Online Course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom

Now Available on the LINCS Learning Portal --- The LINCS Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom Online Course

LINCS provides the opportunity for professional development for its members in the form of a series of optional online courses developed by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’sLiteracy Information and Communication System (LINCS) Resource Collection initiative. These online courses are self-paced, freely available, and accessible 24 hours a day through the LINCS Learning Portal. The courses will enable users to work at their own pace, at a time that is most convenient to them.

 

Online Course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom

Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom is designed for adult education instructors who are at the beginner/intermediate level of knowledge of technology tools and technology integration in the classroom. This course examines the why, how, and what questions for integrating technology in the adult education classroom:

  • Why is technology important for instruction and learning?
  • How do you approach integrating technology?
  • What tools can you use to integrate technology?

This course covers the purposes for integrating technology, explores guidelines for planning to integrate technology into instruction, and organizes thinking about the wide range of technology tools available. Examples of adult education practitioners’ experiences in integrating technology are incorporated throughout the course. In the culminating activity, participants create a Technology Integration Action Plan for a unit or lesson selected for use with adult learners.

 

Use this discussion thread to post your responses to questions below from the online course, Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom. Please share your comments to any of the following questions, or post a general comment or feedback on the course.

  • Introduce yourself.
  • What technology devices do your students have access to? What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?
  • After reading the Let’s Become Chefs! final activity, what are some creative ways to integrate technology into the strategy for the final activity? List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.
  • What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?
  • How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?
  • After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?
  • After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?
  • After listening to two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, share your responses to the following questions: (1) Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool? (2) Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool? (3) Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How? (4) Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use?
  • When you are finished redesigning your lesson plan, we invite you to share it with others here. Revisit this thread to reflect on your progress and the lesson effectiveness.

 

This online course was developed under the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) Resource Collection initiative under Contract No. ED-VAE-11-C-0048.

 

The new LINCS Learning Portal offers adult educators free online professional development courses from a variety of OVAE initiatives. Join today at: https://courses.lincs.ed.gov.

Comments

Hello Jacqueline, and others,

Some of the free websites, from the Literacy List's Easy Reading for Adult Learners page may be suitable for ELLs; some have been designed for them. Nearly all were designed for low-literate adults, not children, who want to improve their reading skills. There are other websites and other resources on that page that I have not included here because they are delivered by email or because they are not free. You might want to check them out, too. The following websites are in alphabetical order.

American Stories for English Learners

56 american stories in Voice of America Special English. Includes the text and an audio file of the story being read in a human voice

Best of the Reader

" A series of (Canadian) e-books for adult literacy and English as a second language learners. This site has 14 e-books, a teacher’s guide, and a calendar of special days and holidays for 2012. Each e-book has 8 to 10 stories, and each story has exercises and activities to go with it. There is also an answer key in each e-book. The stories, recipes, puzzles, and other material are from past issues of The Westcoast Reader (1982-2009), a newspaper for adults who are improving their English reading skills.You have permission to download, print, and distribute all the material on this site. To view and print the e-books, you may need to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader."

California Distance Learning Project

Articles and follow-up questions at several different levels of difficulty on many topics.

CNN Learning Resources

Recent CNN articles on current events and an extensive archive of articles on compelling contemporary topics (such as abortion, gun control, euthanasia) in  a full version and an edited, easier-to-read version.

Center for the Study of Adult Literacy's free online library for adult learners

The Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (CSAL) offers a great free library of adult literacy readings. The readings have three levels: Easier, Medium and Harder, and include these topics:

health; food; babies; children ages 2-12; teenagers; families; advice; non-fiction (real life) stories; fiction (made-up stories); jobs and work; money; history; science; and other.

 http://csal.gsu.edu/content/are-you-learner  (Choose Library)

Elizabeth Claire's Easy English News

ESL YES

Hundreds of very short stories and easier stories for ESL beginners. Audio -- an actual human voice reading the story --is an option at the top of each story.

Marshall Adult Education

Leveled reading selections that are appropriate for and valued by adult learners. These materials, combined with the research-proven strategies of repeated reading and guided oral reading, aid in building learners' fluency and comprehension skills. The materials correspond to Casas 200 - 235. Passages can be "auded" (heard) as well as read.

