of your survey software (if applicable) or an Excel spreadsheet.



susan clancy kelly's picture

Cynthia tried to first implement a separate online platform that students could use for posting writing assignments, sharing writing and making comments on each other's writing.

She then tried using a closed Facebook group, and had more more success with this. Reasons she gave included: this was a tool they were already using, offered privacy, place to meet that didn't require they become 'friends', ability to upload completed documents or write directly on the platform, could share links, indicate likes, share comments in a safe, closed environment with only other students from their class group. That's why it was successful


Lannie Burton's picture

At least 90%, probably more, of my students have cell phones.  Many have tablets and/or laptops, as well.  I teach an online (hybrid) math course, and students often access the program on their cell phones or laptops even though we meet in a computer lab.  They are accustomed to using that small device when a much larger, easily accessible one is available.  They send texts, photos, etc. My students are working to attain degrees in creative areas, such as illustration, interior and fashion design, audio production, etc.  They use their laptops or school computers to access the necessary software programs for their areas of interest.  Collaboration through face-time or skype are also handy.  Students come up with math programs to find out the answers to problems without solving them.  They listen to and share music.

Melissa B's picture

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am an adjunct faculty member at our local community college. I have my Masters degree in education and have been teaching at the local college for about 3 years now. I enjoy teaching my students and seeing them advance and/or meet their goals they set out to accomplish. Currently, I have 20 ESL students in my class. My students are adult learners ranging from their early twenties to early fifties. They all have a smartphone which they use in class and personally. None of them own a tablet/ipad/notebook but 4 of them own a laptop. Two of my students bought theirs used from their child's school for a discounted price. With their knowledge of the intranet I should only need to teach them a few skills that will help them with their final project.  I feel that this course is excellent for techers. There were other products out their to use that can help integrate technology in my class. After completing my assignment I feel that I would like to learn to create a classroom website using wordpress. This way I can further my students learning my assigning them to watch videos that may help them learn more English, activities that will challenge their skills, and allow them to communicate with each other when needed.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Melissa, and others,

It's great that you found the LINCS Integrating Technology course worthwhile, Melissa, and that you now want to learn how to create a class website.  I like and often use Wordpress for my websites. For example, my Media Library of Teaching Skills professional development website, a "video window" into other adult adult education teachers' classrooms, and also a curated collection of other adult basic skills (including ESL/ESOL) classroom professional development videos, uses Wordpress and YouTube. Teachers have told me that the website is very easy to use. However, you might also consider other free class website design options, especially if your students are already using the platform, and/or if you think it can better meet your goals or objectives:

  • A free, private Facebook group (where the only people who see the content are the students in your class.) This might be especially appealing if most or all of your students already use Facebook. It's also smartphone-friendly.
  • Many adult education teachers build class websites using (a free version of) Weebly or Wix. It is possible to design any website, incidentally so that you can link free Google documents or Google forms on it, and very easily add or update those pages with new assignments, learning resources, readings, quizzes or other assessments, etc. Google forms are particularly helpful to teachers as they can easily be designed to auto-tally students' responses in quizzes and some other formative assessments.

Before you choose a website platform it would be especially useful, if you haven't already done so, to think through your goals or objectives for the website. Then you can evaluate your website platform choices against these goals or objectives.

Does anyone have recommendations for class website platforms, or lessons learned from designing and using class websites? Please share them with us!

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Integrating Technology CoP

Edward Latham's picture

As one might expect, I have had some success with Google Sites. It is free and integrates with the many Google products instantly. It automatically adjusts for Phone, Tablet and Computer as well. There are currently two versions of Google Sites available and I would suggest trying the new version because the old version will start phasing out by the end of the year (and it was much more clunky than the newer version). 

What I like most about Google Sites is that you don't have to deal with hosting set up at all. I have had many teachers make a wonderful website using other tools only to have headaches with having to upload changes, hosting sites being down and configuration issues with some hosting sites. Of course if you wish to pay for a hosting site, many of the challenges mentioned disappear. I am just happy I don't have to fiddle at all with the Google Sites in order to get them out to the public. 

NOTE: Google has a way of thinking about how all online products "should" work together. As I continue to learn their thought process I am shocked at how elegant many of their solutions are and how much easier they are to manage. That being said, so many of the other tools out there are still operating on principles established by major software vendors in the 80s and 90s. They are very familiar, but often feel so clunky once I "get it" in the Google tools. If you are looking for something that will be powerful and easy once you learn the thought process behind it, give Google Sites a try. If you are looking more for something familiar to "the way things are done", many of the products out there are very similar. Each offers different wrinkles and different price points. There are some free ones, but they often have some limitations that I have found annoying in the past. 

If any check out Sites and have questions, please share them as I am always looking to learn more and gather other perspectives on tools out there!


David J. Rosen's picture

Hi Ed,

Thanks for mentioning Google Sites as an alternative platform for a class website. Can you share a link to the newer version of Google sites? You wrote,"Google has a way of thinking about how all online products "should" work together. As I continue to learn their thought process I am shocked at how elegant many of their solutions are and how much easier they are to manage."  Can you tell us what that thought process is, or perhaps point us to a document or video that explains it?



David J. Rosen, Moderator

Integrating Technology CoP

Edward Latham's picture

To get to Google Sites, there are many ways, but here are two:

1. Type in the address and if you are not signed in with your google account you will have to sign in. If you don't have a google or gmail account, you can make one... it is free. 
2. If you are logged into any google service (like Gmail for instance), you can click on the Google Apps icon in the top right of the screen (looks like a 3 x 3 array of squares). This opens up all of Google's goodies and if sites is not listed you can click at the bottom of that pop up screen to choose "More" and you should find Sites in that pallet.

No matter which way you try to get to Google Sites, you will be taken to the older version I think. It is hard to tell because I have used sites forever so it may just redirect me to the old sites first. When I go to Sites, I have to click on the left margin where it says" New Google Sites" to get to the newer sites I have been making. Again, new users may just get a pop up when logging in asking if they want to use the New version (say yes). 

As to the thought process ... this is a tough nut to crack, but I can try. First, I have not been able to find videos on Youtube that do a good job describing "The way of Google" in spite of so many videos on each individual application. The beauty of their system is the ways the applications blend and work together so elegantly and yet I have not been able to find any videos or documentation. I would write a book, but it would probably be outdated by the time it was published.

Often I discover things in a manner similar to the following two experiences I had these last few weeks:

A teacher wanted to do a collection of pictures on her school web page (Google Sites). She wanted the pictures to start flipping through the 500 pictures she had stored in a folder. I started out looking for slide show plugins, HTML5 code for automatic slideshows, and a number of other embedding solution with no luck. Almost all of the videos I did find addressing what I wanted were from older versions of Sites and those options are not even available on the current "old" version of sites available today. It was so frustrating because I had found almost half a dozen ways people used to do it and make it work, but none of them were working with the old or new version now. 

After days of this frustrating exploration, I started diving into all the Google Tools to see what I might be able to use. Google Photos seemed like a great place to start because I have all my pictures up there and I knew there was a way to make slide shows. Sure enough, I was able to get one of my albums to go into a slide show but I was not able to get that into my Google Site. I then remembered that the old version of Sites was able to integrate images stored in Google Slides (think Power Point). Sure enough, the methods to do this the old way did not work on the new sites. Instead I found this nifty little plug in that links Google Photos to Google Sheets (spreadsheet) to Google Sites. This awesome little plug in makes it so easy to add pictures and get things updated. I simply change the photos in the album I have in Google Photos, then I go into the spreadsheet and click "Update" and poof .. my website is now rocking the pictures I wanted in a slide show on the site. I would never have thought that it would be so efficient to go from picture storage to spreadsheet to slide show to website and yet the finished system is so awesome!

Another example: Microsoft Publisher / Apple Pages woes

I have had so many teachers complain that they WILL NOT go over to anything Google because they can't do things in Google Docs like they did in Publisher or Pages. In efforts to try to help them with this need, I dove into Google Docs and looked for days at plug ins and possible options. Nothing felt even close to me and I had to put this one off a number of times. Eventually it hit me, the solution seemed so simple! I had just done a professional development on the basic Google Tools (Docs, Sheets, Slides) and I remember sharing that Slides are super powerful for making classroom posters, study guides and many other print items teachers frequently need. I dove into Google Slides and found one little setting I needed to find and poof, I was able to easily make most anything I could imagine. The old school way of thinking is "I have a newsletter that has lots of text so I need a word processor with power" or "I need to buy another program that exclusively does what I need..." when the new reality includes powerful adaptation of technologies much better suited to performing the task in a way that the product can then be used in other tools. In Slides, you can click and drag any text, image, links, videos or any other component exactly where you want it and it will print that way. No fuss, not fancy fiddling, just move it and format it they way you like and poof it is ready for your website, print, youtube video, qr code, FB post, Tweet or any number of other ways you wish to share it. 

