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"App to Speed" learning circles for low-literate adults and English language learners

English Language, Integrating Technology, Reading and Writing, and Program Management group colleagues,

I invite you to read — and share with your colleagues by email, social media, and in newsletters — two of my recent blog articles about “App to Speed” learning circles for low-level adult literacy and ESL/ESOL learners. These blended learning group models are designed to help adult members of a community who own a smartphone and who want to use it to improve their English language skills (for immigrants) or their basic literacy skills.
For adult ESL/ESOL programs, on the World Education Ed Tech Center blog:
Please let me know if you have questions or thoughts about how you — or others — might use the App to Speed  learning circle model. 
David J. Rosen



Paul Rogers's picture

David, thanks for privately sending me the information about App to Speed Learning Circles. I have been away from LINCS for almost a year developing my own form of Learning Circle, which I outline below. I think one difference is that I look at this type of adult educaton program as an alternative to formal adult ed. One reason is that people who work and have families cannot easily attend adult ed classes as they are currently structured. A learning circle approach therefore meets their needs. In any case here is a brief outline of my classes:

Bridging the Digital Divide - At Last!!

For more than 15 years we have been using the term “Digital Divide” to describe the fact that low-income adults are not able to afford computers or internet service and are therefore unable to access technology as well as they should.

Well, now there is a solution to this problem that includes:

1. Teaching computer basics in adult literacy classes.

2. Providing “user-friendly” websites in blended literacy classes, which are regular classes that include computer instruction in a computer lab setting.

3. Providing a means for students to own a low-cost computer.

4. Using Smartphones as fundamental part of instruction.

5. Providing texts, CDs, and DVDs and Thumb Drives.

6. Advertising – publicity.

I have been teaching English literacy using a Drop-In approach at a public library for a over a year and a half. There are about 25 students enrolled and the average attendance per class is 10.

The students are low income Latino immigrants, usually women between the ages of 35 and 60. Most of them work during the day and have children. I provide classes in a room with 5 computers one day of the week, in the morning and evening.

When students enroll in the class, they receive a copy of one of my textbooks and a printed sheet with the information concerning my two EFL websites, and And if they are own a computer, they receive a thumb drive with many of my texts and videos. I encourage those without computers to buy a used laptop at a second hand store so that they also can use the thumb drive.

All the students are also added to a WhatsApp Smartphone group which I use to send lessons during the week and also notifications, such as cancellations, etc. If students miss a class, I send them the text or video that covers the topic or question.

At the same time I have created Facebook groups which provide English lessons on grammar, pronunciation, Readings and …songs!

People need to solicit membership in these groups and there are about 4000 members in total.

I advertise my program on a Facebook swap meet, and sometimes post a video showing people how to study English at home with my websites and inviting them to the class.

At the same time I am a member of several Facebook groups of English teachers where I post information and participate in discussions. I also have been “going live” recently and am getting a good response.

Current plans include making my whole program available on Smartphone thumb drives. I have approximately 1500 pages of text, 100 five minute videos and many audios.

The goal is to be able to provide my whole course to anyone who would like to study ‘on the go”.

In summary, learning English as a Foreign language is a long process for an adult, and in this way I can provide people with an opportunity to study anytime, anywhere at their own pace – while they also learn computer basics and …bridge the digital divide…at last!!!