Newsela

Includes articles at various levels that can be read online or printed out.
"Newsela is a site that lists very popular news articles for readers. The power of the site is that you get to choose the reading levels of the recent news. A beginning reader can start at very low levels and as you click to increase each level you can see the depth, complexity, vocabulary and sentence structure change with each setting. It might be nice to have readers of all levels read the same article and then have them discuss what they understood from the article. Another usage might be for someone to read at their comfort level then try the next level up so they can start to experience some of the differences. As they get more comfortable with what that "next level" looks like, the student can then start a new article at that next level and revert back to the old level to verify understanding." Ed Latham, in a post on June 19, 2015 to the LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education Community of Practice, https://community.lincs.ed.gov/comment/reply/5795/11537

Simple English Wikipedia

Wikipedias are places where many people are working together to make encyclopedias in many languages. Writers use simple English words and simple writing structures. There are over 6,000 pages in the Simple English Wikipedia. All of the pages are free to use.

Story Share

A collaborative digital literacy hub that provides relevant and readable content for students who read below grade level beyond elementary school. Books can be searched by grade interest level  or "Post high school" and by level (GLE, Lexile, or Fountas and Pinnell.) There are six  levels of difficulty (K-5). Content is for children, young adults and adults.

 

David J. Rosen

djrosen123@gmail.com

 

Hi Jaqueline, one of the instructors in our program is using Read Naturally for her adult ESL students. From what she described, the online system uses visual and auditory cues to guide students through different reading exercises. It may be worth a look if you are doing research on assistive technology.

Best,
Alecia

My name is Evette Fortenberry and I serve as an Adult Educator for City Colleges of Chicago. My students encompass the TDL (Transportation, Distribution & Logistics) GED Bridge.

The majority of my students have access to smartphones, in-class laptops, personal tablets & laptops as well as at-home and library desktops. Some of the tasks they are using include Google searches, email checks, school homepage reading, GEDi (i-Pathways), GEDTS services and more. I do my best to include technology in all sections of learning for my classes.

My name is Andrea. I teach an Adult Education Reading class.

The majority of my students have smart phones. Daily, they use these to access Facebook, e-mail and to text. A small percentage of my students own some sort of tablet and less than half have access to a computer at home. While some use their tablets to read, most students main use of these is for social networking or gaming. 

A couple of ways to integrate technology into the final activity for Let's Become Chefs! would be to create an e-book of the recipe or use a closed Facebook group to share the recipes. An e-book would allow the students to work on the design process and set up. Facebook is a familiar platform to most students, so providing a different way of using it could be very beneficial.

Cynthia used a writing platform but found that students didn't really access it outside of class. By using Facebook as a format for sharing the students work she found that all of the students engaged in the activity. The upside to using Facebook is that it is one most students are readily familiar with and provides the opportunity to discuss and comment. The downside is that it doesn't necessarily provide collaboration. While you can make comments, there isn't the opportunity to work together beyond that. A blogging format provides more options for setting up the writing (design, etc), but not all students are familiar with the set up and it can be a drawback that they aren't familiar with the format.

Nell's students used Pinterest to collect pictures for their autobiographies. The use of Pinterest helped students engage with technology in a new way and created an excitement. Many of the students went above and beyond for this project. It also provided the opportunity to have students work in partners. Having a student more proficient work with a student less proficient benefits both students.

I have always been a fan of using technology in the classroom. I enjoy what it has to offer, however, I never really understood how social media could be used in the classroom. After listening to the reflections of these two students, I have an understanding of how all kinds of technology can be used. I also see the great value in viewing the integration of technology from the POST method.

I am familiar with most of the technology listed in the printout. I think the one I would like to explore more thoroughly, especially in the context of my class, would be QR codes. I have used these as a consumer, but never thought of the benefit they can provide in a classroom setting. With many of my students using smartphones, this tool seems to be a good choice. Evernote or Google docs will also provide a great opportunity for students to revise and edit others work. 

Nell used e-mail to add a new dimension to her previous lesson. She seemed very comfortable with using e-mail herself, however found that many of her students were not familiar with the basics of e-mail. During the first lesson, Nell found that many of her students were less prepared for using e-mail than she had anticipated. At that point, she had the students start from the beginning. The next time through the lesson she was prepared to have the students start "further back" in the process. This was a great use of technology and by providing these students with the skills and opportunity to use e-mail she has opened the door to technology opportunities. 

Part One:

People: The majority of my students are fairly computer literate. While most don't have access to a computer at home, almost all have access to a smart phone and to computers at the library or other centers. One or two students aren't as proficient in regards to technology. Any project will require more help on an individual basis.

Objective: By the end of the unit, students will be able to brainstorm ideas, compose an organized paragraph including: topic sentence, two statements, explanation/examples, and a clincher sentence, revise and edit the original paragraph. 