In the end, the final solutions were so elegant and simple to use, that I felt elated to have persisted to find such solutions. I find many cool combinations with the Google Tools and every time I have something figured out, it all makes so much sense and works so easy. 

The problem is that I still am not able to find any good videos or resources that helps to teach the awesome integration of tools possible. I wonder if it is some trade secret that consultants hide to keep their rates at a healthy level? Perhaps the feeling is that the general population is still so used to procedural walk through videos of basic functions that a series of integrating tools together would be too advanced or specialized? I have thought about trying to do a series of videos to share some discoveries, but I worry about the quickly changing face of technology and the Google Tools especially. I don't want people having to dig through my older videos that add to the glut of old videos that mire the Internet down when searching for anything Google. Seriously, if someone make a tutorial and the software or system changes, take down the video, please! When I do finally find a video on a current iteration, the video focuses on the description of the buttons/menus/interface and the procedures like save/export/load... Sigh, one might think that that people have been going File - Save for over 30 years now... do we really need videos that share how to use a menu drop down? The videos focus so much on "How to use it" rather than "What it can be used for" Every video I find is about specific procedures about a specific tool in isolation. I still continue to search for videos that help me learn about the many interesting integration of tools available. 

It would be cool if we could start a service up that would take "I need to be able to ..." and others could offer solutions. I know there are many Google forums that have this same service, but it does not seem open and friendly for the average user.  I still think we need an online program like Car Talk from National Public Radio. Doing an entertaining call in program in which options are shared in video format that can be reviewed and organized by end users would be great! I think such a program would be so fun to do as well. 

Does that help clarify what I meant by Google having a different way of thinking about things? The two examples I offered above are just two of the more recent things, there are many others. Sadly, I often forget them until I have that specific need again and have to re-discover the solution again. At least it comes to me much quicker the second and third time before I really start remembering it :) 


Edward Latham's picture

 this is a good example of all the features and how easy it is to manipulate things. I think most will agree that things continue to get easier.

Link to video:

Melissa B's picture

I have created a recipe book and found that it can be very fun to create with others. In my classroom I would utilize either Google Documents or Microsoft Publisher depending on how comfortable the students were with using those technologies to document their recipes. Since my students have smartphones I would ask them to  look up a recipe that they would like to try and then bring their favorite recipe from home. I would have the students assigned to certain food groups: appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts to make sure there weren't too many of one kind.  As a bonus the students could make one of the recipes in the following groups so that we could have a full meal. From that meal we could take pictures of the finished product so that we can include it in our recipe book.


David J. Rosen's picture


The recipe book sounds like a great learning project. The tools you chose, especially Google Documents, are easy for most students to learn to use. Can you share with us an example of a student recipe book? Do you have a description of this project that you could share?  And, btw, could you invite us all to your class smiley ?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Integrating Technology CoP


Melissa B's picture

The tools mentioned in the educational context are some that I have used and some that I would like to learn how to use. I have used Youtube before to learn how to do things myself and feel that some of the Youtube classes can help my students. I have never heard of teacher tube and will explore that to see if that is something I would like to use in my classroom. I learned that I could create a Facebook page that would allow my students to form an online community to share their thoughts and ideas with each other. They can also use it for help with understanding a certain lesson or concepts.



Melissa B's picture

Cynthia used Bitly and QR codes for the technology tool for her classroom to learn about renting versus buying. From her comments she seems to be comfortable with using Bitly and then the QR code so that her students could easily look up the website. The challenge that she had was having the students all use the QR code. Luckily some of her students already had the app downloaded to read QR codes so she only needed to get a small group of them to do that. She created a worksheet that had the QR code that she created and assisted in getting the students to have their smartphone read the code and then they were able to continue their lesson. It deepened their learning since they were able to watch the video and then work with the teacher to compare and contract the New York and California housing market and rental needs. I believe using Bitly and QR codes for her class was necessary. Since they don't have access to the compute lab it made it easier for them to look up the video on their smartphones so they can do the lesson. This also allowed the students to take this home and show their family how a QR code works. I can't think of another way she could have gotten the students to do the lesson with technology unless they went to Youtube and searched for a similar lesson.

Melissa B's picture

Cynthia used an online platform first to have her students connect and conversate with each other. Unfortunately, she didn't have many students go there so she decided on creating a private Facebook page since many of the students were already a member. The one challenge that she faced was that not all the students had a Facebook profile so she had to assist in creating ones for them so that they were private. Since Facebook is a popular online forum she was able to get most students to participate. The limitations of both tools is basically do they have access to it and it is easy to find? Facebook requires individuals to have a profile to join their community. If a person doesn't have one then they cannot participate. Also is it easy to find? Some online platforms don't make it easy to find such forums, chat rooms, etc. which can deter students away.


David J. Rosen's picture

Melissa, and others who use or are interested in using private Facebook Groups for your classes,

I want to let you know that our colleague, Susan Gaer, and I co-moderate a private adult educators who use (or want to use) Facebook for adult education (AEFE) group on Facebook. Email Susan or me if you would like an invitation to join.

David J. Rosen


Melissa B's picture

Nell used Pinterest as a technology tool for her students to broaden the Biography project. I for one use Pinterest and find it quite fascinating. One can use it for almost anything. Pinterest allows you to explore one's interest and maybe find a new interest. Nell explained that, " All the students did their homework and some did much more than was assigned. On our next lab day the students chose one of the images and wrote a paragraph about how it connected to their lives that they then pasted into the description of the image on Pinterest."   The students were able to relate to some of the images, pins, and information and made a connection with it. This allowed them to express their thoughts that they might not have been able to relate without that image that they found on Pinterest.


Melissa B's picture

In the past I have used the additional programming for the books that we used to bring additional resources to the class such as games that coordinate with the lesson, readings, and printable worksheets to do in the class. Depending on the class this may work or it may not work for them. I try to be flexible and try new things that can enhance my students learning. I have decided to try to create a classroom website via Wordpress that would allow my students to gather additional resources for the current lesson that I am teaching and conversate with each other. This resource could very much benefit them in the long run by having them access it during their current lesson to do the activity and then we can follow up with having them complete their coordinating worksheet. We can review it in class together afterwards. To make it easy for them to access my website  I would build a QR code for them to scan on the syllabus with their cell phone so that they can access at any time anywhere.


Marc L's picture

Hello, I'm taking this course as a way to refresh and potential up-skill my knowledge in technology integration in adult education. I have been a high school computing teacher and a university instructor in several teacher education degree programs. Technology has the potential to reach people who often face barriers to further education like lack of time, geographical location and personal circumstances. I look forward to participating in this course.

Marc L's picture

Teacher could create a class wiki or blog and post up the recipe's in categories and #tag them. The will enable media to be included.

Amy Garcia's picture

I am the PD Coordinator for the Adult Education and Literacy program.  This is my third year so I do not work directly with the students but rather with the teachers.  As in many settings, there are teachers who are comfortable with technology and those that are not and require more use with it to feel at ease with incorporating it with their students.  The program is located within a two-year college and therefore, I also teach on campus part-time but in a different area, not in the AEL program.  With those students, I have them submit assignments online and submit their work using word documents or pdf.  They also use PowerPoints. 

Students in the  program use technology daily through the use of their phones.  Tasks include sending and receiving text messages which especially helps those who are limited in English to use more of their second language by practicing to read and write it.  Primary use overall is for developing and using communication skills.  Specifically in the class, phones can also be used for surveys and finding out pertinent information related to a topic of study for that day's lesson. 

Amy Garcia's picture

Ways students can incorporate technology are by bringing their recipes to class and using a computer to type of the recipes into a PowerPoint presentation.  They can also include pictures along with their recipes. 

They can also create short videos while whipping up their favorite recipe but perhaps already having it premade but demonstrating or talking about all the ingredients to go into the recipe.  This could go on FB live or setting it up as a YouTube video that can also then be added as a link to their PowerPoint presentation. 

