The Illinois Digital Learning Lab: Adult Education Digital Efficacy Follow-up Discussion

Yesterday, Michael Matos, David Rosen, and Jennifer Maddrell discussed Adult Education Digital Efficacy in a live event. Let's keep the discussion going by addressing some of the following questions: 

  • What are the first steps to take to curate a collaborative peer-to-peer learning environment for sharing strategies among educators?
  • Are educators in your program encouraged to take charge of their technology professional development?
  • Do you have cycles of assessment, reflection, and decisions in place that lead to greater impact?


We have PD options often. We got some "streaming sets" -- a camera and mic - and folks will get together to share how they use them for blending F2F and bringing in remote folks. We're working on follow-up kinds of things but that happens naturally when working together w/ tech like Burlington English, sharing things they find.

Hi Susan,

I wonder if you could share a bit more about the camera and mic "streaming sets" that you are using.  Do you use an Internet-connected video camera, or possibly an Internet-connected laptop, Chromebook, or electronic pad with a built-in camera? Also tell us about the microphone. Is it a lapel mic that is bluetooth connected to a device like a laptop, Chromebook or smartphone?

How is this set up in your classroom? Is its purpose to record what you as an instructor say and do, or what you AND the students say and do? If so, how well does this technology capture the sound quality of your voice as teacher? Of the voices of students who are in the classroom? 

How do students who are accessing this class remotely and in real-time participate, or do they mostly listen and watch? If they participate actively, how do the in-classroom students hear/see what they say or write?


Everyone, Susan is a participant instructor in the IDLL, although I have not had the pleasure of having her on one of my teams.


David J. Rosen


Oh, the sets are a simple desk mic and camera, to hold over 'til they figure something else out.   Idea is still in formation -- beginning of semester, policy was (I think) "They have to be physically present to be counted as attending."   We're hoping this will improve access *and* participation, and that's prob'ly going to be a topic of conversation when we're training.  One teacher is tech savvy so they've picked up the tech already & are working w/ it; a group of us will get together later this week to share ideas and the person it's new for to figure out.  

    Things are a tad chaotic as positions change, people come and go... nobody has time to keep track of things so we are just doing the best we can to figure it out. 

I've been involved with the Illinois Digital Learning Lab for the past 2 years as a subject-matter expert supporting a cohort of adult learning educators. Please let us know if you have any questions about the lab and the work we're doing, as well as how you could incorporate our approaches to both professional development or technology-enhanced instruction. 

Hello Integrating Technology Colleagues,

Formerly a moderator of this LINCS Integrating Technology group, like Jennifer Maddrell, I am in this discussion as a Subject Matter Expert/Team Leader of the Illinois Digital Learning Lab (IDLL). In our LINCS Coffee Break presentation and discussion on Tuesday this week I talked about the IDLL as a teacher research or classroom action research in-depth professional development model. I wonder if there are questions about that, for example, about what teacher research or classroom action research means, about how the IDLL is an example of teacher research on technology-infused adult foundational (basic) skills education, or about other examples of action research or teacher research in adult foundational skills education. I would also be interested to hear about other examples of adult foundational skills teacher research.

David J. Rosen

What are the first steps to take to curate a collaborative peer-to-peer learning environment for sharing strategies among educators?

Peer to peer learning is invaluable in many situations. It creates an engaged collaboration that is constantly developing skills: gaining knowledge, applying that knowledge, receiving constructive feedback and reflecting on skills and lessons learned. 

Launch: Invite would-be participants to the first peer learning session where all can interact in a relaxed, social environment.  

Surveys: Decide on social communication, learning and sharing tools to use. Social media can be a ideal tools for collaboration and fostering more interaction. It facilitates online group work, video conferencing, and resource sharing. Ask for their input on how they’d like to run the meetings and how often they’d like them to happen.

Schedule on-going group reflection conversations: Set aside time for teams (cohorts) and the peer to peer organization as a whole to assess their tech efficacy, program goals and metrics. 

  • Nominate a facilitator
  • Create a comfortable sharing environment emphasizing the importance of respectful communication. 
    • In-person
    • Virtual
  • Identify common successes and obstacles 
  • Encourage varying perspectives 

Arrange continuous peer training sessions: Schedule webinars and training ran by experts outside the peer to peer organization. Ask for their input on how they’d like to receive the webinars and training and how often they’d like them to happen. Keep up to date with the latest trends in learning to keep your peer training sessions relevant and engaging.

More information on the Illinois Digital Learning Lab can be found on our website: 

Are educators in your program encouraged to take charge of their technology professional development?

"Technology offers the opportunity for teachers to become more collaborative and extend learning beyond the classroom. Educators can create learning communities composed of students; fellow educators in schools, museums, libraries, and after-school programs; experts in various disciplines around the world; members of community organizations; and families. This enhanced collaboration, enabled by technology offers access to instructional materials as well as the resources and tools to create, manage, and assess their quality and usefulness."  From:

"To enact this vision, schools need to support teachers in accessing needed technology and in learning how to use it effectively. Although research indicates that teachers have the biggest impact on student learning out of all other school-level factors, we cannot expect individual educators to assume full responsibility for bringing technology-based learning experiences into schools."


  1. McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D. M., & Hamilton, L. S. (2003). Evaluating value-added models for teacher accountability. Santa Monica, CA: RAND. Retrieved from

  2. Rivkin, S. G., Hanushek, E. A., & Kain, J. F. (2005). Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Econometrica, 73(2), 417–458. Retrieved from

  3. Rowan, B., Correnti, R., & Miller, R. (2002). What large-scale survey research tells us about teacher effects on student achievement: Insights from the Prospects Study of Elementary Schools. Teachers College Record, 104(8), 1525–1567.

  4. Nye, B., Konstantopoulos, S., & Hedges, L. V. (2004). How large are teacher effects? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26(3), 237–257.

  5. Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2011). The long-term impacts of teachers: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood (Working Paper 17699). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from

They need continuous, just-in-time support that includes professional development, mentors, and informal collaborations. In fact, more than two thirds of teachers say they would like more technology in their classrooms,6 and roughly half say that lack of training is one of the biggest barriers to incorporating technology into their teaching." From: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2012). Innovation in education: Technology & effective teaching in the U.S. Seattle, WA: Author.