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:


Applying the POST Method:

People – Who are my students and what are their learning goals? What are their existing technology skills, areas of challenge, and level of access to technology devices?

The class this particular lesson plan was created for is a Transition Skills class that offers lessons in life skills, employability skills, and builds on

College and Career Readiness for ASE students and EDU students who have recently completed the GED process.

The ASE /EDU students in this course come with varying degrees of existing technology skills and familiarity. The majority of my students have access to the Internet in their homes and know how to navigate a computer environment. They all have smartphones and can access the Internet through their phones and some of the interactive programs we will be using with this lesson can be accessed through their phones as well.

Objectives – What are the learning objectives for the unit or lesson? When possible, objectives should describe observable behavior. What will the learners be able to do at the end of the unit or lesson?

Learning Outcomes:

1. Conduct Online Research to find the basic skills you need to possess for your

    desired occupation.

2. Establish a monthly budget and forecasted budget.

3. Gain an awareness of the role your choices make in establishing your future career


4. Implement effective decision-making skills.

Strategy – Considering your students’ goals, their existing technical skills, and areas of challenge, what strategies will you apply to achieve the learning objectives of the unit or lesson?

1. Prepare the students to access their assignments through our LMS (Desire 2 Learn).

2. Cover the instruction for today's assignment by opening the files in our D2L classroom as a class and present on the Smartboard. Each student has a laptop to follow along.

3. Hand out copies of "The Self-Sufficiency Standard Worksheet" from Integrating

Career Awareness in the ABE & ESOL Classroom. This sheet provides a fillable table for Family Budget and Family Economic Self-Sufficiency (FESS) Standards Budget.

We will also cover "Why You Need a Personal Budget" for instruction on an application of decision-making skills. (From "Start Out! Building Essential Life Skills" workbook).

4. Using an example individual and financial scenario: We will work in small groups and research Online the FESS standards for our area and discuss how they can apply that as a comparison with this individual's current budget. We will work together as a class applying the found information to a Google Sheet that is accessible to all students through our Google Classroom.

5. The students will work on a forecasted budget for themselves in Microsoft Excel and submit through the Dropbox in our D2L classroom.

These Online activities are activities were introduced at the beginning of the course and are touched on a fairly regular basis within the classroom.

Technology – What technology tools best support your objectives and match your students’ skills? What do you have the capacity to implement? 

The technology tools that we use include the basics; keyboarding, effective navigation of computers, downloading and uploading files, Online activities for research, working in discussion forums in our LMS classroom, and uploading assignments to the D2L Dropbox; and working together using interactive Online environments such as Google Drive. We have the capacity to implement all of these Online opportunities in the classroom.

Where am I now? Having currently implemented these Online activities into the lesson plans, I feel confident in integrating them into the classroom activities and assignments going forward. At the
onset of class, the students were a little apprehensive about accessing the LMS classroom but seemed more at home with using the Google environment. As we have continued to use
both, the students have felt more confident with initiating their own use of both. Repetition is key.

Where do you want to be? There are three areas of technology that I would like to gain a level of comfortability with and incorporate into a lesson or two within the course in the future:
1. Podcasting technology
2. Videography
3. Building a Classroom Website
I would like to incorporate audio and video into the lesson plans that students can listen to at any time and anywhere to encourage ongoing learning and accessibility around their busy schedules. I would also like to introduce a class/course website to teach them the dynamics of websites, how to use them effectively and potentially create one of their own. This will help them grow their Digital Literacy skills.

Timeline for Professional Development and Implementation: With the technology goals I have set for the course, I would like to introduce these technology options by this Fall semester. This will give me two months to study the technology and find a use for it that enhances our objectives and helps the students engage with the lessons. I will provide instruction on the basic use of technology tools.

