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The New USA Learns

As many of you know, USA Learns is one of the prominent sites on Learn English section of LINCS Adult Learner Center.  USA Learns will be updated very soon.  Attend a webinar to find out about the new features so you can help your students get the most out of the courses.  If you cannot attend but you register, you will receive an recording that you can view at anytime. 

New and Improved USA Learns with John Fleischman 
Friday, December 4, 2015 2:00-3:00 pm EST 

USA Learns is a free online instructional program developed for adults with limited English language skills who cannot attend traditional classroom programs because of difficulty with schedules, transportation, or other barriers. And now, USA Learns is NEW and improved! This presentation will cover each of the three current courses, how to create and register student accounts and teacher accounts, an exploration of the teacher management interface, an overview of the USA Learns English apps, and a tour of the site’s many new features.

Hosted by the EdTech Center @ World Education.

Register now! 

Comments

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Steve, USA LEARNS is obviously an extremely valuable program and it is great to see it developing. I would like to recommend that in discussions on providing online courses and lessons, we should also explore the wealth of sites that are bilingual and serve the students who know little or no English. Some of these sites  could become a Bridge to USA LEARNS. 
Many people do not feel comfortable with an English Only approach to ESL, and actually learn more easily with bilingual lessons. There are many such lessons on YouTube, and a lot of bilingual ESL sites are available. For example, in the past five years or so, in many adult ESL computer lab courses, Pumarosa is often included along with USA LEARNS, at times as supplementary. Students can "graduate" from Pumarosa to USA Learns. 

To better serve the needs of all the adults who want to learn English as a Second or Other Language, I think we should create a list of the available or popular sites, and find ways to publicize them. In this way, I feel that any adult ed would not only improve its service but also increase interest among the community.

Paul 

Steve Quann's picture
Fifty

Great idea, Paul.  I think it makes good sense to not only prep but assess readiness.  That might also mean readiness for using online learning platforms. So that reminds me that many programs are using another site also found on the LINCS Adult Learner Center as a preliminary step to online learning. So I would add Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment as one that can help us prep learners. Others?

Steve Quann

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Steve, one factor that I feel is important is to always make a distinction between formal and informal settings, between community colleges on one hand and church basements on the other.

For example - when I run a Blended ESL program, say at a library, I show people how to use Pumarosa, which involves no more than knowing how to use a mouse and a little bit of typing. Those who have never used a computer before learn these basic skills rather quickly.

I would say that Pumarosa is an excellent introduction to computer basics.

Nor is there any need for a formal assessment. During the first sessions, for one hour or so the students work independently, with a minimal of help from a teacher or tutor. In this stage the students explore the site and find their own levels or areas of interest.

After every online session, I usually "teach" the group around a table using my workbooks.

I would say that it takes about a week for me to get a grasp of each student's level and what they will need to focus on during the next few classes.

This is all very informal, almost like a drop-in center.

I like the motto of "Each One Tech One" and usually my students form groups during class.

Again, we need to make a distinction between the formal, the "for-credit" setting and the informal, community based setting, otherwise we fall victim to a "One size fits all approach", which I am sure you agree we need to avoid.

Paul 

 

townbird37's picture
First

Paul, I'm interested to know how many students are involved in your online sessions, how long they are (hours and days or weeks), and how many people are around the table after the session. 

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Townbird, Thanks for the question. First, my classes in general are informal, non-credit, and usually for working adults.

As a volunteer teacher, I have run a number of classes in a Blended learning setting at community centers, libraries and housing complexes, and normally there were up to 20 students in class. The classes met twice a week, for two hours each time. During the first hour, the students came in and worked on Pumarosa. Then we sat around a table as a group, during which time I would review a lesson and answer questions - usually about pronunciation or verb tenses, and "situation English - going to the post office,e.g.

In all my classes the students use my workbooks, and now there are three at least. And I also hand out CDs.

Now I am switching everything to a online course, with Facebook as the home base, and lessons on Pumarosa, Youtube, and a Wix site.

Soon the entire course will be available via mobile devices, and I can see it evolving into a Tele-course.....

