Harnessing Technology to Serve Adult Literacy
Submitted by David J. Rosen on September 4, 2015 - 2:36pm
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With the proliferation of online instructional tools and content, many educators are overwhelmed, and sometimes feel frustrated that they will never catch up. We need ways to organize and access these tools and free or Open Education Resource (OER) content, so that they are easy to find, and so that teachers can easily sort the wheat from the chaff.
One way to organize content and tools is by subject or topic (English language Learning, numeracy/mathematics, reading, writing, digital literacy skills, etc.) There are many examples of searchable databases of content suitable for adult basic education, for example:
- OER Commons A large database of K-12 and adult learner lesson plans and resources that indicates that the lessons can be shared for free and in some cases, revised or re-purposed. Each lesson has a creative commons license. Search for lesson plans by Subject, Grade Level (there is a category called Adult Education) or Standard (Next Generation Science, and Common Core State Standards for Reading or Math) All the resources are reviewed using standard rubrics,
- The Literacy List web page on Web-based Lesson Plans,
- Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching MERLOT is a free resource designed primarily for post-secondary education faculty and students. It includes links to online learning materials,
and many others.
However, another way to organize online tools and content resources for adult basic skills education is by teaching/learning problem: typical problems that adult basic skills (including ESOL/ESL, numeracy/mathematics, adult basic and secondary, and transition to higher education) teachers regularly face. First, the problems are articulated, and then, if available, good technology solutions are suggested to solve the problem. A technology solution might be: computer software; apps for portable digital devices; online instructional videos; online formative assessments; assistive technology or technology that enables Universal Design for Learning; classroom management technology; hardware, such as digital cameras, multimedia projectors, electronic white boards; photocopy machines, mp3 players, CD-Rom players, tablets, phablets (a tablet with a phone); smartphones and more.
Many years ago, with the help of adult basic skills education teachers across the country, I organized a list of these common adult basic skills teaching problems, and solutions offered by teachers. It is called Harnessing Technology to Serve Adult Literacy and is a free, online publication. Although the technology solutions are no longer new, many are still useful. To be a current, robust tool for teachers, however, it is time to again ask adult basic skills practitioners:
"What common problems do you as an adult basic skills teacher or
program administrator face for which you have found good technology solutions?"
Please post a problem and at least one technology solution here, or email it to me, with:
- The name of the product, tool, hardware, software, etc.
- A web address or other way to learn more about and access it
- A brief description, for example of how you have used it, or how it could be used to solve the problem you have described.
- Your name, role, organization, city/town, state or province, if not in the U.S. -- country, and email address.
If I get your problem and solution(s) in the next two weeks, I will send you the web address for the recently updated Harnessing Technology to Serve Adult Literacy web pages, and I will consider adding your problem and solution there. If I do add it, of course I will credit you.
David J. Rosen