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Chicago digital literacy survey findings, digital literacy assessments, and free or OER resources

Hello colleagues,

In a recent Digital Promise article, "Expand Technology Integration and Adult Digital Literacy/" you will find these interesting findings from adult basic skills programs in Chicago:

The Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition (CCLC) conducted a technology assessment in Spring 2018 of 12 partner organizations within the Career Foundations Consortium, as a part of a grant funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The goal of the assessment was to analyze how technology is implemented in adult education classrooms throughout the city. Overall findings included:

  • While providers indicate their present technology is mostly sufficient for meeting demands, they feel an increase in hardware and connectivity could grow their capacity.
  • There is a need to increase the digital literacy levels of learners, but limited use of the proctored version of Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment—a tool made available to providers aimed at assessing learners’ digital skill levels.
  • Learner access to computers at home is limited, while access to mobile phones is high.
    Because of this, access to and use of online learning software—particularly those that are not mobile-optimal—tends to be limited to time spent within the learning facility.
  • While there is limited use of paid learning software, there is widespread use of free online learning resources.

How do these findings fit with your experience, especially

1.  Do you use a digital literacy assessment with your students?  If not, and this is something you want to explore, here's a list of assessments and online digital literacy instruction sites that you may find useful.

2. Is your organization, school or program using the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment to assess learners digital literacy skills? If so, what has your experience been?  For what kinds of adult learners and at what levels is this tool especially suitable? Have you looked at the recently updated Northstar website? If so, are there new features that you find particularly useful? Do your students use the free version, or is your organization a Northstar testing site? What are the advantages of becoming a testing site?

3. Are you finding that your students' access is high to mobile phones, especially smartphones? What percent of your students have their own smartphone? Do you teach immigrants who are learning English, or native speakers of English? At what level(s)?

4. Have you surveyed your learners about their use of technology? Are you finding that their access to computers at home is limited? What percent of them have access to a computer at home? Here's a link to an Open Education Resource (OER) oral adult learner computer, cellphone and digital use survey that I have developed, and that you are welcome to use or adapt to orally survey your students.

5. Are you using free and/or OER online digital learning resources? If so, which sites do you find most useful?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group