Assessment: The technology skills will be measured through the students' ability to access the audio and video content, to navigate the LMS, Google Drive, and/or Website for the course. A Digital Literacy Skills Survey and Quiz through Google Docs will be created and assigned to assess their comfort level, an understanding of what they feel they are gaining from the added technology to the lesson plans and the quiz will provide answers to what they have learned about effective digital awareness to apply to their lives outside of the classroom for college and career preparedness. The ultimate assessment is the student's ability to effectively use the tools and programs.

What are the Results? After teaching the lesson on The Career Planning Process: Establishing a Monthly Budget, I observed that my students were willing to access the assignment through D2L with guidance. They seemed to enjoy the group assignment on the example individual monthly budget and compiling the information and putting it in a Google Sheet that we worked on together
as a class. The individual forecasted budget in the Microsoft Excel document was created by a couple of my students and the others requested to use Google Sheets instead to submit to the Google Classroom. As the students use these tools more frequently, they have developed confidence with the technology but they still have a preference on which to use and which is more convenient for them to use.

What would you improve upon/ change? I would like to incorporate a game or competitive Online quiz that will help them with building a budget, understanding finance terminology, utilizing effective problem-solving/decision-making skills, etc. And also provide activities that involve creating tables or spreadsheets to encourage them to embrace these tools and enhance their desire to use this in their personal and professional lives.


My name is Benny Williams, and I am a part-time GED in Spanish instructor at a community college in the Dallas, TX area. Although, there are hundreds of methods and strategies-each with a catchy acronym, I like the POST method for its simplicity: People → Objectives → Strategy → Technology! However, it takes serious and sincere efforts to determine the specifications of each step and implement each step. It's completely new to me because I have just used document cameras and projectors in my classroom. It's going to take me some time to first reflect on the steps before I can start implementing them. The technology Integration Action Plan worksheet is very helpful, and I am still editing it although I have completed it except for the "Reflections" part of it. I am only thinking of making a powerpoint presentation on the Google Docs for my unit on "graphing data" and having the students make a shorter one in groups on the Google docs for the rest of the groups to see and learn. As I become more comfortable with other resources like "Creative Commons", I will have them share their work in other social media.   


I want to be able to use the Google classroom comfortably so that my students and I can share the activities in a common place. However, I am not quite ready for implementing that. I know that Google offers free courses on Google classrooms, so I am planning to take them. Also, some ideas on Google Docs in the classroom at   I will go over with my students how to get a Google account, access the Google classroom, and make and post powerpoint presentations within it. I will model making powerpoint presentations with images and text. My students will work in groups in which at least one student feels comfortable using the computer. Each group will make and post its powerpoint presentation on graphing data that has two images of the same kind of graph, say double bar graphs and ask three interpretive questions on each graph. The other groups will work on circle graphs, dot plots, box and whisker plots, histograms, and scatter plots. On completion of this project, the students will be able to view two examples of and six interpretive questions on each of the six kinds of graphs.          

Benny, I love the project you have in mind to do with your students and I am sure they will be learning a ton and having fun doing it. I wanted to offer some suggestions in terms of which Google tools you use and some options that may make this experience much easier for you and your students. 

First a clarification; Google has many tools and people often make reference to tools that may not exactly be the best Google option available.

For example, you mentioned Google Classroom which is a great classroom management tool that basically allows you to organize assignments and track progress. These assignments can be online or offline and there are many communication options within the assignment options. I am not sure that this tool is one you want to start right off with simply because it may be better to get familiar with some of the other Google tools first so that you don't get frustrated with assignments not really functioning the way you hope they would. 

Google Docs is Google version of a word processor similar to Microsoft's Word, the open source Open Office, or the open source Libra Office. Many people assume Google Docs is the "go to" tool to have students process projects, but I personally feel it is limited to mostly writing and research that involves only basic pictures. For more complex projects there are better Google tools to try. 

In the second paragraph you suggest a sequence that raises a few questions for me. First, I love the fact that you are attempting to break the project down to steps! To continue with that theme I would offer the following suggestions and a few questions for you.

