SPECIAL DISCUSSION -- Opportunities for Implementing Technology in Secure Classrooms
I am thrilled to welcome you to the special LINCS discussion around Opportunities for Implementing Technology in Secure Classrooms. Our esteemed guest contributors for this discussion are: Dr. John Linton, Ms. Michelle Tolbert and Mr. Brian Walsh (please see their extended bios below).
There has been much recent buzz around the introduction of new technologies into correctional education classrooms. Connectivity and access to tablet technology have been the focus of several recent conferences, most notably the Correctional Education Association's Annual Conference titled "Education and Technology: The Pathway to Re-entry" held last month in Washington DC. At the CEA conference the members of our panel presented an overview of a comprehensive policy report on which they have been working. The report will address the need for technology in corrections classrooms as well as how such technology is already being safely and securely implemented in some areas. Our experts will post comments for consideration and discussion throughout this week and next. Please join the conversation with comments and questions.
Dr. John Linton is the Director of the Office of Correctional Education in the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Career Technology and Adult Education (OCTAE), and a member of OCTAE’s Adult Education team. He provides leadership for ED’s work involving educational services to U.S. correctional populations. John also represents ED on the workgroup supporting the cabinet level federal Reentry Council. Prior to his federal appointment, John was director of the education and library programs in Maryland’s adult prisons, working first in Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and then in the Maryland State Department of Education. Trained as a reading teacher, John began his professional career as an adult education teacher in a correctional setting.
Ms. Michelle Tolbert oversees adult education projects focused on improving policies, programs, and resources targeting under-skilled adults. She conducts qualitative research and analysis and provides technical assistance to states and programs in the areas of correctional education and reentry, transitions to postsecondary education, workforce development, community partnerships, and state and federal policy. Her extensive experience in correctional education and reentry includes evaluating postsecondary education reentry programs, providing technical assistance to programs bridging the gap between institution- and community-based education and training programs, and developing a guidebook to support the collection and analysis of correctional education data at the national and state levels. She has also authored a broad array of guides, online tools, policy briefs, research reports, and literature reviews on correctional education, transitions to college and careers, industry recognized credentials, and community partnerships.
Mr. Brian Walsh, M.A. leads the offender education program for Peninsula College at two state prisons in the northwest corner of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Brian believes that by providing quality college education, offenders will be less likely to return to prison and be better prepared to care for themselves and their families. As Education Director for Clallam Bay and Olympic Corrections Centers, Brian started the first prison-based Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program, a nationally recognized curriculum for adult education in Washington State. He has led the effort to expand the use of technology in the prison classroom and worked to develop secure ways for faculty within prisons to deliver offenders the same technologically enhanced courses available to the public.