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"Chromebooks for Beginning ESL," -- Video and discussion with ESL teacher, Coordinator and Subject Matter Expert, Alisa Takeuchi

Hello Integrating Technology Colleagues,

In June I called your attention to OTAN Tech Talks, 12 free adult basic skills (several for adult ESL teachers) professional development videos, most of which are under 30 minutes. On Thursday, December 12th, and Friday, December 13th, we will have an opportunity to chat with Alisa Takeuchi here about the OTAN TTT professional development video she made called “Chromebooks for Beginning ESL.” This video, available here, is less than 13 minutes long. Please look at it before Thursday, December 12th, and post your questions for Alisa here as soon as you can. Incidentally, in the video, Alisa asks you to consider: why you want to use Chromebooks, or more hands-on technology with your students, and what you think will be the challenges.  Feel free to respond to these questions once our discussion begins on Thursday, December12th.

The video has the following parts:

1. Objectives and planning

2. Execution

3. Hindsight (reflections)

4. Apps, Extensions and Websites

Here’s a short bio that Alisa has written for us:

My name is Alisa Takeuchi, and I currently teach Beginning Literacy ESL to adults at Lincoln Education Center in Garden Grove, CA. I have been teaching adults for over 22 years, and I started my ESL career in Seoul, South Korea, teaching there for 5 years. In 2003, I helped start the EL Civics program at our agency and eventually became the Coordinator. In 2016, I started working with one of the three California state leadership programs Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) as a Subject Matter Expert. (SME) This job allows me to present at numerous conferences, workshops, and trainings teaching teachers and support staff in Adult Education how to use more technology in the classroom and at their school site. Bringing more technology to students is my passion. I believe that all students can gain English language proficiency through tech skills to help diminish some of the many barriers they already face, and I create lessons to help them reach their goals. All students at any English level can benefit from more computer literacy, but this holds especially true at the beginning level.

I look forward to having you join in on this discussion whether you are a new or experienced Chromebook user or just curious.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Comments

Alisa Takeuchi's picture
First

I am so excited to be a part of this discussion group. I am looking forward to sharing with you my experiences and thoughts with all of you. Using technology in the classroom can be tough, especially if you, as the teacher, are not very confident in your computer skills. Not to worry, though. The lessons that I've created for my students could easily be used for anyone that needs computer literacy- regardless of  English language literacy. 

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Thanks Alisa,

We're excited to have you join us.

Everyone: Watch “Chromebooks for Beginning ESL” now. Available here, the video is less than 13 minutes long. Please look at it before Thursday, December 12th, and post your questions for Alisa here as soon as you can.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

Leecy's picture
One hundred
Thank you, David and Alisa. In watching the video, I jotted down several good ideas to implement on computers in general, in addition to ChromeBook. [Not Google Chrome as originally posted]
 
I work with an Adult Ed program on a nearby NA Reservation that has very advanced technology available to its students. Students at this Learning Center vary in academic ability. They are native speakers, of course, but with far more extensive abilities in their native-language and more limited vocabulary in English. Most are there to complete GEDs in order to pursue Health Careers through a grant-funded project. 
 
The program has just asked me about a typing program that students could practice on their own in their computer lab. I certainly knew about Mavis Beacon from way back, but it is cost-based. I now plan to recommend typing.com to them. I tried it out and found it easy to follow. I would prefer that the site introduced the app to students in a more adult and multicultural/multiracial way, but the activities seem easy enough to engage learners after that. I will also recommend that the AE program try out kahoot.com and Mercury Reader. 
 
Your ideas on using Gmail to promote writing reminds me of my absolute awe and enthusiasm when the Internet, even prior to Web 2.0, emerged!!! (That dates me. I know.) I couldn't believe it!  The first thing I did was to schedule ESL students from all of my college classes to go with me to the lab, create school accounts, and start "talking" to each other and to me. Magic! Heaven! I had to provide a lot of guidance and structure among beginning students, of course.:) Leecy
rwessel51's picture
One hundred

All a Chromebook/box/base/bit is is the Chrome browser sitting on top of a Linux OS. When you log into a Chrome device, it brings you directly into the Chrome browser. Some Chrome devices now let you install Android apps from Google Play, but, except for that, once you're in the Chrome browser, it's the same experience you'd have in the browser in Windows, OS X, Linux, IOS, or Android. Because of its simplicity, the Chrome OS is great for introducing newbies into computers, but it's important to remember that the browser (Chrome) is independent of the hardware (Chromebook) it's sitting on.Confounding the browser, which runs on multiple operating systems and devices with a particular device can create barriers to future learning and computer usage. Taking into account the section on using the touchpad, the video was really about using the Chrome browser on any laptop, not just a Chromebook. Take out the part on the touchpad, and it's about using the Chrome browser on any device. There are a lot of similarities across so-called "different" computer systems. Let's not make things more complicated than they need to be. There's enough for ESOL learners to deal with as it is.

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Thanks, Robert! I'm trying to digest all of the information you posted so that I can better suggest tools to adult learning programs.  Leecy

 

rwessel51's picture
One hundred

All the marketing hype makes things seem 100 times more complicated than they really are. This is not good for learners or the people trying to teach them. The browser is the entry point into the online tools. It doesn't matter what device or OS is running the browser. If you know one browser, you know them all. The focus should be on the tools and what they are supposed to help you do, not on how you get to them.