Strategy:

- Model and then practice different brainstorming activities

- Model and practice paragraph organizational structure

- Model and practice drafting a paragraph

- Model and practice revising paragraph

- Model and practice editing paragraph

Technology: Using google docs will provide students with a way to save their notes and progress. It will also provide students the ability to access their work from any computer (not just the ones provided in class).

Where I am now: 

I have used google docs and google drive before. I feel fairly comfortable setting up a document for myself.

Where do I want to be: 

I would like to be more proficient in my use of this technology. I believe exploring what these two options have to offer or possibly taking a brief "how-to" course on them would provide me greater familiarity with all it has to offer and how to connect this technology with students. 

Timeline: 

This lesson is coming up soon within my lessons, so I think I should plan on at least watching a video on how to within the next week or so.

Assessment: 

This technology will improve students understanding of keyboarding, word processing and document storage.

Results:

While many of my students had some familiarity with computers, there were more than I thought that will need more hands on instruction before completing this activity.

Changes: 

I will plan extra class time before beginning the writing process for students to set up an e-mail account and become familiar with the set up.

What technology devices do your students have access to? What are some of the everyday tasks your students are using these technology devices to accomplish?

My students are intermediate ESL students.  Some students have computers at home and some have limited skills in relation to using a computer.  All students have smart phones and most are comfortable navigating social media such as Facebook.

I really like the POST method using Pinterest! I started Pinterest for arts and crafts ideas. Then I searched for education ideas. WOW! What a gold mine. I have downloaded many free education ideas in many areas. Now I have a new tool to use in teaching POST!

In a recent statewide survey, 93% of the students, both ABE and ESL,  in our Adult Education programs responded that they have access to a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone to be able to complete out of the classroom learning. When asked about the type of technology available, the responses were: smartphones - 65% of ABE students and 50% of ESL students; tablets - 34% of ABE and 28% of ESL students; laptops - 60% of ABE and 40% of ESL students; and desktops - 35% of ABE and 22% of ESL students.  However when queried  about access to the Internet outside of the classroom, 94% of ABE students and 85% of ESL students could access information via the Internet. 

Hi Maureen, 

Where did you come across this information? I'd love to share it. I think it speaks to a huge opportunity to provide students with extra learning opportunities outside of the traditional class. However, access to technology does not always equal access to quality leanring resources that are available online. Our role then becomes more of curators, finding relevent content and organizing it for students to have easy access. 

Having students work on a project as a group through the use of technology allows students to address content objectives while enhancing their technological skills and learning how to communicate appropriately in a virtual environment.  We are beginning to use Schoology as a platform for student lessons.  For the recipe assignment, students could each create a recipe aligned with rubric requirements while also reviewing and offering comments on each other's recipe.  Consequently, a student could be create, self-evaluate (based on his/her own comments on others' recipes) and revise his/her own recipe during the one project.  The process would include original creation, revisions and chats.  The project could conclude with a student survey querying what new skills the student used and how communications via chats compared with in person chats in addition to the creation of a cookbook - food for the tummy and food for the mind! 

Everyone I surveyed has a cell phone, except one student. The one student who doesn't have one is an older woman and she comes from a lower income background. I recently started looking at a program called Remind where I can send students "reminders" about things coming up. So far, I have some students signed up and I will use that to let them know about major events. Not all of the students can accept text messaging on their phones though, so it won't work for everyone.

 

Technology and Learning Colleagues,

The problems that Barbara Baker has described in her effort to integrate technology in her classroom: 1) that some students may not have a computer or portable digital device, and 2) that some students who may have cell phones don't have the sms text messaging feature are common in our field. Can anyone offer solutions to either or both of them?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

djrosen123@gmail.com

Voice broadcasting might be an alternative for use with learners whose phones don't have SMS capabilities. I've never used it, so I can't say if or how it will work in an educational environment. Here's a link to one service: https://www.call-em-all.com/features.If you do a Google search on "voice broadcasting," you'll find a few more providers.

Thanks Bob for that suggestion. If you -- or others -- try it out, let us know how it works.

Does anyone else have other possible solutions to these problems that Barbara Baker raised: 1) that some students may not have a computer or portable digital device, and 2) that some students who may have cell phones don't have the sms text messaging feature are common in our field?

Barbara, here are two possible solutions to the first problem:

1. local libraries and possibly community computing centers offer low-income people and others who do not have computers the opportunity to use them there for free.