Amy Garcia's picture

The two technology tools used by Cynthia were the online platform and Facebook.  Observed benefits included greater utilization of technology.  More writing was taking place by the students as they were submitting the required amount of work.  Also, they were able to read other classmates' work.  However, a limitation could be internet usage students have to actually use or be on Facebook, thereby possibly limiting some of the students' ability to be on as frequently as others.  In addition, knowing other students would be reading their work, they might be hesitant to post.

Amy Garcia's picture

Nell used email and seemed comfortable in using this technology tool. Cynthia incorporated smart phones, YouTube videos, QR Code and Bitly. She seemed comfortable using the various forms of technology. In Nell’s and Cynthia’s classes, the technology tools selected met all the students’ needs for the particular assignments given to the students.  Regarding specifically technology skills, some student’s needed to learn how to use and access email in which students were assisted in doing that along with modifying some aspects of the lesson for future classes with Nell. Cynthia incorporated watching a YouTube video through smart phones.  She simplified the use of inputting a URL by using a QR Code.  The tools selected for Nell and Cynthia helped both of them improve instruction by incorporating more hands-on tools for students to be more up-to-date with technology and how to use it.  For some, it was their first time using or watching a YouTube video for instruction or for using email.

Yes, the tools were the best choices with resources that were available in Nell’s class whereas in Cynthia’s class, although appropriate technology tool used, perhaps finding other ways to watch the video would have been appropriate.  Some students without smart phones may have felt singled out if not able to afford a phone.  At the same when there are limitations to what is accessible within the classroom, you have to use what is at your fingertips.  If there a few tablets, or maybe if the teacher had one computer or tablet, the video could have been viewed by a few at a time while the others worked on math and the teacher walked around helping them.  Once the video was viewed by everyone, they could have then had a discussion about the math video.   


Amy Garcia's picture

Learning was enhanced and extended by incorporating visuals into their autobiographies.  Additionally, the images gathered from the internet were more meaningful as they pertained specifically to areas they were from, foods they could relate to and so forth.  Students not only found this useful for this project but for projects done later in the class.  The use of technology in itself was a learning opportunity with internet and Pinterest.

Amy Garcia's picture

In the past, I have used technology in the class based on how comfortable I am in using it.  If I know how to use it, I teach it to my students and have them learn as well.  To say I try to use or incorporate new or current technology such as Weebly, may not be as easy unless I have been using it for quite a while.  However, I know if I want my students to be exposed to more especially for those who tend to me a little more tech savvy, it would be important to teach them about more technology that is available to them if it is another way to be able to expand on a current lesson.  Applying the POST method and knowing where students are at each individual level is extremely important in making sure they are successful with the use of technology expecting them to use in the class.

David J. Rosen's picture

Amy and others,

You wrote: "In the past, I have used technology in the class based on how comfortable I am in using it.  If I know how to use it, I teach it to my students and have them learn as well." I believe that describes how most adult basic skills education teachers integrate technology, what some have called a "Sage on the Stage" approach, where the teacher is an expert and presents information to students live or through videos..

Some teachers, however, use a different approach, sometimes called  "Guide on the Side", in which the teacher also is comfortable, an expert, in using the technology, but instead of presenting, sets the students a task that involves learning and using a tool or tools, and then is available to assist if they get stuck. For example, using a browser, the O*Net website, PowerPoint, and Google Slides or another slide-making tool the students, individually or in small groups, might be asked to research the education, experience and/or credential requirements for a particular job that interests them, and present these to the class using 3-6 slides they have created.

A third approach shifts the teaching paradigm/approach from teacher as tools expert, to teacher as learning expert. Sometimes called WAITT, an acronym for "We Are All In This Together", it begins with the teacher sharing with the students, that s/he is not a technology expert, or at least an expert on using the tool(s), that some of the students may know more about how to use the tool(s) than s/he. The teacher then models with the students how to go about learning the new tool or application. Using the above example, with the WAITT approach the teacher may know how to expertly use PowerPoint, but not Google Slides, may have only read about how to use Google Slides or used it once or twice. The teacher models for the class how to learn how to use a new tool. S/he may get stuck in the process, may ask if the students have any ideas about how to solve the problem, may have a web address handy for Google Slides instructional videos, or a Google Slides troubleshooting document. This is a great opportunity for peer-to-peer learning. Maybe some of the students will have good ideas about how to solve the problem.

Some teachers have trouble transitioning to the WAITT model. They have always been the subject matter expert for their students, but in this approach they are not a "technology" expert. It is helpful for them to explain to their students that for this task they are not an expert in the tool(s), and that this is a way for the teacher and the class, to learn something new together. Using the WAITT approach, the teacher is not only helping the students to learn how to use the particular tool(s) but, more important, to build the confidence and skills needed to learn other new technology applications too.

Everyone: Have you used a "Guide on the Side" or the "WAITT" approach? If so, please describe what you typically do when introducing the approach to your students, how a particular lesson went, and/or any tips you may have for others who are trying one of these approaches.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Integrating Technology CoP




Amy Garcia's picture

Several tools from the table are some I would like to explore further.  From existing tools I currently use or know about, I didn’t learn new ways to use them but still find them helpful. Since Pinterest has images, teachers could use these images to practice vocabulary words with non-English speakers.

Winifred Beattie's picture

<p>Have students type up their recipes using Word. &nbsp;I like the idea that one contributor had of having students use Pinterest. &nbsp; Learning how to use Pinterest is a great skill for all people who want to cook!</p>

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Winifred,

Some students might like to try using a (free) Google Doc to type up their recipes. It's a great way to Introduce Google Docs, and other free online integrated Google tools to adult learners. Pinterest or are widely used free tools for saving things online. Once a class has used one of these storage tools for recipes, and learned how to upload, download, and organize recipes on one storage site, it is much easier to use Pinterest,, livebinders, Dropbox or other free online storage tools for a class to store, add to, and easily retrieve online learning resources that are relevant to what the class is learning, that some students have found useful and want to share with other students. This is a greet strategy to encourage peer learning. With the proliferation of smartphones in the hands of adult learners, they are finding good online resources, and many want to share them. This could also lead to discussions in class about what makes a good learning resource, and the development of critical thinking and reflection skills.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Integrating Technology CoP

Winifred Beattie's picture

I have always used a Ti graphing calculator in classes.  The kind of Ti Calculator depends on the level of the students and the math required, I've also used Plato and Blackboard to help my students learn at their pace. The idea of using other technology to help my students is great.  I especially like the idea of using a blog.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Winifred,

Do you need help in creating a blog? What would you like to be able to do that you think a blog will help you accomplish?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Integrating Technology CoP




Alena Fiala's picture

Students could create this cookbook in a Google Doc.  This would also allow them to do peer editing.


Alena Fiala's picture


I teach adult ESL classes.  Most of my students have smartphones and some have computers; however, not all

have internet access on their computers.

Cynthia says she used an online platform.  She decided to use FB over the previous tool she used.  FB seemed to 

work well for her students and she was able to overcome hesitation that some students may have had.  I think

that it is important to "meet the students" where they are.  It is also important to review norms and etiquette of using

social media.  I have had a few students who do not use FB for a variety of personal reasons.  This would be a limitation for sure.


Alena Fiala's picture

Pinterest is an engaging platform. Once students overcome privacy concerns, and they begin to peruse the site and
see what it entails, it can become addicting. There are a variety of interests/boards so the learning experience becomes
authentic and relevant. The way Pinterest was used in her classroom was great, because the students also were
able to learn about each other as well. As students learn about each other, the class becomes more of a community.

Alena Fiala's picture

I teach at an off site so the use of technology is a bit more limited.  I do have access to a computer lab.  In the past, my students have used computers to practice English.  They have used cites that coincide with the textbook they use.  They have also used their phones for translating.  I am looking forward to using technology in a more meaningful and authentic manner.

Alena Fiala's picture

The instructor used computers that her agency had received.  Overall, it seems that the instructor was comfortable with computers; however, it seems that as

the students were trying to set up their emails, they came across a few glitches with gmail.  Although there were some minor glitches, the instructor paired the experts with those that need extra assistance.  The next time the instructor implemented the lesson a bit differently allowing for extra time and discussing passwords and emails (what makes a good password).  Overall, the students enjoyed the activity.  Although it may have felt like it was time consuming, the students were able to complete the task, but they were also able to use email in their own personal lives.  The students could have used a Google Doc to write the thank yous and then mailed hard copies, but I think the email experience was more valuable since this is how much of our communication is today.