Step 1: Get a Google account. This is where it all begins and a great place to start. Be aware that if you have a sizable number of students all trying to get an account at the same time (within 10-15 min of each other) Google can sometimes interpret that as a server attack and they may start adding steps to the account creation process. Students might start having to enter code words displayed as graphics on the screen. These are called Captcha and it is an attempt to verify that the student is, indeed a human and not some computer program just trying to flood their servers with requests. This all happens because our school networks often have very similar Internet addresses each machine latches onto. So, when Google gets a flood of requests all from the same building it starts acting like it is under a cyber attack. This can be frustrating for new users trying to sign up! You may want to somehow parse out students signing up if you have more than 10-15 students. 

Step 2: Google Classroom: I would skip this on your first attempt at having students work in this environment. My concern is that the process of setting up assignments may require you to have much more comfort with all the tools and how they integrate. Without that comfort and experience, it is unfortunately quite easy to create assignments or introduce the Google classroom environment in a way that adds frustration for your learners. 

Step 2 (revised): You mention next a Powerpoint presentation. To clarify, Powerpoint is a Microsoft program used to make presentations and it uses codes, resources and procedures that mostly align to the way Microsoft designs their software. While it is possible to bring Powerpoint projects over to Google Drive (think of this as a personal storage space Google sets aside for you for all sorts of files you might use), When you go to open a Powerpoint file from within Google Drive you will be prompted to choose which program option you wish to open the file in. This can get confusing for learners on a first go. You may wish to consider using Google Slides. Slides is just like Powerpoint in that it allows learners to create digital presentations. My suggestion would be to get students using Google Slides in a very simple way at first. Using the Speaker Notes area under every slide, have them simply put a short description of what would appear on that slide. What topics or info will be covered as well as hints of images that might work well. For example: one slide 4 a learner might put, "Sharing a brief history of the conditions that lead to Columbus setting off on his first voyage to the New World. Image of Chris meeting with royalty and maybe a dockside image with what his ships might have looked like". Note there are no specific facts yet. 

This process creates an outline for the project and you may want learners to peer edit each other's "flow" or to offer image ideas to each other before going on to the next steps. 

Step 3: Getting data - This is where learners might start grabbing online links to information and storing those links in the Speaker Notes or even just on the slide for future access. This can then be fleshed out into key phrases the presenter might have on screen during their sharing of the information. In order to not bore the audience you may want to set a limit on how much text appears on any given slide. I find no more than 3 sentences with each sentence having five or fewer words works well to help learners focus on the fact that the text is to stimulate the audience into the key points presented in the slide. The Speaker Notes area is where they put their whole speech for that slide.

Step 4; Getting images - Based on their notes, this becomes a fun scavenger hunt type step. Learners often have fun looking for "just the right images" that give the feel and meaning they wish on each slide.

Step 5. Graphs of data - OK now we really fall into two options. If the topics the learners are engaging in have existing graphs available, then inserting those graphs is often similar to just putting images into the presentation. If the learners are actually building the graphs, Google Slides is not the tool they should be using for this step. Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program that is much better equipped for making graphs from data, but this is a deep rabbit hole that could take a good amount of time for learners to get familiar with. It may not be a good first attempt target. A third option is to have learners make graphics on paper and then take photos. These photos can be added into the presentation and are treated like images from step 4. 

Step 6: Sharing - When your groups are all set to share their work with others in the class, you could have learners present up in front of the class, but this may intimidate some learners on a "first attempt". You could have learners use the Share function to invite peers to their work in a way that only allows peers to leave comments. The peers can not edit the other work. If you set expectations that peers are to leave positive, constructive comments (and you would benefit from discussions as to what that means), then the group gets tons of feedback and everyone gets to learn from each other's work. 

Sorry for the long read! When I read your post I was super excited that you were diving into such a project and I am hopeful you find success in this first outing! I am sure others in this discussion thread may have suggestions to offer as well from their experiences. Please feel free to share any questions with this group you can. We all want to help each other find success and share in the successes of others. That means of course that you have to let us know how things go too  

I hope the thoughts above are helpful for you to consider, please reply with any clarifications or questions the above solicited.