2. The EveryoneOn adult education partnership http://www.everyoneon/adulted may be available where your student lives. She is eligible as an adult basic skills student, and as an adult education teacher you are also eligible, for:

1) discounts on purchase of desktop and laptop computers,

2) inexpensive (approximately $10/month) broadband Internet access, and

3) wireless hotspots that enable a wireless Internet connection for example at home or in a classroom.

Also, a few libraries , for example in New York City and in Providence R.I.,  lend library users hotspots, Chromebooks and/or electronic tablets, often for six months or more. Anyone know of libraries in other communities that do that now?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

djrosen123@gmail.com

Hello, all. I'm Angie Reid, an adult educator at an ABE/GED program. As a longtime technophile and admirer of shiny things, I come close to giddiness when I think of the educational possibilities that open via the mere click of a mouse or tap on a screen. I want my learners to be voracious but savvy consumers of information. It's that desire that keeps me in exploration mode, checking out this app or surveying that web-based tool.

The majority of my learners are technophiles too, to one degree or another. Virtually every student has a cellphone -- well, except for the 16 year old whose mom confiscated it as part of a disciplinary action. About 85% of our learners have home access to PCs, laptops, and/or tablets, and the Web. For those who don't have access at home, our site has a large computer lab adjacent to the classroom as well as a student "den" with another bank of machines. The public library is just across the street; yet another bank of machines is located there. We set a day aside each week for one-on-one work with learners struggling with everything from fractions to technology. We get takers on the fraction help but not so much on the technology help.

Access is available. Support is available. I don't think time is though. Most of our learners are employed (or underemployed) adults with children and sometimes even grandchildren. If they don't have home access to technology, they may not seek it out simply because there are scarcely enough hours to manage regular classes, let alone an extra trip to center. What all that means to me as an educator is that any tool we use must (1) lead to developing targeted skills and (2) be simple enough to be mastered within our existing classroom hours by even the most technologically challenged.

As you can probably tell, I am absorbing the POST method and truly appreciate the dose of reality it brings. I have selected a lesson, and now I am off to find the technology that supports my objectives.

Hello Angie, and others,

Thanks for introducing yourself Angie. It sounds like you have technology enthusiasm as well as a teaching situation in which you and your students have good access to technology.   Regarding the time concern you raised, many teachers reading this would nod in agreement. Recently, some teachers have found good smart phone apps that adult learners can often access for short (or long) periods of time when they are on public transportation, waiting for an appointment, in a line at the post office,  or in some cases (think of security guards or some restaurant workers in the mid-afternoon slower time) at work.  A few years ago I created a Pinterest account of adult basic skills apps.. I haven't updated it recently, but if I got some encouragement and some good app suggestions from LINCS members, I would!

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

djrosen123@gmail.com

After reading the Let’s Become Chefs! final activity, what are some creative ways to integrate technology into the strategy for the final activity? List a couple of ways that you can integrate technology into this strategy.

Students could create free “padlets” at https://padlet.com. Padlet is an online virtual bulletin board where teachers and students can share links, photos, and text in a secure environment. I could envision students creating posts for with photos of and information about each ingredient. The posts can be be freely moved around, allowing students to explore the recipe’s order or challenge others to create the proper sequence. I also think that a shared Google Doc could be put to use here.

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

Cynthia tried an online platform for students to interact outside of class and then turned to Facebook as an online space to share writing. I can definitely identify with her unfortunate experiences using the online platform: I too have a beautiful, thorough unit on essay writing that was scarcely touched by learners because I let the technology drive the process. Her Facebook foray worked out better since she was using a tool that was familiar to many already.

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

Nell thought about more than the act of posting items on a Pinterest board. She prepared her learners by talking about online communities and privacy issues. She addressed potential snags, such as some needing additional computer access, and made certain to pair experienced learners with less experienced ones. She paved the way and provided the needed support to allow students to truly focus on the activity.

After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?

The technology has often driven the process. In fact, I honestly think it has overridden the objectives on many occasions. It’s as though we’re presented with this new flat-head screwdriver, and we feel the need to use it because, well, it’s so shiny. We don’t even seem to notice that it won’t work with the crosshead screw in our other hand. I will attempt to avoid that mistake from here on. I do plan to use the POST method when designing lessons and selecting my technologies.

After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?

I have never considered using QR codes for anything other than connecting potential learners to our college website. After watching the video, I can see how math worksheets could be built with QR codes linking to favorite video explanations.

As I was reading “Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation,” I encountered several innovative spins on existing technology. For example, the idea of using popular electronic entertainment technologies to teach desired objectives fascinates me to no end. I can think of several popular online games that require constant math as well as an understanding of many difficult economic principles. I recall reading information about some Scandinavian educators researching that very idea, but that was years ago.