Alena Fiala's picture

The instructor had limited accessibility (or so she thought), until she met the students where they were at- they had smartphones.  She wanted to use this tool for viewing You tube, but needed to find a way to shorten the link.  Even through bitly it would be too long so she decided to use QR codes.  This brought her lesson to apps and where students may have seen QR codes.  This brought a real life learning experience for the students.  Some thought they would be charged if they used a QR code.  Although the lesson could have been done with just a handout, using technology was more engaging.  Students were excited about the lesson and shared what they learned about QR codes with their friends and family.  The instructor could have just provided the link for you tube, but I think it would have been more difficult.  Sometimes students have trouble typing in a long url.  Using QR codes allowed for discussion about apps, which are commonly used today.

Alena Fiala's picture

My students have access to smartphones.  About half off my students have a computer, but in that number not everyone has access to the internet.  I have 3 students who absolutely do not like to use computers and avoid going to the computer lab.  They do not believe that computers are beneficial to them or their learning; however, they do use cell phones.  They use cell phones mainly for calling, texting, or FB.  I am off site, so I have limited access to a computer lab.  When I have taught at the actual campus, I have used a document camera, computers, and projector to project You tube clips.




Lucille Hefka's picture

What technology devices do your students have access to? What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?

Most of my students have cellphones/smartphones and some have tablets or home computers. I have 1:1 Chromebooks in my classroom and all students have access to the computer lab at our center. They use their devices for internet (research, notices, scheduling, etc.), email, social media, maps/directions, banking, job searches, etc. while others use their devices for minimal activities.

Lucille Hefka's picture

Let’s Become Chefs!  Lesson Plan

What are some creative ways to integrate technology in implementing this strategy? List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.

Students could use technology to:

Research the nutritional value of their recipes.

Find substitutes for certain ingredients

Make recipe healthy for certain allergies

Design, outline, and format as an actual cookbook

Research and find the background, history, origin of their recipe (e.g. country)

Email other friends/family for different versions of their recipe

Lucille Hefka's picture

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

First she tried an online platform but that failed, so then she used Facebook.


-Creating a space where the students could become confident readers and writers

-FB provide a common space for all to meet without being intrusive

-FB provided a way to share, upload, and respond to documents and assignments

-FB allowed students to “like” of comment on each other’s works

-FB also offered students who were less likely to use online media a safe and secure opportunity to experience social media with friends and educators


-Finding the appropriate platform

-Not all students were familiar with social media

-Persuading students to write online

-Educating students on how to provide acceptable feedback to peers

Lucille Hefka's picture

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

-Using Pinterest made the assignment more fun and interesting for the students

- Allowed students to work/learn at their own pace

-It gave the students valuable tools that they can use in everyday life

-Provided an opportunity for students to work individually and learn to problem solve

-Enabled students to build their own understanding of the content by discovering online resources

-Increased student engagement

-Addressed the diverse learning needs of the students

-Facilitated peer collaboration

Lucille Hefka's picture

After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?

I am fortunate to have 1:1 Chromebooks for my students so I  want to expand my current practices to include these sources. I like the QR codes for sharing information, homework, and lessons. I also want to set up an account for the Poll Everywhere- I have wanted to use something like this so I am really excited to try it out with my students. I definitely will expand my career pathways class to broaden the use of Google Docs and Pinterest.

Lucille Hefka's picture

Reflections from Adult Education Instructors

Now that you have explored how technology tools can be used in educational contexts, listen to two adult education instructors as they share how they have integrated technology tools in a classroom unit or lesson. As you listen, think about the following:  

Audio reflection from Cynthia Bell Nell Eckersley

·        Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool? The class used email to correspond with the mayor as a writing assignment- The instructor was well versed with the email process but had failed to assess her students (“People”).

·        Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool?  Not at first- she had various levels of computer competency within the class so not everyone was able to participate at first. She had to re-evaluate her lesson and add some instruction on how to create and use email.

·        Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How?  Definitely after she provided instruction on how to email- Once the students understood and learned how to email it provided lifelong lesson for students to use in their academic, career, and personal lives.

·        Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use? I think using email was a great choice after everyone learned the process- emailing is such a crucial tool that teaching everyone is so important. Using email opens the world up because it is used worldwide and provides an opportunity for unlimited communication.

Reflection from an Adult Basic Education (ABE) Instructor

Now, listen to an audio reflection from Cynthia Bell about how she incorporated technology into her math instruction.

Again, as you listen, think and jot down your thoughts about the following:

·        Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool? What a great idea to incorporate both QR and Bitly in the lesson. This instructor is very knowledgeable and creative.

·        Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool? Definitely- the students all had knowledge of how to use their Smartphones and using peers to help guide the few to explore the use of QR codes is very powerful.

·        Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How? Absolutely, this process kept the students engaged and again gave them a new tool that will be useful in the future.

·        Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use? Yes- since all the students had access to smartphones and were able to install the correct apps this was a great way for the class to watch the video and learn about several new tools available for their use. If the classroom was equipped with a Smart Board that would have been another way to show the video but the new skills and resources gained form the QR Code will be very valuable for the students in to the future.

Chhaya Patel's picture

They could make recipe book using Microsoft word, Google Drive, can also make them aware of e-books.

Chhaya Patel's picture

I would like to explore  tools like Gmail and Goggle Docs, Pinterest and Weebly. My few questions to myself before i start planning a lesson is 'what do i want them to learn today? What are the objectives that i need to achieve in the limited time that i get with my students? I also have to think about the limited access to technology and com lab to my students. They all don't have smart phones and  few  of them don't have phones at all. I personally think that google Tools are the  best for my students with all these limitations. They also help to repurposed the same skills with other technology tools.

Chhaya Patel's picture

I would like to explore gmail and google tools in the classroom with my students. I am also interested in exploring Pinterest and Qr codes myself before i make my students aware of these tools. I am so glad that i registered for this course. There are so many technology tools out there which i had never known before. 

Chhaya Patel's picture

The technology tool that Nell Eckersley used was Gmail and who would think of any other tool when you have to write letters. It was a perfect plan on her side as she asked students to think about their email login credentials ahead of time. not only that she also paired the high facility students with the low to enhance self learning. It also met the students existing technology skills of texting on their phones most of the time. The tool not only solve the objective of writing email to the mayor but also gave them the opportunity to implement the knowledge in real life. 

Jacqueline Vulcano's picture

I'd like to find a cohort of adult ESL instructors who are interested in finding digital solutions to tracking mastery on standards.

I work at a community college and we're supposed to be aligning our lessons with College & Career Readiness Standards and English Language Proficiency Standards. I'd like to track student progress digitally so that I can someday be able to show my director and state director our program's progress. We have little-to-no budget, so free apps are ideal. I've played around with many apps, websites, and learning management systems so I have quite a bit of experience, but haven't found a solid solution for our type of program. This is the Symbaloo mix that I currently use with my students (mostly the top left):

I work with our Levels 1&2 beginner ESL students. Our class meets three nights a week for 2 hours each. Many students have little technology skills, but they're quickly learning. But with irregular attendance and open enrollment for part of the semester, I struggle to keep afloat.

I've created a Facebook group to share ideas, if you're interested ( but chatting here would be good as well.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Jacqueline,

This is a great idea, and perhaps something that many ESL/ESOL programs and teachers could benefit from. I suggest you also post your message to the LINCS CoP English Language Acquisition group asking if any other ESL/ESOL teachers or program managers are interested. It sounds like you have at least two goals for the system you have in mind: 1) producing a collection of good ESL/ESOL lesson plans, perhaps by level, that are aligned to English Language Proficiency and/or CCR standards, and 2) having a robust learning management system for it that would track learners' progress.

It looks like Symbaloo is a site where it is easy to store and access apps in one place, but I don't see a way to align instructional apps easily (and correctly) with ESL/ESOL or CCR standards, or to track learner progress on them. Have I missed it? 

I haven't seen a product that does what you need, and wonder if it exists. If it does, I doubt that it would be free or inexpensive. The closest thing to this I have seen is a system that Integrating Technology member, Ed Latham, has been working on to accomplish the first goal. I have sent you an email about that.