I would like to explore all the social platforms such as Google docs, Evernote, Bitly, and others that support cellphones as almost all students in my class have smartphones. For instructional purposes I would like to explore the resources for the multimodal communications resources such as YouTube and others and Weebly to create mobile friendly websites. For teacher-student and student-student interactions, I would like to use the collaborative writing tools.

I am not exactly sure how I can utilize the most commonly used Facebook and Twitter platforms to make my classroom groups for sharing academic work as suggested by Cynthia Bell and Pinterest as suggested by Nell Eckersley. However, emails can be used for sharing ideas and documents from class activities very easily.   

  • Nell used the most common communication tool, the email, so she was very comfortable using the tool, but some of her students were not ready or comfortable. It was appropriate for her lesson on the city government and community input in the governance of the city. Some students need to be trained from scratch in that she had to get them email addresses, have them use strong passwords, and open their email account from public computers. The students had a greater sense of community, helped each other with their assignments, sent assignments to the instructor when they couldn't come to class, and enjoyed using the email. She did not mention if she had her students set up their email accounts on their smartphones. That would have avoided some hurdles with reserving the computer lab and using the public computers.
  • Cynthia took advantage of the fact that most of the students had the smartphones and used them as the technology tool for her class. She copied and pasted the QR code that she made for the long video lesson address from Khan Academy in her handouts. The students were able to get the hang of it and started enjoying the new tool in class and outside the classroom with their families. QR codes are not as common as the email is although some stores like Sam's Club use it for speedy check-outs. Multimodal instruction is a way to differentiate instruction, and hybrid lessons are certainly indispensable for the 21st century teaching and learning.

After listening to Cynthia Bell's recording, I can definitely see how she became successful integrating Facebook as a tool within her class.  Pretty much everyone has a Facebook account, and it's a web site that they will be familiar with using.  Setting up private accounts for those students who were leery to the web site, was also a good idea. I am a person who is leery of Facebook and one who doesn't log in that much.  I would be willing to use it within my class if it would encourage the integration of technology a little bit more.

Hello Oleavia and others,

AEFE (Adult Educators Using Facebook for Education)  is a Facebook private group for adult basic skills (including (ESL/ESOL) teachers. Susan Gaer and I started it a few years ago. If you are interested in creating or doing more with a private Facebook group for your class, this group might be helpful. You can post questions there, too, and perhaps get some help. Email me if you would like an invitation to join.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Both teachers used good ideas, in my opinion.  I have found that several of my students did not have an email account, and if they did, they used it rarely.  Most did not know how to upload attachments to their emails.  I too have required my students to use smartphones during class because it is a device that they are familiar with using (their own brand of smartphone).  Sharing QR codes to access video links is also good, as they struggle with entering in full links.  I have tried both of these ideas in past classes and they proved to be useful.

I can relate to teachers having many different levels of ability and comfort levels in regards to using technology. One teacher mentioned even being able to use the keyboard. This is common in my adult ed classroom. I have the students who are familiar with technology help those that are less knowledgeable. Students that need practice keyboarding can practice on a computer on their own. I also can relate to the teacher that said when helped some of her women students set up email accounts, they cried! I realize that some things I take for granted, are not readily available to everyone. One way I bring the class together using technology is through working on Power-points and writing captions. It's a collaboration of written word and visuals which applies to any level while learning how to use the program and find pictures and information on line. Most of my students need to start with the basics. There is an emphasis where I work to teach job training and job searching skills, or preparation for a vocational or higher educational program. Applying the POST method, I would say the big picture objective is to get my students into the workforce, workforce training, or school, even though that is not the objective of many of my students who are stay at home Moms or retired, so I have to integrate using technology for many different needs into English language learning.  

Teaching technology takes time, so it takes patience. My classes are a lot about pacing. Incorporating video is wonderful. I also have students use their phones to make videos about subjects of their choices, or acting out role play situations. It can be fun and brings the class community closer together. I have used TED talks for more advanced classes, sometimes slowing the speech, but usually, TED talks are too advanced for most of my students. 