After listening to two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, share your responses…

In the case of the ESOL email lesson, it is obvious that instructor Nell Eckersley was comfortable with using email as a communication tool. However, several of her students were not familiar with email or how to create an account, and others didn’t know how to access their accounts. (This is another situation with which I can identify. Despite the best of intentions, sometimes we educators for get that our adult learners may not remember their email addresses, let alone their passwords.) After the initial issues, Nell recovered nicely, identifying the problems and designing a process to avoid them in the future. Teaching her learners how to use email definitely deepened the students’ learning, as is evidenced by the continued use of the tool for expanding communication beyond the assignment. ■

I would have the students use Google Docs to write their recipes since many will not have access to Microsoft Word. Some will use home PCs, others the community library.  I usually have a couple of students who need additional assistance so we do that either before or after class, on the laptop I bring to the classroom.  For students that have smart phones they may choose to take a picture of whatever they've made, and email it, in order to retrieve the picture, and insert it as a picture within their document.  I do have some students that know how to use PowerPoint, so that may also be an option for those students.
 

As part of this course, I've decided to learn more about VoiceThread.  While on the VoiceThread.com website, I noticed there's a trial version, and a paid subscription.  Is this tool free?  I registered on the website but have yet to receive the activation email to finish the registration process.  Perhaps they only send activation emails during normal work hours.

I teach a combined low/high intermediate level El/Civics class, that combines both ESL and Civics.  Students are using their smartphones as a substitute for a PC because the location where I teach does not have PCs that they can use.  I'm not teaching how to use specific mobile apps but rather having students use the internet to access information on Employment, Health/Wellness, Democratic Process, and Consumer Resources.  These are all topics within the El/Civics state curriculum.  After vocabulary introduction, and establishing schema theory so I get a sense for what students already know, I provide a worksheet that goes along with the topics.  Students are instructed to complete the worksheet in class, or as homework.  For example, students need to identify their local, state, and national leaders.  They use a combination of resources on the internet to determine this information.  For Consumer Resources, I distribute junk mail flyers for various company advertisements.  Students use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to identify if there are any complaints for a particular company, the type of complaints, the BBB grade for the business, and whether or not they would do business with the company, and explain why or why not.  My basis for a lesson are the state standards/competencies that the student needs to accomplish.  The smartphone is the technology the students use to meet the standard/competency.  I demo. the activities using the instructor PC since this is conducive to projecting to the entire class via the projector.  For students who do not have a smartphone, they either team up with someone who has a smartphone, use the instructor PC, or complete on their own as homework-- either using their home PC, or the local library.  The class time frame is such that there's usually only enough time to demo one example before the class ends.  Thus those who do not have smartphones do not feel left out of the activity since they are being attentive to what I'm showing them on the PC, and taking notes, while the smartphone users are emulating on their smartphones what I'm demo'ing on the instructor PC.  Since the worksheets are a homework assignment, everyone has an opportunity to complete outside of the classroom using whatever technology resource they have for accessing the internet.

Students in both my ELL and GED(r) Prep classes have access to smartphones.  They mostly stay in touch with family and friends via conversations, texts, and various forms of social media.  Many students use their phones or the internet to check email ( check children's school schedules), shop, search for jobs, and get driving directions.  Not all, however, especially in the ELL class have their own computers, so access to the Internet may be limited to smart phones.

Strategy:  Create a class book of favorite recipes

To implement this strategy, the instructor can have the students use GoogleDocs.  Students can type of their recipes and share with group members or the entire class.  Revisions can take place directly  on the document.  Final copies can be placed into a book within the program.  Students can also use email and include attachments to share recipes and revise.  The recipe book can be created in Microsoft Publisher.

Cynthia use an online platform, and Facebook Group technology tools. 

The observed benefits of using Facebook were that students were receptive to using this tool because most students were familiar with Facebook, and already used it. 

Limitations of the online platform-- one more place that students had to go to/learn.  Limitations of Facebook-- one needs to understand Facebook permissions and how to set up one's account to be very private.

Concerning how Nell enhanced student learning-- For those students who were already using technology, they wanted to expand their technology skills in class.  For those students not using technology, they were willing to embrace technology as a means to become more connected to their technology savvy children.

Concerning how Nell extended student learning-- Students were already exploring images via print medium.  Thus, they had an established foundation that they were able to extend by looking for online images.