Thanks for you interest!

Paul

 

 

 

Steve Quann's picture
Fifty

Hi Paul and others,

Yes indeed, there are a variety of ways we can assess readiness whether we are in a formal or informal setting. And I do think we can use informal assessment as you laid out in some formal settings. To me there is nothing more helpful in understanding what support learners need than being able to look over a student's shoulder and directly observe how a learner handles a task. And certainly there is nothing like a small group setting to be able to do that kind of observation.

Having learned the hard way, before I start, I do want to know who can, for example, click and navigate. I don't think students need to be perfectly competent before beginning and believe in students learning as they go, within limits. And as you say you and others can help learners move forward, especially with simple interfaces. Nevertheless, it is just nice to have an overall sense of student comfort, not always easy to do  with a large class. so I think something like Northstar's 33 interactive questions on World Wide Web (No need to get a certificate.) can help.  And if you are not sure if students can navigate something like Northstar, following is as 20 question survey, developed in Google Docs by David Rosen, as another way to get a sense of overall skill and access. Anyone can download and adapt for student level and setting.  Tinyurl.com/ovntxsv

Best,

Steve Quann

Director, EdTech Center 
World Education, Inc.

Edward Latham's picture
One hundred

Just curious if having these types of surveys in an online form (google docs or other tool) might make entry a bit easier for newbies or those that are insecure around technology. I can see how a survey could just be printed off to help the learner, but then more needs to be done on the processing end of things. With a well designed form, most of the information can be collected by clicking a few buttons (or pressing the screen on a touch interface). Is there any interest in having a Google Forms done up for either the Northstar survey or the survey David created? 

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Ed, and others,

If there is interest in converting my (free) computer survey to a Google doc or other online tool, since it's an OER (see Creative Commons license terms at bottom of the survey) you -- anyone -- can do this. The license also allows anyone to adjust the content of the survey, e.g. add or subtract questions, to meet their needs. However, please let us know about the new tool(s) so others here can benefit.

David J. Rosen

djrosen123@gmail.com
 

Lora Zangari's picture
First

Thanks for the wealth of information provided in this group. I just started using Google forms to collect goal info from ESL students for program planning purposes as well as to provide the data to teachers. I am planning to do a computer survey (with teachers and students) the same way to help us develop a technology implementation plan for our program. I will be happy to share once I finish--hopefully before January!

Di Baycich's picture
One hundred

Although David designed the survey to be used with students, how many of you besides me feel that this would make a good teacher survey, too?  And while I'm asking questions, how many of you have technology standards for teachers in your ABE/GED programs?

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Colleagues,

If you haven't signed up yet to learn about the new USA Learns in a free Friday, December 4th webinar with John Fleischman, now is a good time to do it.

Here's why I have signed up for this webinar:

  • USA Learns is one of the most widely-used high-quality online adult English language instructional programs in the U.S.
  • It's free -- one of the very few comprehensive English language learning websites that is
  • It can be used in a blended learning model as an online component integrated with face-to-face English language instruction
  • It can be used with classes, or one-on-one in an ESL tutoring model
  • I hear that it has been redesigned for portable digital devices
  • I also hear there are some other appealing changes, but don't know what those are, so I am joining the webinar to find out!

Here's how to sign up:

New and Improved USA Learns

with John Fleischman

Friday, December 4, 2015 2:00-3:00 pm EST

USA Learns is a free online instructional program developed for adults with limited English language skills who cannot attend traditional classroom programs because of difficulty with schedules, transportation, or other barriers. And now, USA Learns is NEW and improved! This presentation will cover each of the three current courses, how to create and register student accounts and teacher accounts, an exploration of the teacher management interface, an overview of the USA Learns English apps, and a tour of the site’s many new features.

Hosted by the EdTech Center @ World Education.

Register now!  (If you cannot attend, an email with the recording will be sent to all who register.)

 

David J. Rosen

djrosen123@gmail.com

 

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Thanks, David and All for your comments. I have signed up for the Webinar and look forward to learning more! Leecy