Does anyone know of an existing low-cost or free solution to the problem Jacqueline has posed? Is anyone else facing the same problem she has described, and perhaps interested in working on a new solution to it with other ESL teachers?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group


Nance's picture

As the director and instructor of an adult education program, I see multiple ways to integrate technology. Students have access to computers in the classroom but reach for their phones readily as a first recourse.  Students use their phones for research, contact, organization, planning and calculating. I like the idea of meeting them where they are at and implementing technology in their arena. Facebook and Pinterest are two modes I had not considered, at least not in this way. The instructors in adult education use many online sources and staying current with new sources.


Chhaya Patel's picture

I am interested in PollEverywhere and Weebly. I will explore these tools to find out how i can integrate them in my classroom.

Jeanne Grunden's picture

Applying POST


My Adult Ed students are upper level Algebra students who are preparing to take the Math GED test. They have computer access in the classroom, their own laptops at home, and smart phones. Students are proficient with multiple technological devises.  


Understand solving two-step algebraic problems. Use Google Docs to access the lesson, take notes, and complete Two-Step Algebra worksheets.


Model how to use One-Step Algebra Goggle Docs lesson that include Power Point, instructional video, and worksheets.

Email students the Two-Step Algebra Google Docs so they can watch the Two-Step Algebra Power Point, instructional video, and then take notes.

Model and practice solving two-step algebra problem on white board.

Students complete worksheets.


Teaching students how to use Google Docs provides them the ability to work independently in the classroom and lets them access the lesson anytime from any device.

Where am I now?

I have used Google Docs and Google Sheets for four years now and I continue to learn new ways to use Google Drive. I feel comfortable with the lessons that I have created in Google Docs. I feel that students will benefit from working with lessons created in Google Docs.

Where do I want to be?

I want to be more proficient in using Google as a teaching tool.  I am preparing to learn how to insert Google Docs lessons in Google School.


I have taught the lesson and it was successful with the students.


Through observation and seeing how well the student understands the lesson.


One student did very well working independently using the Google Docs lesson and taking notes. 

However, another student needed me to go through the Power Point with her and add my instructional notes during the Power Point. 

I think using the Google Docs algebra lesson was a great way for advanced math students to work ahead while allowing me time to teach other lower level math students.


I will make sure to be allow time for extra instruction for students working independently with Google Docs.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Jeanne,

It sounds like you are integrating technology well in your algebra lessons. You are fortunate that your students are already comfortable using technology and have access to laptops and other digital devices at home, and that you have a whiteboard in your classroom.

I have a few questions:

1. Can you tell us more about your students' note-taking. How do you prepare them for note-taking? What do they take notes about? Do they use a Google Doc to take notes? If so, do they they take notes together on one Google Doc, or independent notes or both?

2. Did you develop the slides, instructional video and worksheets yourself? If not, do you use Open Education Resources (OERs) or other free resources, or commercial materials? Tell us about the materials you use and why you like them.

3.  Have you experimented with using HyperDocs to make lesson plans for your algebra students? (For more about HyperDocs, built on Google docs, see a conversation in the Integrating Technology group that began in July, 2017 and still continues. There are some great resource links in several posts for learning  how to make HyperDocs.)

Thanks for sharing  your thoughtful comments on your math teaching strategies.

David J. Rosen




Jeanne Grunden's picture

1. I prepare new students to my classes for taking notes by teaching a lesson on Note Taking using several Power Points and discussing different techniques in class.

2. I use free resources (at least I think that they are free). I just started taking the OERs class and will have to double check on a few of the items. I usually remix the Power Points to fit my students' needs.

3. I have not used HyperDocs but I am curious to lean more about it. Thank you for suggesting it.



Jeanne Grunden's picture

What impact could OER have on your instructional practice.

I think that OER has helped me be more aware of licences policies as I prepare classroom and online lessons for the Adult Ed classes that I teach. I store my lesson materials (videos, Power Points, and worksheets) in google spread sheets for use in face to face classroom settings. I have also taken those material and added content (instructions and graphics) to the lessons and put them in Canvas (an online format that the college uses) and then put the same material in individual GoogleDocs as lessons.

Unfortunately, I don't think that I can openly share anything that I create, because it belongs to the college that I work for.

jerry hopkins's picture

As I teach in a prison setting in Delaware, technology is limited to computer use and my students access to those are limited. What I have begun to learn is what I can advocate for those who are in education in incarcerated settings. There may in fact be a higher percentage of ESL and other under educated students in prison settings than in the general population.

Ruth Francois's picture

Hello my name is Ruth and I am an ESOL teacher.

Based on my teaching experience, I realize all my low beginner students have smart an  android phones. They use social networking, email and text messaging. What is the most interested part of using their phones is for job search,  fill out job application on line and located addresses.The educated ones  are more  independent in using the apps than non educated ones.

Jeannie Huyser's picture

Cynthia first tried an online platform to encourage the students to interact outside of class. This was not successful, and I totally understand. I have a large multi-level adult ESL class with some of the students working or mothers who are busy raising their children. I have difficulty getting them to find time to do homework. The next technology tool she used was Facebook, where she had better success. I think face book would work better in my situation with my students. The majority of them make use of Facebook already. I could see making a private group Facebook page and ask them to post their morning routine.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Jeannie, and others,

You might be interested in the private Facebook group that Susan Gaer and I created and co-host for adult education teachers. You can read through the discussions we have had about using Facebook private groups with adult learners, and can join in the discussions to let your Facebook-using adult education colleagues know what you are trying and how it is working. If you would like to join this adult basic skills education (including ESL/ESOL) teachers group, send to Susan --  -- a LINCS CoP member, or me, , an email describing briefly how you (plan to) use Facebook with your adult basic skills learners, and we'll send you an invitation to join this free group.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group


Jeannie Huyser's picture

I liked how Neil approached her project. She needed to work through the whole process before leading her students through it. It was well thought out. She confronted her nervousness in using technology, by using technology. Yeah Nell. She took the biography project she was already working on as a class and broaden the project by showing her students how to use Pinterest. 

I don't have much experience using technology in the classroom. So I would have to experiment  using technology myself before introducing it to my students. At this point, we use the computer lab once a week for an hour. We have used You Tube to look up videos on whatever we are talking about in the classroom.

Jeannie Huyser's picture

I have not used a lot of technology in my classroom. We do have access to computers, which I will be investigating how I can make better use out of them. I have used the site for the ESL curriculum  we are using and YouTube. So, I do investigate what technology supports which ever theme we are studying in our class. I do like the POST method and I will be using it when making my lesson plans.

I will admit, I am hesitant to consider assigning my students assignments using technology outside of the classroom.

Jeannie Huyser's picture

There were many technology tools that I have not heard of. I definitely will make use of the Teacher Tube.  I am always looking for better ways to teach my ESL class. I am excited to see how I can get my students to use Podcasts.The more listening to English and pronunciation the better. I also will continue to use YouTube. I like to give my students some freedom to search for things that interest them. I think I would like to use Quizlet and Pinterest. I would use Pinterest with the Unit on Healthy  eating. All the students will be able to redo one of their recipes (make it healthier) from their country and share it with other students.

Jeannie Huyser's picture

Nell had her students write a letter to the Mayor using E-mail. The instructor was comfortable using the tool, it was the students that had problems. She had to teach her students how to sign up for e-mail. Some of the students had email accounts already, but did not remember their email addresses. I think Nell went into this project assuming it would be easy. I think she put the technology before  the people. In the end, she felt the longer process of the project was worth it. For Nell to see some of her students happy that they had an email account set up for them to communicate with their family was well worth it.

Cynthia used URL shortener and QR codes to direct her students to use a You Tube Video on living in an apartment versus living in a home. I have to admit, I don't know what a QR code is, and it seems to me that Cynthia sure knew what she wanted to accomplish here. She had do research on different technology to get to what she wanted,  Through the whole process the students did learn a lot about technology.  Cynthia stated that she could have done the assignment without technology, but in the end, I think both the teacher and the students benefited from the process.

Jeannie Huyser's picture

People: My students are High Beginning ESL students. They are adults of different ages, some working and some stay at home moms.

Their goals include:  Learning new vocabulary for foods and restaurant. Learning how to write a menu, grocery list and ordering and taking orders in a restaurant.

All of my students have Smart phones and the majority are fairly computer literate.

Objectives: By the end of this unit the students will be able to: Recognize and write vocabulary for food items and restaurant. Write out a menu and grocery list, identify healthy and unhealthy foods, and order and take orders in a restaurant. They will also be able to calculate the total restaurant bill.