 

Several years ago I made a mistake similar to Cynthia Bell of setting up an entire class to use Blackboard with many grammar topics and hyperlinks to allow each student to work at their own pace during class sessions that were in the computer lab.  On our first opportunity in the lab, I discovered most students either did not know their login/password, or forgot to bring the information to class.  In addition to this hurdle, I discovered about 1/4 of the class was not computer literate-- this group would never get to the grammar topics until they understood how to turn on a PC, and had mouse skills for being able to navigate a page, click on hyperlinks, and move/click on answers to cloze activities, and use typing skills for short answer exercises.  Much has changed since then, not just in my teaching approach but students, in general, are more tech savvy then they were back in 2005.

I now team students by ability-- novice PC users with experienced PC users.  Since most of the students are not good typists, and this is not a goal of the ESL class, I use tinyurl.com to change long URLs into short/meaningful names with a date suffix to make the URL unique.  Additionally, whatever technology I have the students use, I make sure I understand thoroughly myself before I use it as part of a class.  Finally, technology supplements my lesson, and is not the main focus of the lesson. 

For example, for an upcoming lesson, I want to use VoiceThread.com as an extra aid for students to understand the printed instructions I will supply to them.  The print copy is a screen capture of a website tool, that I demo in the class.  Students use the website tool, to complete a worksheet that goes with the tool.  During class, as part of my demo, students complete one worksheet exercise using the website tool, and complete the remaining exercises outside of class, using the same website tool.  By placing the screen capture within VoiceThread, and recording my verbal instructions, my hope is that students will have this additional instructional material that they can refer back to once they leave the classroom, and perhaps forget how to complete the worksheet.  Additionally, for those students who are absent when I introduce the lesson-- they can use what I post in VoiceThread and will be able to catch up independently without having to make special arrangements to schedule time with me/other classmates to understand what was covered in the class they missed.  Because I will be the one doing the development of the VoiceThread, from a student perspective it will be only an introduction to VoiceThread capability.  I can use that introduction for subsequent lessons where I might want students to use their speaking skills to explain something that they have screen captured and/or found on the internet.

My name is Daniel R. Lewis and I am trying to integrate technology in my class.  We are using the students'  cell phones with the application for kahoot to have interactive lessons.

What two technology tools did Cynthia try to implement with her students in the classroom? What were the observed benefits of using one tool over another? What are some limitations of both tools?

Cynthia tried to implement an online platform for students to interact outside of the classroom.   She realized that her students did not use this platform  She felt it was another place students had to go in order to complete assignments.  She realized she didn't think about who her students were and what technology skills they had.  Students were also limited to the tools that had.  So, she also incorporated Facebook to help students share pieces of writing with one another.  A benefit of using this program was that most students were already using it and were familiar with it.  However, for those students that were not using it, she had to teach them how to set up accounts and set privacy settings.  

I am curious as to what program students use to type up their writing.  Those students who were limited to smartphone use, how did they complete the writing piece.

How did Nell’s use of Pinterest in the lesson on autobiographies enhance and extend student learning?

Nell carefully designed her lessons to accommodate the needs of her students  She enhanced their knowledge of online resources available to them, if they didn't already know about Pinterest.  She discussed privacy issues, which is crucial when using online media.  She inadvertently discussed time management when discussing access to computers for those who did not have their own.  Students had to practice how to manage their time differently in order to find access to and use computers outside of their homes.  Finally, by pairing students together, the students practiced their oral communication skills. 

After listening to the two teacher reflections from Cynthia Bell and Nell Eckersley, consider the following: How have you approached technology in the past? With the guidelines provided in this module, what new or additional considerations will you build into your unit or lesson planning process to more effectively integrate technology into your classroom?

In the past, I think I've just jumped into using technology.  For example, I may attend a workshop where a technology tool was used and then would somehow incorporate it into my lesson plan.  I didn't always think about my students' existing tech skills.  So, using the POST method will help me think more about their needs.  I will focus on the learning goal while being cognizant of the students' existing skills.

My concern is my hesitation in using technology that I am unfamiliar with.  I don't consider myself technologically savvy, and I don't seek out different tools.  I feel like I don't even know where to find different tools to use.  Where do I begin?