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Very true, Robert. Thanks. Ditto on David's request! :) Leecy

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Hello Robert,

Can you suggest a few good online software resources that you believe would help practitioners and adult learners understand the Chrome browser's capacity to be helpful for adults, especially low-literate adults, learning how to use it. For example, you mentioned that one can install Android apps from Google Play. Have you used free or inexpensive apps that the adult learners you work with have found engaging or helpful? Can you suggest a few?  Are there free videos that your adult learners have found helpful as they learn to use the Chrome browser? Which ones? I know you have a lot of experience in this area. Thanks for any help you can provide to other adult basic skills practitioners who themselves are new, or whose students are new, to the Chrome browser or to the Chromebooks that use it.

Everyone, if you haven't looked at Alisa Takeuchi's Chromebooks video yet, please do. It's only 13 minutes long. Alisa will join us to answer your questions on Thursday and Friday this week. You are welcome to post your questions and comments for Alisa now through Friday, December 13th.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group.

rwessel51's picture
One hundred

Because dealing with the needs of a mother with advanced dementia has made me too unreliable to tutor at the moment, my contributions to my program are limited to managing the website and providing ad hoc technical support. Also, because this is a poor rural area with limited Internet access, having a classroom with adequate (if any) Internet access and enough Chromebooks for the learners to use isn’t going to happen.

That said, in the past I’ve downloaded websites and had learners navigate them on antiquated desktops, and I have a lot of personal experience, so I feel I can contribute something others in the group can use.

So, If I lived in a perfect world where I had access to a real classroom, with all the bandwidth I needed, and a new Chromebook for each learner, how would I use the Chromebooks with a class of beginning, low-literate ESL adults?

(1) Create a gmail account to use specifically for that class.
(2) Because the Chromebooks will undoubtedly be used for other classes, use the gmail account for that class to create a separate user account on the Chromebook for that class. (You can create up to 5 user accounts on a Chromebook.)
(3) On each Chromebook, log in to the class account, click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser window and select “Settings” from the menu, turn on synching, and select “Encrypt synched passwords . . .” under “Sync and Google services.”  This will synchronize bookmarks, saved passwords, and a few other things across all Chrome browsers signed in to that account. In other words, adding or deleting a bookmark on any of the synched Chromebooks will add or delete it on all the others.
(4) On any of the Chromebooks, bookmark Youtube videos, typing websites, etc. I want the learners to use in class. When Chrome asks if you want to save the login information, say yes. (Create user ids and passwords I wouldn’t mind having stolen.)
(5) Especially for sites that require logins, even if they’re free, test to see if multiple computers can log in to the same account at the same time. If not, have the learners use the site in shifts or set up multiple logins.
(6) In the classroom, have the learners log in and click on the bookmark for the site we’ll be using.
(7) We’re done with the browser, so we can focus on the content of the site, which is the real purpose of using the Chromebook.

rwessel51's picture
One hundred

My original post was spurred by Leecy's comment that she "jotted down several good ideas to implement on computers in general, in addition to ChromeBook."

Programs like mine do not have the luxury of buying a block of Chromebooks to use in a classroom. Even if we had readily available Internet with adequate bandwidth, we'd at best be using a combination of donated, used desktops and laptops running a variety of operating systems. Because the Chrome browser is the heart of Chromebooks, any computer capable of running the latest version of Chrome can be used as a Chromebook. Learners would have to go through a few extra steps to launch the browser (which may make it a little more intimidating to computerphobes), and third-party extensions such as Mercury Reader (which may disappear because Google is incorporating that functionality into Chrome), but, otherwise, everything browser-related would work the same.

Alisa Takeuchi's picture
First

Hi Robert! Thank you so much for your articulate and informational comment. I absolutely see what you're saying regarding how most of the information on the video is laptop related, not necessarily Chromebook related. The skills and websites are indeed transferable, but since our program uses desktops and Chromebooks (which many of the programs I work with do) that was the topic of my 20 minute Tech Talk. In addition, when I do this presentation live, it is only a small part of what is being taught. I demonstrate how to break down each step of getting logged into the computer with pictures, very simple vocabulary, and sentences. I show how to create an actual hardcopy of any account that needs to be created so that students can write down the information and I can check their accuracy before they even type it. Even just how to take the Chromebooks out of the cart and back into it needs to be explained prior to practice. Those are all skills and information that can be used for any CoW. So yes, while the video is about my experience with actual Chromebooks, the information could be used for any laptop. Thanks again for your comments.

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Hello Leecy, and others who may be interested in free online typing programs,

For many years I have kept and updated a list of adult basic skills-related, mostly free software called the Literacy List. In it is a page of over 20 free typing/keyboarding software programs and apps, that are possibly suitable for adult basic skills students. You might have a look at them, Leecy, for your NA students. I don't believe that any are contextualized to Native American adult learner groups, but you might find one that is more suitable for adults. Typing.com is on the list that you will find here.

Everyone, if you review this list and find that a free online typing/keyboarding program you have successfully used with adult learners is not on it, please email me at djrosen123@gmail.com and I'll consider adding it. Most of the free keyboarding skills websites on this list have been recommended by adult basic skills practitioners.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

 

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Thank you, David. What a wonderful resource! I have already shared it with the Learning Center. Leecy

Alisa Takeuchi's picture
First

Hi Leecy, I'm glad you brought up typing.com from the video. Since my project and making the video over a year and a half ago, I now use Typingclub.com with my students. I still like typing.com-don't get me wrong, but what I like about typingclub.com is that students can type in the URL and click Get Started and start typing. There is no account to set up. Of course their work won't be saved, but teachers can create an account and set up a classroom, if they wish, but if students just want to practice typing on their own, they can do so easily. There are videos to watch and a hand guide to show where students should place their hands. It is very user-friendly.  Take a look and see if you like it. Alisa

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Thanks so much, Alisa. I notice that David included typingclub.com on his list as well. I'll pass on that helpful information and resource! Leecy