Hi, I'm Dawn Johnson from Northland Pioneer College in northern AZ. The majority of my students have either smartphones or iphones. Most of my students use their phones not only to communicate with family members, but in class they will look up definitions to terms we use in class. Also, we all access Quizlet and various other apps that enhance learning in my classes. We've been using apps in class for a couple of years now to help make learning more engaging.

I have heard of webeely and digital citizenship mentioned several times, but little did I know what they really mean or do.  Taking this course has really opened my eyes about what incorporating technology actually means to the students and the teacher. I have totally overcome my fear about technology use after taking this course.

For six years now I have been a part time HiSet instructor for a local Missouri college. Until I completed this course I was worried about using technology in my classroom. My students range in age from 55 to 16 years. I have noticed the younger ones use their smartphone for three things: music, Facebook and texting. While my older students turn theirs off until a scheduled break. I have always wanted to do more with technology, but we only have one laptop and I never thought of using the phones. It makes sense; they use them everyday anyway! May as well put them to good use. I really loved the lesson Cynthia Bell created. It gave me a new way to use technology with my students and keep them engaged in learning. I plan to make QR Codes to link student assignments to Khan Academy with CCR standards.

Hello I am a high equivalency math instructor. When I enrolled in this course, I wanted tips so I can use in my classroom. That is exactly what I received from this course. I really took notes on how to simplify urls so it can be easier for others to access.

My students are Level 4 ABE students in my Adult Education class. Their goal is to obtain their GED. Some have passed other sections of the test and for some this will be their first attempt at taking a portion of the GED test.

Several of my students have a computer at home. However, all my students have access to a computer during class.  The students with computers at home have better computer skills than those students who only use a computer during class. All my students have smart phones and are proficient using Facebook.

Introduce evidence writing skills
Select two articles on same topic with opposing points of view
Read critically
Decide which supports claim BETTER your opinion doesn't matter
Use graphic organizer to organize evidence
State your claim
Write your response as a word document (This is what is required at test site.)Share copies of two articles with opposing points of view hard copies as well as, on white board
Discuss the merits of each article
Highlight the  specific  support each author presented
Decide which author presents the strongest argument. Your opinion doesn't matter.
Complete the graphic organizer
Review components of evidence writing
        state your claim
        use logical reasoning, data, statics to support your claim
        paraphrase save quotes for finer points
        bridge how evidence supports claim Key boarding skills
How to use Microsoft Word which is the platform used on the GED Test
Copy and drag skills
Copy and paste  skills
Setting up an email account for those that don't have one
Learn how to use Zoom. I am very comfortable using Word and have used it for many years. however, I worry about my students that only have their smart phones. It is difficult to work I such a small window. They may have to write their response at home and use the computer during class. I want to learn use Zoom. With distance learning becoming the norm during this pandemic, I want to be able to continue our classes.
 I plan on taking a webinar provided through my local Board of Education.. The test is timed so students can't write it long hand and then type it. They only are allowed a white board to organize ideas. Copying and dragging is a crucial skill for organizing the essay.
I have attended meeting via Zoom, but I have never organized a Zoom session. I need to learn that and then help my students get the app .ASAP due to mandatory school closings, I want to learn to use Zoom. With distance learning becoming the norm during this pandemic, I want to be able to continue our classes.
 I plan on taking a webinar provided through my local Board of Education. Student feedback
Make modifications based on that feedback.


Hello Faye, and others,

Faye, you wrote, "I need ways/strategies to help [my students] while they use their cell phones to learn the curriculum."