Hello Terese, and others,

Terese, you wrote, "My concern is my hesitation in using technology that I am unfamiliar with.  I don't consider myself technologically savvy, and I don't seek out different tools.  I feel like I don't even know where to find different tools to use.  Where do I begin?"  There are many adult basic skills -- and other -- teachers who also wonder where to begin. Fortunately, on LINCS there is an Onine Tools and Resources Micro group of adult basic skills teachers and professional developers who have compiled a list of of potentially valuable online tools and resources for adult learners and their teachers. They have also created a simple, easy-to-use process for reviewing them, and have evaluated several. If you are interested, you may wish to join a new micro group which, we hope, will start up again next month. In any case, the results from last year's group are available. There is a list of over 50 online tools and resources at https://groups.diigo.com/group/lincs-educational-resources.  Members of the micro group evaluated several of these, including the following: Blendspace; Create Your Own Comic - Marvel.com; Doodle; Google Forms; Google Slides; Kahoot! ; Make Beliefs Comix ; Poll Everywhere; Prezi;  RubiStar; and  Schoology

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

djrosen123@gmail.com

After reviewing the printable table of categorized technology tools used in an educational context, reflect on the following: Were there tools that were mentioned that you would like to explore? Did you learn about new ways of using existing tools? How can one tool be repurposed to meet another need?

I would definitely like to explore Google Docs in more depth.  This will help students share written work and revise as needed.  I would like to look into using podcasts for specific topics.  Evernote might be a good tool to share with the students.  Many of them want to take pictures of notes I have on the board.  I always encourage them to actually write them down as a means to remember them.  Since the notes can be taken on a smart phone; it may be more relevant to the students.  This tool can also be used to share writing assignments.  Bitly can be used to share URLs with students, which I regularly do.  I need to explore how students can access the QR codes on their smart phones.  Twitter could be used for ESL students to communicate with one another on specific topics outside of the class.  They can practice their writing skills.  They can use to help one another with questions they may have.

Reflecting on Integrating Technology

You just heard two adult education instructors reflect upon their experiences integrating a technology tool in their classroom instruction, and jotted down your thoughts about the following questions:

  • Identify the technology tool the instructor used. Was the instructor comfortable using the tool? If not, what was the instructor’s plan for understanding the tool?
  • Did the tool selected meet the students’ existing technology skills? If not, what was the plan for teaching the students how to use the technology tool?
  • Did the technology tool selected improve instruction and/or deepen student learning? How?
  • Was this technology tool the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the unit or lesson? What other technology tools could the instructor have selected to use?
  • Cynthia Bell used Bitly so that students could access information quickly.  Specifically, she used it for her students to access a Khan Academy video on math.   Since she was able to express how she created a QR code, I assume she was comfortable in using the tool.
  • For some students, Bitly met their technology skills.  However, for those whose skills were not met, she realized that in shortening the URL students could access the Khan Academy video a lot easier than typing it in themselves where mistakes could happen.  She copied the code and pasted it onto a word document.  She used this as a handout for the students.  For those who did not have a scanner app on their phone, she helped them download a free app.  Their discussion on where they had seen codes in real life made its application more relevant.  Students learned how a smart phone could be used to gather information.  Using the QR code made it easier for Bell to share a URL for a website that would teach the students a math concept.  It also deepened the students' understanding of different ways to use a smart phone.
  • I think this technology tool was the best choice to implement the teaching strategies of the lesson.  She could have posted the URL on FAcebook, Twitter or a website, but then she would have had to show some students how to use that tool.  This may take more time to teach than the time allotted for this lesson.

I did not choose a tool from the table of categorized technology tools, however I did learn of this tool as part of taking the "Integrating Technology in the Adult Ed. Classroom" course.  The tool name is VoiceThread.  The tool comes under the category of Multimodal communication tools but I will not be using it's full capability, i.e., I will not invite students to comment, but rather I will use the commenting, and drawing features to explain to students how to use a website tool.  The need I'm attempting to meet is providing students with duplicate verbal and visual instructions that I provide in the classroom, for additional "out of class" usage as they complete a homework worksheet, using search output from a web based tool.

Cynthia Bell used bitly to create a QR code for accessing a video on the web.  To prepare for the class, she created the QR code prior to class, and made copies of the QR code (after pasting into Word) so that students could scan it during class.  While QR codes were new for all but one student, there was not a huge learning curve for those students who already had smart phones.  Students were able to spend the bulk of their time viewing the website video vs. trying to access the website.  Cynthia could have used tinyurl.com to create a short/meaningful URL, and not have to worry about it being case sensitive  This would have allowed those students who did not have smart phones to access the video on a public computer outside of class (e.g. community library).

Cynthia tried to implement an online space for students to share their writing but it did not work because it was one more place where students had to go. So she decided to use use Facebook since most of here students went there and she create an group for them to work in. The observed benefit was that all students agreed to use Facebook and completed the class requirements. 