Strategy: The students will make flashcards using Quizlet. We will practice the Unit vocabulary as a class and then will  pair off and  practice one on one. The students will use online search to find their their favorite recipe and then revise it into a healthier version.Students will make out a menu for a week and also make out a grocery list. Students will watch a video on You Tube about how to order and take orders in a restaurant. Students will open up their own restaurant, make a menu with the prices. Students will be in groups of four and set up their own restaurant in class and then practice ordering and taking orders. Students will each take a turn individually and as a group to share their work in class.

Technology: Keyboard skills, how to us the Search Engine, Quizlet, and You Tube.

Where am I Now?  I am very excited about the different Technology Tools I was not aware of, and am going to learn how to use those that are needed for my lesson plans. I am comfortable with You Tube, Gmail, Google Docs, Evernote, Quizlet, and Facebook. I think because of the different ages, and knowledge of the computer, I will be working with at least half my class individually in learning how to use the different technology tools. 

Where do I want to be?  I would like to learn more about how to teach the different technologies to an adult ESL class with different ages and different levels of education.

Timeline for Professional Development and Implementation:  I will investigate further on how other teachers are teaching their students how to use technology in the classroom. I will then make out a step by step plan to teach my students how to use the tools that are needed for this lesson plan.

Assessment:  We will be doing a lot of the activities as a class. I  will be able to observe if  the technology tools we used deepened student learning.

Charity Sypolt's picture


Student Technology Survey/Tech Discussion

I am an adult education teacher in a jail where my students are inmates and have extremely limited technology.  Students are not allowed to access the internet, have cell phones, or even touch the SmartBoard while it is connect to the internet.  My students access computers, without internet connection, to use interactive learning programs, Microsoft Office, and complete assignments.  I am able to use the SmartBoard during lessons as long as my students remain 24 inches from the SmartBoard.  It was a difficult transition for me to move from an adult education classroom with unlimited technology and internet access to a classroom with limited access for my students.  I spoke with my students about what technology they use outside of the facility when they are home.  Many stated Google and Youtube has taught them to do so much.  One student stated he learned to cook from recipes he found online and another stated that you can learn to do anything on Youtube.  Many of my students have children and suggested Youtube as a homework helper for their children.  Many of my students are now learning algebra and trigonometry.  Helping their child with homework has been a struggle in the past. The internet via computers, tablets, and cellphones made helping their children with homework a much easier task.  

Cookbook Actvities

Students are interested in so many different forms of technology.  Creating a cookbook is a great way to use Microsoft Office Word, Publisher, or Onenote, but you could also use Google Docs.  Instead of creating a cookbook, the students could create a cooking show.  They could write, design, record, and edit the show.  As the teacher, you have to provide your students with choices for demonstration of their skills and knowledge.  Why not provide 4 choices, let the students pick which project to complete, and then showcase the students work.  4 Choices:  cookbook, food blog, cooking show, and food review articles in a student created newspaper.  

Stop and Reflect:  Cynthia

Cynthia tried using an online sharing platform, but it didn't really work for her students.  After considering the POST method, she realized it was essential to use a platform the students were already familiar with using on a daily basis.  Cynthia was able to use Facebook, a popular social media site, to create a group for students to write, share information, and participate outside of the classroom.  When choosing a platform or any activity it is important to focus on the learners and not just the application.  Facebook was a familiar site for most of the students and students were already comfort with the process of using the application. Relying on internet or technology can also have its downfalls.  Sometimes students have no or limited access to data or Wi-Fi and technology sometimes fails.  A small town here in West Virginia hasn't had internet access for a week due to the towers being down.  Other places here in West Virginia do not have high speed internet and still uses dial up internet.  The students circumstances also need to be considered when choosing technology applications.  

Stop and Reflect:  Nell

Nell was able to use Pinterest to help students become more engaged in the activity, but also learn to use the computer and technology to find information.  Using Pinterest enhanced the lesson by providing knowledge students need to live in a 21st Century world. Students learned about creating accounts, privacy, and also where to find access to computers, tablets, or internet access.  

Module 1:  Session 2 Reflection

I have embraced technology in the past, but was also apprehensive at times.  Technology is a great resource for teaching, activities, and practice, but it also requires more work when teaching the students additional skills.  Technology skills are essential to live in today's world and using them in the classroom may take an extra lesson or step, but worth it in the long run.  Listening to Cynthia and Nell reminded me that the P in POST needs to be considered when choosing a technology resource or activity for the students.  The students abilities, knowledge, familiarity, "technology situation", and needs should be considered when deciding on what technology resources work best for the students.  

Stop and Reflect:  Tech Tools 

I am interested in learning more about Paper.Li.  I have not been able to access it in my classroom due to internet blocks with the site.  I am curious if I could use it to make newspapers for my students incorporating academic subjects and then share a printed copy with them.  Newspapers and reading materials are often hard to get in a correctional facility.  The tools can be used across all all academic or workforce courses.  

Module 3 Session 2:  Teacher's Tech Tools 

The teachers decided to use email and QR Codes to incorporate into their lessons.  Most students are tech savvy in today's world, but some students lack in skill and would benefit from the knowledge.  Both tools helped to deepen the lesson and provide students with knowledge they can use in daily living.  Email is almost essential now and also makes communicating with far away loved ones easier.  QR Codes are sometimes shown as coupons or seen in stores and restaurants.  


David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Charity,

Thanks for describing your current teaching setting and its technology limitations. SInce you do have and use a smartboard in the jail I wonder if you have some suggestions for another colleague who posted a question recently about how adult education teachers are using smartboards.

I also wonder if you have asked your students who have used YouTube or Google, what search strategies they use and how they evaluate the sites they find, what -- to them -- makes a helpful and worthwhile way to learn something new. This discussion could be a great learning experience for them, for you, and for other teachers here who would like to try that with their students. I hope you -- and others -- who might have that discussion share with us what you learn from your students and from holding that kind of discussion with them. Perhaps, of course, you have already done this. Let us know.

Since you are from West Virginia -- according to your LINCS profile -- I wonder if you have participated in any of the West Virginia adult education online professional development offered, I was told, through a Schoology platform. If so, have you found that helpful?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Charity,

After I posted this reply, I had a niggling feeling that you might already have replied in that discussion thread, and indeed you had, and I had replied to you!  In your reply you hoped others who have used smartboards in their classrooms might offer some help.  So, I hope we hear from other smartboard users in that discussion thread. Everyone: If you use a smartboard in your classes, please share with Maria, Charity, and others what you have learned about how to use it effectively.  Thanks!

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Charity Sypolt's picture

Good Morning,

During our discussion, my students' expressed learning videos or sites need to "make sense to them".  A very basic builder needs to start with basic videos.  They understood "scope and sequence" without knowing that exact terminology.  It was interesting to hear their opinions about videos that were uploaded by people who didn't really understand what they were demonstrating and why.  

WV AdultEd utilizes Schoology for groups and professional development.  I am a state mentor training instructors to teach in DOC and regional jails.  I participate as a learner and trainer.  New teachers upload assignments and I grade them.  We also use the platform to complete professional development assignments.  It helps instructors and state staff stay connected even though we are located throughout the state.  I work with new teachers face-to-face, but it provides them the opportunity to complete independent assignments and I can give prompt feedback.  

Trinity Racey's picture

Hi, I am an Adult Education Instructor.  All of my students have smart phones and they usually use them for social media or texting.  We have Ipads in our classroom.  I try to use them for social study or science lessons.  We also have our desktop computers the students use to get on TASC Academy or other online programs.

David J. Rosen's picture

Welcome Trinity to the Integrating Technology group.

Since you use TASC Academy, it sounds like you teach adult secondary education/high school equivalency preparation. Do you use TASC Academy as the online part of a blended learning program, i.e. integrated with what you do face-to-face? Have you found apps to recommend for students to use on their smartphones? If so what ones have you/they found helpful?

When you can, please complete your LINCS profile telling a little about yourself and where you teach. Feel free to ask questions here, and perhaps others can respond.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Cheryl Long's picture

I am a GED Instructor with  a variety of students. They include ESL and mixed level students. I think Google Docs and Tools are the some of the easiest tools for my students to have access to technology. Once students have this set up, they can take advantage of so much technology, However, this does take time to set up with a class of students, and of course some students will have more computer experience than others. I do agree that there is so much out there these days. Like it or not, the students can become overwhelmed with just a few options. I feel it is better to just focus on a little technology. Thus, students can gain confidence with technology skills and explore on their own.

