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:


I am currently in a course related to OER. This is a great resource for teachers to use in the adult education classroom. It provides resources and allows for collaboration between teachers, the formation of groups, and different types of lessons in all adult education areas that benefits the adult education classroom. 

I teach adult ESL classes after 22 years in a high school classroom.  Now that we are adjusting to living with COVID 19 pandemic, DL is not an option, but a necessity.  As a novice to technology for the most part, one of the first takeaways from this training is learning the vocabulary.  For instance, I did not know what the meaning of QR or Bitly.  As challenging and non-intuitive this is for me, I am going to keep learning and applying all the information.  One thing I have come to realize is that the traditional classroom may become extinct.  There is a lot in the traditional model, like teacher just doing 99% of the talking that not only does not help learning, but in some cases turns students off completely.  We can do better!

I know what you mean. I just found out a few days ago that newer smart phone cameras can automatically read QR codes - no need to download an app. I am a big fan of mobile learning, since the next generation is on the phones so much. I was hoping someone would invent an app that works like Lyft or Uber, but for education. Once someone demonstrates mastery of a topic and passes a (peda/andro)gogy training, they can be paid to teach someone else whatever they mastered. Students rate instructors. Employers can enter customized lists of skills they want employees to have. Only pay for what you need! How long until you can have it ready?

I think the traditional classroom may not go extinct, but get down to the endangered level and stay there, kind of like what the internet did to newspapers.

I know I still haven't broken the "sage on the stage" habit entirely, either. I was in the Marines 20 years and taught college for a few years, prior to joining the adult education community. Coming along slowly.

During the pandemic, my students have been accessing Zoom and Google Classroom using their smart phones. I'm not sure of their capabilities or mine. I liked the Northstar assessment and will need to try to do it on my phone. If it works, I may try it in the class. Some of my older students don't have keyboard skills. Jane

The possibilities here are exciting. I'm not 100 percent sure about VoiceThread, but I think it has possibilities. I can imagine posting the recipe on VoiceThread and then having the learner discuss the recipe. could be a cool way to turn recipes into a newspaper, if it is possible to pull from student-created documents.You could try to find images, plus perhaps a photo of the student and a brief bio. In addition, the student could write a short piece on why the recipe is meaningful. Potentially, each student could create a newspaper, or the class could create a class newspaper.   

Much as I hate to admit it, the idea of using a Facebook group is a good one. Many students probably already use it. It is worth polling them to find out. Anything that makes it easier for us to connect is a good idea. I'm interested in the flipped classroom, but am wondering how to apply it if everything is online. My guess is that we use the breakout rooms feature of Zoom to accomplish the individual and group tutoring that is a key component. 

Hello Jane,

Some adult basic skills (including ESOL/ESL) educators create a Facebook private group for each class they teach.

There is a private Facebook group for adult basic skills teachers who use Facebook in this way, Adult Educators Using Facebook for Education (AEFE). Email me if you would like an invitation to join.

Flipped learning works pretty much the same way in virtual/remote/distance learning as it does in in-person classes. The teacher assigns an instructional video to watch (that the teacher has made or found), often one accompanied by a quiz using a Google Form whose results the teacher looks at before the online class to see who has:

1) passed the quiz

2) taken it but needs more help, or who

3) hasn't taken the quiz.

The teacher might assign the second and third groups to different breakout rooms, with a different approach for each. She might have those in group one continue on to the next assignment, perhaps not even come to the online class that day, or not stay for the whole time. She might meet with those in group three briefly, and ask them to watch the video and take the quiz then. She might spend most of the time working with those in group two, helping them to understand what they could not from just watching the video.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group



This is useful, David. I'm going to copy and paste your email into my file. One of my colleagues, Sharon S., might also like to join your group. Please send the invite. I won't be very active on the group because I'm not teaching until the fall. But, if you hear from Sharon S., you can invite her. Actually, I believe she was one of your students. And by the way, by 19:26 on a Friday, you are supposed to be having fun, not responding to these messages! (But I'm glad you did).


Even though the email lesson presented many roadblocks, I think Nell's lesson provided a valuable service to her students. Email is now the most common way of formal communication, so having an email address is vital in today's society. The digital literacy skills of password creation and how to remember passwords are vital. Nell was able to improve her lesson plan on the second go-round, which is the mark of a good teacher. 

Cynthia: I was a little daunted by the QR code so I'd have to experiment with it. I've used many times in the past but had forgotten about it, so I can see where that would be useful. The point is that we have to figure out all these things because this is how we are teaching now. Our students come in at all levels and we have to bring them up to speed. Gone are the days when a pencil and notebook did the job.  These are the new study skills and we've always taught study skills. 

Hi everyone,

I realize how stupid this is to be asking for basic technology help in a technology course.... but, I can't upload my culminating activity.

I downloaded the template integrating technology template. I filled it out. But here in the comment section, there doesn't seem to be a way to attach a file. I'd like to attach my fillable (now filled out) Tech Integration Action Plan. Anybody have any advice?



I'm not sure if this is what I was supposed to do, but what I ended up doing was using the Snip program on my computer to convert the pdfs into jpegs, which I could then insert as an image. Pretty slick, I think. Jane

Hey Jane!

