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Project-based software or applications to Introduce digital skills

Technology Colleagues,


One well-established way to introduce digital literacy is by engaging adult students in learning projects in which they use simple, easy digital applications to make something they care about, for example, a greeting card, blog, digital or print poster, slide show presentation, or simple narrated how-to video. I am interested in what (ideally free) software and applications adult education teachers have found to be especially useful to their ESOL/ESL and ABE or ASE students who are learning digital literacy skills at least in part through project-based learning.


If I get good suggestions from teachers or those who work with them, I’ll compile these and post a link to the list. You can reply here or, if you prefer, email me at


Thanks for your help.


David J. Rosen


Steve Quann's picture

Hi David,

Tteachers find Microsoft Photostory 3 a simple way to create a narrated story with images. See a wiki on the the topic

Here is a link to the free download of the software:

For those with ITouches, IPhones and IPads try Storykit,  an app I have used to create narrated "stories" in real time. Teachers I have shared this app with have been enchanted with its potential for project-based learning.  Here is a like that includes Storykit as well as others teachers might find useful.



David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Thanks Steve. I was thinking about this software when I wrote my post. I had just read an interesting research report, published by AlphaPlus in Canada, on a small study that included new-to-technology adult learners doing projects in which they used Photostory 3 and Glogger. You will find the report at

Does anyone else use Photostory 3, Glogger, or other simple (often free) software with adult learners who are learning to use technology by doing projects? If so, tell us what you use -- and how you use it.


David J. Rosen


Barry Burkett's picture

Aoife Fitzsimmons in Ireland had her class start sending my class "Bill Atkins Photo Cards" an iPad App. The card is great, a photo accompanied by text and possibly voice.  Because its an app I would suspect there is one comparable for droid devices, or if a teacher wanted a work around with a trad computer.

Dave, I will send you an example and hope it gives a better account.

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Thanks Barry. I downloaded this app and quickly sent some Halloween (end of "Frankenstorm") cards. The PhotoCard app is very easy-to-use and one can add one's own photos or use Bill Atkinson's (the software developer/photographer). Emailing a PhotoCard is free. Postal mailing costs under $2.00 per card according to the PhotoCard web site. . The App can be used only on iPads, iPhones and iPods, not computers (apparently not even an iMac)

Barry, I like your use of PhotoCard as a way for classes in different parts of the country or world to communicate. From 1999-2007, Santa Ana College (California) ESL Professior, Susan Gaer, and I sponsored the International Classroom Virtual Visit Project in which we matched classes around the world that wanted to virtually visit each other using web pages and email. You can learn more about that project on my blog at and also at  Although Susan and I no longer sponsor this project, perhaps adult ed teachers who want to get in touch with other teachers who are interested in classroom "virtual visits" could just post a message in this thread or email me.. If it turns out there is lots of interest, I can set up a wiki page list for those who are interested.


David J. Rosen

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Colleagues who are interested in project based learning may find this article of interest:!

I am cross-posting this from the COABE discussion list.

While project-based learning in the U.S., at least by that name, seems to have fallen off the K-12 and adult education radar, it appears to be having a re-birth in the U.K., this time with seriousness of purpose, rigor, and even experimental design research. Will that catch on in the U.S.? Here's hoping for innovation in 2014.

Do you know of project-based learning, using technology, in adult education in the U.S. ? If so, let's hear about it!

David J. Rosen

S Jones's picture
One hundred

   Our pre-college-level math courses have undergone a major curricular change, and we now have a "math literacy" course path that includes projects such as plotting out different payment plan options for loans for a car. 

    As projects go, they're pretty streamlined and specific -- so the car loan 'project' is strictly about that loan -- not the myriad other facets of securing a car. There's a project where they have to find a website describing some kind of non-linear relationship in a field that interests them. 


Edna Hoover's picture

Fantastic tool, easy to use.  For community building, environmental studies and local history projects.

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Hello Edna,

Can you tell us more about how you use Google Maps for community building, environmental studies and/or local history projects, and about the  students you do these projects with? What are the subject area(s) they are enrolled in, level(s), and how do you integrate Google maps projects into your curriculum or lessons?



David J.Rosen