There are several discussions taking place in the Integrating Technology group now about strategies to provide instruction to adult learners who have only cell phones and smartphones. For example, I recommend these:

1. Preparing for and offering adult basic skills online during the pandemic

Posted by David J. Rosen. 102 comments and 7,976 views

This is a long-running, and continuing discussion, begun in Mid-March, of how teachers and tutors are moving instruction entirely online/remotely/at a distance during the pandemic in which all classroom doors have been shut and teaching can only take place online.  It begins with teachers describing their learning curves in moving classes online and evolves to an in depth discussion of teaching online.  Resources from this discussion have been added to a summary document by Moderator David J. Rosen that will be found here, at

2. WhatsApp & More for Adult Learners

Posted by Nan Frydland. 327 Views, 2 comments by April 8, 2020

This is a discussion about Nan Frydland’s journey as an ESL teacher moving her classes online.

3. Discussion with Kim Gates, Veteran Adult Education Online Instructor from Atlantic Technical College

Posted by Steve Schmidt


David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Techology group

I found Pinterest about five years ago. It has a great deal of information and usable lessons. It is a great tool for both professional and personal use.

I would like to explore Weebly. If we could have a class website, I believe a lot of learning and sharing could occur. A new for of multi modal communication is Tik Tok. I think that would be useful in the classroom.

I'm taking this course as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced me to become an online ESL instructor with two classes in an adult education program. I've noted my trajectory in the main thread about integrating technology, so I will just note here that I had not been a proponent of technology prior to the pandemic. I had just started learning how to use a smartboard, which had become available in one of my classes. Because I work with low-literacy learners and believe in culturally responsive teaching, I believe that establishing interconnectedness in the face to face classroom is essential to reduce the cultural dissonance that many Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education experience and that this is achieved by students sharing their funds of knowledge, working collaboratively, and using orality as the means of transmission. In my view, digital literacy is similar to print literacy---a challenge for those whose traditions are based in orality for everything from problem-solving to child rearing. The focus in my classroom is on orality first and to build on familiar language, and to build more oral language, before using print. Students who are unfamiliar with writing need practice to master it, so that would be another difficult step for my adult students who were already facing a lot of challenges, and who, in my view, didn't need another layer of challenge such as the one digital literacy would present.

All of this thinking came to a sudden halt when our school closed on March 13. I had anticipated this event and had both of my classes create class groups on WhatsApp so that we could stay connected, but less than half of my students were present on the final day of our classes. My students had recently used QR codes for homework assignments in commercial textbooks, and many had WhatsApp on their phones to call home countries. But many students did not have a phone, less than five out of 56 had computers, and only a handful from each class arrived in WhatsApp class at the appointed times on March 16.

Having completed almost all of the coursework, I think it's interesting that the smartboard seems to be a relic that existed so briefly as to be meteoric in its trajectory. Sadly, our district has just spent a fortune on them as I attend conferences and listen to tales of these devices laying waste in classrooms where they have already been abandoned. I imagine that that is because the focus now is on the learner's independence, and on mobility. Here again, as someone who has spent many years studying, researching and practicing in the realm of low literate adult learning, I believe that the human component of learning is the most essential feature and that the urge to use as many forms of technology as possible is at best a reflection of a populist craving for more, better, now, that is not necessarily a component of less industrialized or collectivist cultures.

However, I have been trained to shift on a dime as necessary and found that skill useful as our usual classroom course was interrupted almost five weeks ago. So I wrote on big white sheets of paper in my no-tech classroom: Problem Solvers: What are we going to do? And after our class, in our Freirean way, considered the issue of our school's closing, we decided to fumble around with our phones and create a class group and name ourselves Problems Solvers #1. In this way, we jumped aboard the technology bandwagon and have been riding it since. I will save the next chapter for a second post.

In summary, I once was opposed to technology in the classroom and now I have found it essential. I am open to learning more, in service to my students.