In the future, if you need to make available the original fillable version of the document, like in a PDF, you'll likely want to host the file elsewhere and link to it in your comment. The LINCS community system only lets you upload images, as you discovered, like JPEGs. You can use free accounts with Dropbox, Google Drive, or even iCloud Drive to host the file and then get the "public share link" which you'd post in your comment.

Hope that's helpful!

The teacher wanted to have the class use the computer to write a thank you note to the Mayor of the city.  However, once she had the students in the computer lab she realized that she had students of varying experience with a computer.  Some of them had email addresses, passwords and usernames already whereas others did not.  She was familiar and comfortable with using the email and she knew how to help her students to become email users. The steps the teacher took to get students to be able to use the tech tool (emailing a letter) are important and yes, were helpful in meeting student needs.  She realized that some of the students were bored because they did not need these first steps so she put them to work helping other students. Everything ended up working out better than she expected in my opinion in that now all of her students were able to connect to email accounts and to learn how to use a public computer.  She may have been very frustrated with herself at first when she realized that she did not take the time to find out where her students were with technology before she entered the lab.  I think this was the best tech tool that she could have selected for what she wanted.  She wanted students to type a letter to the mayor giving thanks for his support.  You would do that in the 21st century through an email and not snail mail. Texting would be inappropriate. So yes. she did a fine job selecting a tool to accomplish her goal.  She could have selected the use of zoom with the white board and all of the students contributing to one thank you letter as they wrote one together using brainstorming of ideas on the white board, transferring it to an email BUT WITHOUT an email address yet setup the students would not have been able to connect to zoom anyway.   So my opinion once again, nice job.  Just doing it right the first time would have saved time, saved face, saved frustration and it would have been a smooth transition to the computer lab. 


She changed her lesson for the next group of students and this time did it better. She had in classroom several lessons on how to setup a password, email address and discussed why good passwords are necessary.  this is all before going into the lab.  So when they went into the lab they were ready for the lesson they were supposed to do and that was create, write and send an email thank you letter to the Mayor. 

She wondered if her simple one step plan to write an email to the Mayor which became a multi-step plan was worth the effort. 

In the end, the students received an email address, password and the knowledge of how to write and send messages back and forth was definitely worth it.  The students were now able to send work to the teacher through an email, ask questions about assignments to the teacher or to other students and they were also able to connect with other students to ask for help or just to begin to form a bond or a friendship which leads to a stronger community of students.  

P as in POST


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

My students are beginning ESOL older adults from various countries. Their learning goals are in the areas of vocabulary, listening, speaking, writing, and technology training.

Some of my students have computers and the others have smart phones. Many of my students are older and have not had a lot of technology experience.  We are going to take it one step at a time. We will start with learning how to email and send text messages.


O as in POST


 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?

*Technology: The students will use keyboarding skills, copy and paste commands, online image searches, email messaging, using a mouse, sharing written work and images, and text messaging to others.

*Vocabulary Development through Speaking and Listening: The students will be able to use vocabulary to introduce themselves, comprehend and use vocabulary to understand online netiquette, ask for assistance, as needed and comply with classroom / online procedures and rules.

*Grammar: The students will be able to read, write, comprehend and speak with simple present tense sentences using subject pronouns and contractions of to be.

*Reading: The students will be able to learn the English alphabet and numbers.   The student will be able to read their introductions to other students.

*Writing: The students will be able to use capital letters, lower case letters and good punctuation when writing their introductions.

*Students will also be able to complete a class survey such as Survey Monkey.

S as in POST

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

Technology: These are the strategy targets that I need to ensure before students can be responsible for meeting all of their objectives.

1. Students access to Webex or a virtual meeting room

2. Students email accounts setup

3. Students comprehends how to use username and password

 4. Students understands and uses Netiquette

 5. Students learn how to appropriately write, send, reply, and insert images into emails and text messages.

 6. Students access a free online keyboarding practice app

7. Students learn how to copy and paste


My strategies to teach English is to use the format from the Future's series as a guideline to promote the concepts and standards mandated by the State of Florida in the same way as I would if were still in a standard classroom, yet keeping in mind, the nuances of our virtual reality world.


T as in POST

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

The technology that I feel for these beginning students is to use simple and everyday tools to help them easily communicate with others and and be able to submit student work in a format that is user friendly and simple. Therefore, I feel the best technology tools would be to learn how to use a computer (keyboarding, mouse ,etc), use email, text messaging, and a platform such as Webex for meetings.

 The technology tools that best support my objectives and match my students' skills are by using a platform such as Zoom or Webex to have our virtual classes between Teacher and Student (T2S) and for them to be able to easily use this format to be able to invite students to a student meeting S2S, and be able to ask their teacher to join a meeting that they call S2T meeting. They will post their work through email or text messaging, for now, because most people are familiar with and use these 2 technology tools. In this way, they can generalize what they have learned in the classroom and share it with others through the use of these tech tools.  Other tech tools will be added as we learn and continue to work using these elearning tools as the course progresses. Students can reach out to family and friends who also may know and use these mediums.