Cheryl Long's picture

Both Instructors really went out of their way to make sure students understood the purpose of the lesson. I can understand from experience how much time a (simple technology) lesson or task can take. This may seem like a hindrance sometimes when teachers have other objectives like teaching and prepping students to pass the GED. The students really learned a lot from the lessons and were even able to pass this new found information on to others. Great Successes!

Judith Hayes's picture

I teach ABE/GED classes and have a wide variety of students, many who have English as their second language.  Not all have access to a computer or a cell phone that can get on line.  Not all use Facebook.  None blog.  I have access to computers during class one night a week and am planning to use them more often.  The GED test is an online assessment, so they really need to learn that format.  In addition, they must learn how to use the GED required calculator.  Some have access to the calculator on their Smartphones, but that is not the same as the GED calculator.  So a short term goal could be for students to learn basic skills using the calculator and then to progress to higher level skills as the need arises while learning higher level math.  

I like the way the recipes could be shared and the Facebook method used in the video for students to practice writing the 5 paragraph essay.  Reading the work of others helps students improve their own work.  Embedded in that lesson were internet safety skills - always useful! 

In addition to learning reading, math, science, and social studies, my students are required to take a Citizenship test.  I am thinking that a PowerPoint presentation might be a helpful tool for reviewing the citizenship questions.  Also, "Skills to Pay the Bills" lessons are required.  Perhaps some of that content could be researched online instead of simply taught, maybe like a scavenger hunt done in pairs so that those with fewer computer skills can be partnered with more computer savvy students, learning by doing and feeling safer.   


Judith Hayes's picture

In the past, I have not taken an inventory of the technology skills my students bring to class.  I will do this in the future.  Also, I am understanding more about how to integrate technology into lessons, not using technology for its own sake, but rather to further the objectives of the lessons.  Some activities lend themselves to technology integration more than others.  Discussing plans with peers would be helpful.

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Judith,

One of the most widely-used ways to assess adult basic skills (including ESOL/ESL) students' technology skills is the (free to students) Northstar Digital Literacy assessment. It isn't the only way, of course; there are free assessments developed by adult basic skills teachers, and there are proprietary (commercial) assessments. You'll find a couple of these proprietary assessments listed on the Literacy List  Computer and other Digital Literacy Assessments and Lessons page, as well as many free or OER digital literacy instruction sites.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Judith Hayes's picture

I have now listened to Nell's experience with using Pinterest with her students. A couple of things stand out for me.  First, after the students wrote their autobiographies and shared them with Nell, the project continued.  They found their countries and pinned them on a map, thus expanding what could have been done without the technology.  Also, as was done in the last video, students learned about internet safety and privacy. 

Judith Hayes's picture

I am interested in how to set up a blogsite so that students who miss class can keep up.  I'd just post what we did that evening, etc.  I also plan to explore TeacherTube.  Perhaps I could use links so that students could review math skills, because, often, processes are forgotten.  We only meet twice a week and have 1 1/2 hours for math.  Extra help at home would be great!

In the past we have used specific sites for specialized instruction.  Perhaps they could be used as an introduction for the topic.  

David J. Rosen's picture

Hello Judith,

You may just want someplace to post what you did in class that day, and/or to put homework assignments and practice exercises, or to put up links to supplementary lessons or to helpful online learning resources such as free math skills websites, of which there are many.  You may also be interested in doing something more ambitious, but not necessarily a great deal more work, such as video recording every class and uploading the videos to a cloud storage site like Dropbox (or any of many other cloud storage sites), or to a private YouTube channel just for your students. You would then copy a link to each archived video file to a simple website that your students can access and that has (a) separate page(s) for each of your classes. Free web page design and storage sites like or are popular with many adult basic skills teachers, and of course there are many other possibilities. At the end of each day you could take a few minutes to upload class videos, get sharable links for them and post them to the class page on your website.

You might wonder what you need to video your classes: a digital camera or smartphone; smartphones that allow one hour or more for each video might do. You would aim the camera at yourself and basically stay in that well-lit spot when presenting or demonstrating. You would need a stand for the smartphone or digital camera. You can get a small camera stand that can be put on a table or desk for under $5 on Amazon or other website that sells digital camera stands, or in stores that sell digital cameras. You might want to buy a portable lapel Mic for yourself so that whatever you say is clear and loud in the video. For class video archiving, I recommend against trying to edit your video because this takes lots of time and editing skills; just upload it, as is, and link to it on your class website. Of course, for other reasons you might prefer to create a blog instead of a class website, although I think a website or a free online class shell program like Schoology or Edmodo might better meet your needs for helping students keep up when they miss a class. My preference for blog sites is for the free -- easy-to-use and excellent --, but there are other choices such as blogspot.

It would be great to hear from other teachers who have found good web-based solutions to help their students keep up when they have missed classes!

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Judith Hayes's picture

It seemed that both instructors were comfortable with the technology used.  Even with good planning, Nell ran into some unforeseen problems, but she and the students were flexible so it worked out.  As she said, she would arrange the lesson differently the next time.  Both lessons increased communication - Nell's between classmates and with family back in Pakistan and Cynthia's with classmates and family.  Both taught skills that are transferable outside the classroom, so they did improve instruction and deepen understanding.  I think they both used the best choices of technology to meet their objectives.  

James Painchaud's picture

Hi,  I currently teach in a Mass high school computer science and also evenings as a technologist for adult learners who are trying to pass the GED and ESOL.  Both are very rewarding.  My students in high school have their cell phones, access to a Windows based desk top computer, and they have school issued chrome books.  My adult evening students have access to chrome books, cell phones, and ThinkPads.  My adult students are using software apps from for GED and HiSET and ESOL uses Burlington English.  It is my job to aid my students in learning how to find and use new digital tools to complete their tasks and to help in their learning. Our students learn how to navigate the digital world within browsers, how to type, and many other skills. So glad I found these online courses on Lincs for PD and self-growth.  I have been reading other teachers posts and comments and appreciate all the resources and suggestions provided. Thank you!

David J. Rosen's picture

Thanks James for introducing yourself.  I am interested to hear more about how your adult learners are using their cell phones for GED or HiSET Prep, for ESOL or other purposes. Have you introduced them, for example to any of the prize-winning Adult Literacy XPRIZE apps? Do you know about "App to Speed" learning circles for introducing students who wish to use their smartphones for basic ESOL or basic literacy? Are your students using the Essential Ed apps on a computer, or on their smartphones, or both?

What are the tasks for which you are seeking digital tools for your students, and would you like recommendations from this group on what software tools you might consider? LINCS groups, including Integrating Technology are part of a community of practice where teachers and other adult basic skills practitioners are encouraged to post their questions and where they often get good suggestions from other adult basic skills educators and others.

BTW, I live in Boston, so we may be neighbors!

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Megan Tamalavitch's picture

My name is Megan. I do tech support for an Adult Basic Education program in Webster, MA. I have found that most of our students have smart phones, though not all students have active phones. Most have access to some type of technology. They have tablets and computers or at least know where to find something of that nature to use. Our program uses Burlington English, Duolingo, and for our English language learners. We use Essential Education for our GED/HiSet students. It is amazing to see how fast our students are making progress towards their goals!

Megan Tamalavitch's picture

Personally, I like to use Google Suite apps in all my teaching. I think for the cook book idea I would suggest something along the lines of a Google slides presentation. I think Google Sites could also be good. Creating a website that is easily editable and interactive would make for an interesting way to store recipes for a class project. Either Google Slides or Google Sites could utilize pictures taken from class of the recipes while they are actually being made and of the finished product. A smart phone or a digital camera could be used for this. 

Megan Tamalavitch's picture

Cynthia tried to use on online commenting platform and Facebook. Facebook worked better because most students already had accounts and were familiar with how it worked. They were more comfortable writing in this format and knew what to do. A limitation of Facebook is that it is a public site. No matter how secure you try to make a public site, there are always ways around that. Personal information on the web doesn't always stay personal. As for the other online commenting platform, it is still out there on the web, but they are generally more private because they are usually used for the express purpose classes communicating with each other. 

Megan Tamalavitch's picture

Nell's use of Pinterest allowed students to expand their search area from magazines to everything the internet has to offer. It opened up a lot of new opportunities for image searches for her students. It also allowed them to collaborate in a way that students not using technology rarely do. Pairing up students who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with technology with those who are more comfortable/familiar is a great idea. It takes the fear out of trying something new that a lot of people who don't use technology on a regular basis have. I'm happy that Nell was able to overcome her own fear of trying some new technology tools. 