I have used for years to share work with conference participants, and I like Cynthia Bell's use of it to make QR codes so that her students could access videos. I assume that she didn't have a smartboard in the classroom so that the entire class could watch together, since that would be easiest.  If students miss a video in class, it's great to have access at home, like I did to my professor's lectures while earning my teaching master's. (Also, I had to watch them like five times to get them, especially on linguistics.) However, while learning at home I had the disadvantage of not being able to share views with other students. In the ESL classroom I want to promote as much communication among learners as possible, which is one reason I am not convinced that the devotion to "independent learner" is a good idea. In fact, most of us learn with others, not independently, as do most people in the world. I know that this is contrary to formal education in America and it also why so many students struggle. Therefore, I am of the mind that we can use technology not just for independent learning, but for COMMUNAL learning and for collaboration.


So I lost 3/4 of my two classes the day we started WhatsApp because our school closed. Those who are onboard are dedicated and we've had wonderful times. I made funny, instructional videos because it's better to have authentic videos than most of the silly canned stuff I see on YouTube, to have familiar people, places and things as a scaffolding device and also to create interconnectedness. Here is the teacher ironing her blouse.  Here is her husband with the toilet tissue.  But my students can't operate in a classroom setting on a phone. Only the most literate of them have survived in this new technology.  For some, their eyes are old, their fingers stiff.  For others, they are earning money now doing hard and dangerous work. Still others might participate if they weren't marginalized by the cost of technology. So I can't wait to get back to my no-tech classroom where all the people who aren't actually well-served by technology will once again have paper, markers, teacher handouts, amateur videos and each other to support all their learning.


Unfortunately for my students, they have very limited access to technology.  I teach in a medium/maximum security prison!  They students have access to typing lessons in a computer lab.  We have recently introduced a pilot Tablet Program, with limited access to 12 tablets in the whole school.  Our goal is to get a set of 15-20 tablets for every classroom.  We can only hope!

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.

In the prison setting, my students are unable to share information with each other.  However, I was thinking it would be fun for each student to create a study guide and a quiz for a specific lesson. Then they could swap with each other to see if other students could pass the quiz using only the study guide. 

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?

Teaching in a prison, is like teaching in the middle ages.  There are so many opportunities my students miss out on, because of lack of technology.  Many of my students have never even seen a smart phone before.  As a teacher, I have very limited access to the internet at work.  We have one computer with internet access, that our staff of 24 has to share.  It's main purpose is to check our email, and submit our time sheets.  It's so unfortunate, because we could do so much more.  It's like we can see the shiny ball, but we can't touch it!  



Part 1 – Applying the POST Method 

Name of Unit/Lesson: People 

Who are my students and what are their learning goals? What are their existing technology skills, areas of challenge, and level of access to technology devices? 


What are the learning objectives for the unit/lesson? When possible, objectives should describe observable behavior. What will the learners be able to do at the end of the unit/lesson? 

 Visit the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) at

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.

Due to lack of access to technology, I could have students have me find their recipe's online, print them off,  and then do a compare and contrast.   For fun, I could have them come up with a "prison" recipe book by modifying their favorite recipes by using their commissary options.   I would have to create it myself, but like the site.  I think my students would be thrilled!


Lesson Background

I started the Technology Integration course as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our school closed on March 13 and on March 16 I shifted my two adult ed classes of beginner ESL students to a WhatsApp classroom. At first, I just texted questions and sent photos of handouts that the students responded to. Then, instead of thinking in terms of a  limited platform, I thought about how I could apply the key principles of culturally responsive pedagogy to my new environment. That is, how can I deliver what I usually do with a smartphone instead of a big room with a smartboard?  I replaced the animated teacher I was in the classroom with videos, sometimes of me, and sometimes of other familiar people or places. Familiar, because with beginners we focus on scaffolding---adding another medium or tool to understand---instead of having the student struggle through another layer of comprehension.  I followed the lead of the great Canadian teachers who created GrassRootsPress and Eye On Literacy, using themselves and their families as models, to create wordless books and photostories  (Where Are You From?) and common experiences (The Coffee Lover).  Instead of using the FlipChart on my smartboard to draw or write, I make PowerPoints which I can display on one side of my screen while the WhatsApp thread is on the other. Then, I copy and paste a slide from the PPT into the text message box in WA. Poof! The students are seeing the handout they would otherwise be reading in class.