 I know and have used all of these tech tools and would be able to help the students use and teach others how to use them.  They will be able to implement them as needed for class study and communication


Part 2 planning for integrating technology   


Where Am I Now? Consider the technology tools listed in the Technology section in Part 1 of the Technology Integration Action Plan. How comfortable are you with integrating these tools in the classroom.

Where am I now?

I am very comfortable in using Webex for student meetings. I don't know it all but I know enough to be able share my content and to help students use the platform in a simple way through an email invitation to join. I also know enough about email and text messaging to be able creates, read, reply and insert attachments such as pictures or text or URL numbers. I am comfortable in using parts of Webex for student meetings.  Also, I know enough about emails and text messaging to be able create an email or text and to reply to them as well as to understanding how to insert pictures, internet info, tables and charts, etc.


Where Do I Want To Be? Choose a technology tool you would like to explore further in your professional development. Where do you want to be in your comfort level with using that tool in your classroom? How do you plan on learning more about that tool and how to use the tool to improve instruction and deepen student learning?

Where do I want to be?

I am still learning different things about Webex.  I haven't learned how to do the breakout groups yet.  I am sure there are other things within Webex that will be worthwhile to know and easy enough to learn  or find someone who can assist me in learning it, when it is time. I think where I am now is a start but I do think learning more about the tool will give me so many more opportunities to help my students grow. Such as the breakout groups which have been very fun to do.  So I have experienced them I just haven't learned how to set them up. I will. It shouldn't be too hard to learn.

I plan on learning more by watching YouTube videos or taking webinar classes. It will improve instructional teaching and deepen student learning because students will be learning from others, questioning things, seeking answers, stating confirmation or opinions.  I can be there too to assist them while in the break out groups.


I would like to explore other avenues for my students to be able to post their work in a private room on FaceBook or use a blogging site such as Tumblr. I would like to have more knowledge than my average student. I will take into consideration any advice my most experienced students may have for me and use as it deems suitable. I will learn more about these tools from Youtube or in a webinar or on their websites. I use the knowledge I learn and practice it with my family and friends first before I venture to my students.


Timeline for professional development and implementation

What are your milestones for learning about the technology tool and integrating the tool in the unit/lesson? If your students are unfamiliar with the tool, what is your plan for teaching them about the tool?

I already know how to use Webex and it won't take me long to learn how to use it for Breakout Groups. I will know how to do that before I meet with the students on the day they will learn about Webex. I have used both email and text messaging. Before it is time for the students to post their introductions with their pictures of themselves and interesting facts about their countries and themselves I will learn about Facebook private messaging and Wordpress.  I will also continue to introduce new technology tools to my students as they gain mastery of the ones I have already taught we can move on to new ways of displaying their work such as in a powerpoint presentation.


 I will share my screen with the students while on Webex and go through the steps with them. They will be able to ask me questions as we go along. We can go as quickly and as slowly as we need to. We can also review as we go along.




How will you measure if the technology tool is improving instruction or deepening student learning?


I will be able to see the entries of my students through email and text messages or they can share it on Webex. I will ask them questions through a survey or a quiz and check to see how they are doing, where they are doing great, where they still need some help and how they are sharing their information with their other classmates.





Since I haven't had the chance to teach the students I will reflect upon what I hope will happen after teaching my lesson and unit. I know that all of my students will feel comfortable using emails and text messaging to communicate to one another and to be able to write texts and insert attachments as needed. I also know that their English skills have improved and since I can hear and read I know which areas I need to continue to work on with them for proficiency. Some of the students now know how to use a computer and use the above tech tools for communication and delivery of information who never used a computer before. I hope that some of my more advanced students would have ventured out and given me a simple powerpoint presentation and sent it to me on their work or even introductions, while others shared in emails or in word docs. All learned about each other, different countries and cultures, learned more English vocabulary, reading and writing skills and speaking in our webex meetings and how to take a survey.




I would add to it... I would add a place where the students could discuss what they learned and to ask questions and answer questions on formats such as Wordpress or Private classroom Facebook.

My twenty-twenty five adult ELL students range in age from 2o - 80 and come from various countries including Jordan, Egypt, Guatemala, Venezuela,   Mexico, and Russia.  They are beginner learners who want to speak and understand English.  Most students have access to cell phones so on the first day, we connect them to Remind so that we can communicate when we are away. Their cell phones are a great tool not only for connecting but also for lessons. Students have now learned to use Zoom conferencing (a little) and are working on computer skills using the Burlington English program.  It can be used on their smartphones and on a tablet.  We worked a lot during class time when we could not meet in person using Zoon conferencing on their smartphones.

I learned something I did not know - about QR codes.  If I didn't know it, I know some of my students probably didn't either.  There are many technology tools available to assist in learning.

My name is Darla Melton. I have taught adult education for almost 30 years. I am enrolled in the Integrating Technology in the Classroom because of the pandemic I am afraid we might all have to be forced to go virtual again and I want to better prepared. 

I learned about for use in flipping the classroom which I believe to be advantages to our students, especially now in the midst of the pandemic.