Megan Tamalavitch's picture

After listening to the two teachers reflect, I realized that some of the technology I take for granted could be put to great use in a classroom. I would never think to use Facebook or Pinterest in a classroom, but both teachers made great cases for why they should be considered. I think that I tend to get bogged down with traditional technology styles and tools and need to explore more contemporary tools out there. I have taken trainings before that have opened my eyes to new tools. This has opened my eyes again. 

Based on this, I think that I can use a tool that I found (flipgrid) that lets students record themselves speaking. This could be used to record their self-assessments instead of having them write them down. Flipgrid lets students record their responses on a computer with a camera or on a smart phone. It gives them the opportunity to rerecord if they choose and lets them add silly stickers and such to make the app more fun. The recordings are sent to a "flip code" that the teacher gives out. That way, only the people with the code can record and only the teacher can see the recordings. I can't wait to try it out.

Megan Tamalavitch's picture

After looking at the list of technology tools, I realized that there are a lot of tools out there that I never thought to employ in a classroom. I have never considered using podcasts in class before and now realize what a great tool it could be, for instance, for an English learner to listen to people speaking English about different topics. I have used Google products with classes before. I try to use them extensively. I have seen QR codes used before but have never used them myself. It is something I would like to explore. 

Megan Tamalavitch's picture

The first teacher chose a technology tool to integrate that one would assume everyone would be somewhat skilled in using. Being the technologist assigned to helping students with email addresses, I'm not surprised so many people had trouble with it. I often find that people either have no idea how to create an email address or only use one on their phone and have no idea what their password is since they don't type it on a regular basis. I've had to help reset many a password. I think it was valuable that the teacher added technology to the letter writing lesson because the students came away from that lesson with a new skill. Even if they already knew how to do what was asked, those students were able to help others which is also an important skill. 

As for the second teacher, QR codes are interesting. I know if a teacher came to one of my classes and showed us how to use a QR code it would have piqued my interest. I'm glad she was able to unwittingly extend her lesson for the students. It shows that that bit of technology can be utilized for so much because 1. it is easy to use 2. it is fun to use. 


Patricia Fahrner's picture

I teach a Low Intermediate ESL class at an off site location associated with Chicago City Colleges. The building is older, but I use a laptop and projector in the classroom for instruction. I also have access to a computer lab once a week for 2 hours. I have a variety of ages and computer literacy levels. I take the students each week to the lab. Sometimes I pair based on students abilities, sometimes to have the more savvy students help the less savvy. I have mostly used these sessions to reinforce what we've been practicing in class. I use the online tool that coordinates with our text and various websites to practice grammar and pronunciation mostly.

The individual time with the computer helps those who are not savvy become more savvy. It takes a lot of encouragement for these students who are, naturally, intimidated. 

All of my students have cell phones, most of them are smart phones, but few have a lot of data. We talk about the fact that students can use the computers at our location or Chicago public libraries to practice, but few have the time to do this. Many do not have the confidence to use a computer on their own. 

Some have access to a computer with internet at their home, but some don't know how to access it. It's an issue that I keep trying to address, but it's very rewarding to see the students who are able to improve their skills with the assistance of technology.  

I have also tried using Google tools, having students use their smart phones to practice, but I haven't tried getting everyone to use a tool like Pinterest. I like that idea. I plan to try it.


Patricia Fahrner's picture

The first instructor took the obstacles in her first attempt at an email to the mayor to develop a better plan. I don't think I've ever tried something with technology involved that worked without needing adjustment to improve it. I like how she broke up the lesson into pieces for success.

As far as the second instructor's lesson, Ididn't even imagine the possibilities of Bitly or QR codes until I read her account of using them. I will definitely explore these tools.

Nancy Nickerson's picture

How would I use technology following a recipe lesson?  The students could make a video of themselves making the dish.  They could post a blog, do a powerpoint, send a link to a recipe's step by step instructions.  

Nancy Nickerson's picture

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?  Cynthia tried an online platform at the beginning of her class.  She said that was not a great choice because it was just another place and task her busy students had to go to do their work.  So she came up with the idea of creating a facebook group just for the class members.  Here they could write their assignments, read other students' work and upload documents.  They could like and share links.  This turned out to be a great way to use technology while showcasing the students' assignments.  



Nancy Nickerson's picture

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning.  Wow, what a great lesson and what a lot of learning went on in this lesson, even for Nell.  Her students not only learned about each other by all the sharing they did on Pinterest they also learned about technology.  How to search for images, how to move around the Pinterest site.  I loved when she stated that the students felt so comfortable and enjoyed this site so much that they did over and above what the teacher had assigned.  Now, they are using this site for other lessons.  

Nancy Nickerson's picture

After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?

I really have not used technology other than testing and Word Documents.  I have all ready created an account with a ReadWorks for my students so they can practice reading and answering short questions online at home or in the classroom.  It has been a huge success, especially with the subjects of Social Studies and Science.  I am definitely going to try the facebook account for my HiSET learners.  I really think the "classroom" away from the classroom will be a great help for some of these students, especially when it comes to checking up on each other.  Also, for highlighting celebrations and problems students may encounter on assignments.  I am going to try assigning lessons and have them posted on this site, I can't wait to get started.  After this class I feel like I have more confidence to try using more technology.  

Nancy Nickerson's picture

After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need? The repurposed site is the facebook site.  I had never thought to use that and make a classroom group.  Also, I guess I never thought to use Google Docs for my classroom.  I use it with other teachers but not with my students.  Also, I am going to check out the Weebly for education.  I think that could be fun to create a HiSET website for our district.  And the PollEverywhere site for students after they have completed program.  

Nancy Nickerson's picture

 As you listen, think about the following:

  • Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool?  The instructors used Khan Academy, URL Shortner-Bitley)this was new for instructor) and UR code( this was new for instructor) and email
  • Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? Yes in both classes.  If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool? 
  • Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How? Yes, in both classes.  It made learning fun and it also encouraged the learning to go beyond the classroom and the lessons.
  • Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? I think so.  The email was so simple but had many parts to take of before it could be done completely.  This was something the teacher really had to do once to understand so she tweaked her lesson the second time around.  What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use? Nell could have used Word Doc to write the letters and then send, snail mail to the Mayor.  
Nancy Nickerson's picture

I am a new Learning Center Coordinator and have very little knowledge about using technology in the classroom.  So this will be a super class for me to take.  Looking forward to it.  

Nancy Nickerson's picture

After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Yes, I would like to explore the online networking tools and the Weebly for education, website and blog.  Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? I did learn new ways of using existing tools.  I love the idea of being able to shorten long videos I also like the Multimodal Communication tools.  How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?  Facebook can be repurposed to meet the needs of a classroom and not just an individual.  

Nancy Nickerson's picture

Steps to completing the Technology Integration Action Plan:

  1. Select a unit/lesson that you currently use in your classroom - Setting Goals
  2. Complete Part 1 of the Technology Integration Action Plan on Applying the POST Method: My students are HiSET learners ranging between the ages of 18-55.  Their goal is to create a resume.  Included in this will be learning parts of a resume, vocabulary, peer editing and then finding three employers they could submit resume to.  Objectives:  Learn new vocabulary words that will be used while creating resume.  Learn how to format resume, peer edit with at least one other, research places in area to apply, submit resume.  Learn and become familiar with keyboard and resume building sites. Strategy and Technology:  Brainstorm what will be included in resume.  View resumes online. Type out resume on Word Doc.  Enter resume parts on resume builder template.  Peer edit with constructive and helpful ideas. Google jobs that are hiring.  Submit resume when ready.   
  3. Select a technology tool to explore and integrate into your unit/lesson Resume templates, Word Doc.  Email and attachment
  4. Complete Part 2 of the Technology Integration Action Plan on Planning for Integrating Technology.Where Am I now.  I am very good at searching the internet for sites and examples of product being produced.  I am going to do my research to find the best Resume template site for my students and make sure I know my way around it before they get on it.  
Richard Benton's picture

Challenge students to find fusion versions by searching the various recipe ingredients individually. Have students research the history and other uses of one of the spices in the chosen recipe. Find photos of the completed recipe and have students contrast those with their own idea of what the finished dish should look like. Have students explore adding a new ingredient to the dish.