So for my lesson plan, on Covid-19, I first provided two sets of handouts, 14 real-life photos from the New York Times on How to Wash Your Hands During the Pandemic, and another from the government, on How to Protect Yourself & Others During the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

First the students read the texts with the illustrations. Then, words are left out (notably, verbs) so that students see the slides one by one and respond with voice or text or both. They are provided options as part of differentiation and part of integrating technology principles: provide options for expression, for participation, etc.  Each day, this is 1/2 hour of a 2 hour class so after several sessions, the verbs are learned as is the pronunciation and this is all quite authentic, not a role play. Then, the students are asked to take three photos of themselves, in the morning, afternoon and evening, since we're learning these time markers. They write captions for the photos, send them via WhatsApp to the teacher. I put them in slides under the title During the Pandemic. In the afternoon, Michelle did the laundry, for instance. Next step, students write 3 things they did before the pandemic, 3 things they are doing now, 3 things they will do in the future.   Students have been turning these in and I produce them back each day in a rolling fashion. Ultimately, I want to produce a collection of Thoughts from Our Class During the Pandemic.

Here are the observations students have shared so far:  I have more time with my family.  I study more.   I play soccer in the afternoon with my daughter.    I spend time with my nieces.

As for the future, everyone has plans to travel to see family. I have plans to integrate technology in every single class.



Dear Nan and All,

Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom thread is wonderful. So great to read more ideas. Even the questions lead to greater ideas.

You mentioned about the students taking photos of themselves at different times of the day. They write captions for the photos, send them to you via WhatsApp.  Home photography is certainly a great way to connect with the students.

Voicethread is one platform where they can all see the photos together. Either they do the uploading themselves or you and then send them the link after creating the Voicethread. They all have mobile phones, so they can download the free Voicethread App.They need to register for free.  If you upload all their photos, they can add their comments upon receiving the link. They have different choices to comment, by text, audio, video, and by other given selections.

Voicethread is neat. It is interactive. It's like the students are having a conversation at different times of the day, just remotely and asynchronously.
Here is an example with the photo from "We Speak New York."

Thank you, Nan, for sharing....Many thanks to all contributors.


ESL Instructor

I am new to teaching ESL and it will also be my first time teaching online. I imagine the technology I will use in the classroom will be YouTube videos, email, zoom. I am interested to experiment with using podcasts, Facebook, Weebly. I think using Facebook can be used to create a classroom group where everyone can post. I am learning a lot from reading your comments. Thank you all for sharing. 

I am interested in exploring podcasts. I found that there are many ways to use this tech in the classroom. I found it can be used as a way. to introduce vocabulary, start discussions, writing assignment, listening comprehension, and hearing new and different accents. 

I am a fairly new adult Education Instructor and  not all that tech savvy. I do like the ideas presented in using technology in the classroom. It will foster more learning on the part of my students and will help them to own the information and have more confidence in their ability to learn. I am looking forward to exploring all the different modes of technology and finding one that fits my class. I am interested in exploring the possibility of using evernote to build portfolios or using Google Docs so that students can work together to sharpen their writing skills.  

All of my students have cell phones, so I can see that would be an avenue for my students to interact with the material we study We could use Google Docs to collaborate on a story to reinforce the topic of finding the main idea. 

She used Pinterest as the platform of choice to help her students become more comfortable with technology and writing. What a neat idea. After setting up an account, the students would choose pictures that described the country they were from and food that they liked. They shared their boards with the teacher and wrote about the picture/s they submitted. I think this would be an engaging project for students because it is a subject they would be interested in and something they know about: themselves. 

Cynthia effectively used technology in her class. She took a subject her class was interested in (renting vs. buying a house) and researched ways to make it interesting and created an innovative way to involve her students. She taught them not only educational information (the math behind renting vs. buying), but also practical life skills (how to use Bitly and QR codes).  Once the students learned this skill, they were able to share with their friends and family outside of class as well, which reinforced the lesson they learned in class.