The limitations that she encountered with Facebook was that not all students used the Facebook group the same amount of time.

I like her use of Facebook and think that I want to look into creating a Facebook group and try using it.

Hello Jeanne, and others who are interested in using Facebook with their students, 

You may find the Adult Educators Using Facebook for Education (AEFE) group helpful. This is a national group of adult educators who use or want to use Facebook private groups with their students. As co-convener of this Facebook group I would be glad to send you an invitation to join. 

David j. Rosen

djrosen123@gmail.com

The tool that I am interested in exploring is Weebly. I visited their site and explored a little bit and sent them an email to see if they provide how much time a student uses their program. I am looking for a good free educational website to use for our GED online class. The one that the college uses is not open ended and I hope to find an online site that provides attendance and that can students can use when the college is not in session.

I found the use of google docs as a collaborative work space for students very informative. I currently use Google Docs as a way to share work that students miss when they are absent from class. I simply create a Google Docs sheet with the videos and worksheets presented in class and email it to students.

Earlier we learned how Facebook can be re-purposed as a place for students to practice and share their writing assignments and I agree that this is a good way to use Facebook in an educational setting.

 

Hello Jeanne,

Weebly could be a good choice, but there are other free website and online shell platforms such as Wix, Schoology, Edmodo and others. Can you tell us more about what you want your students to be able to do with the website or classoom online platform, and perhaps then some of us will have recommendations. You mention attendance, which implies that you might like a class website designed specifically for teachers, which Weebly is not, although it is often used by teachers. Have you looked at Schoology or Edmodo? They are shell platforms designed for K-12 teachers and used by many adult educators. Since you use Google docs, have you looked at Google Drive or Google Sites? All these online tools are free for teachers and available to students 24/7/365.

Once you tell us more about what you want -- and what you want your GED students -- to be able to do with your online presence, perhaps others will have suggestions. In the Technology and Learning community we have many experienced users of Google tools, Weebly, Edmodo, and other online tools who might have suggestions for you. Also you will find many of these online tools listed in the appendix of my free online guide, Blended Learning for the Adult Education Classroom

If you like using Facebook with your students, you may be interested to know that Facebook has a free, private group option that many adult educators use with their students, and you may be interested in joining the Facebook for Adult Education online group. If so, email me and I'll send you an invitation.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

Technology and Learning CoP

djrosen123@gmail.com


 

I teach HSE and ABE Math for Adult Education division at the College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL. I've been using technology for quite a while to enhance and support teaching math concepts, providing Math skills practice and improving student's computer and digital literacy skills. Currently use Blackboard to support my HSE Math class for students working on their GED/HiSAT/TABE exams. Challenges for my students include access to technology and literacy skills to read and understand information on a website.

Most of my students have access to smartphones. Some have access to a computer at home and internet access, some do not. Generally they use their phones for communicating with friends and family, sending text messages, posting on Facebook or other social media. I don't think very many students make use of computers for online activities like paying bills, applying for jobs, finding information or shopping, because of lack of availability of technology or poor internet access.

In the classroom, students may have access to college desktop computers, if the class is scheduled in a computer lab. Otherwise, we may have access to a set of laptops on a rolling cart, which we can request to use as needed. Most classrooms have a projector connected to a computer and also a document camera. Some of the classrooms have smart boards also.

Here are a few ideas to integrate technology into the final activity - creating a class cookbook of favorite recipes.

1. Have students search online for recipes using different search engines.

2. Save recipes in PDF format, download saved recipes to a central storage folder so everyone can read them.

3. Use cloud storage for sharing and collaborating - a Google docs folder, Evernote app or similar.

4. Have students vote online for favorite recipes to include in the cookbook. Use monkey survey or a similar online application to create and send a survey to each class member

5. Collate survey results and graph - use the data management features of your survey software (if applicable) or an Excel spreadsheet.

 

 

Cynthia tried to first implement a separate online platform that students could use for posting writing assignments, sharing writing and making comments on each other's writing.

She then tried using a closed Facebook group, and had more more success with this. Reasons she gave included: this was a tool they were already using, offered privacy, place to meet that didn't require they become 'friends', ability to upload completed documents or write directly on the platform, could share links, indicate likes, share comments in a safe, closed environment with only other students from their class group. That's why it was successful


 

At least 90%, probably more, of my students have cell phones.  Many have tablets and/or laptops, as well.  I teach an online (hybrid) math course, and students often access the program on their cell phones or laptops even though we meet in a computer lab.  They are accustomed to using that small device when a much larger, easily accessible one is available.  They send texts, photos, etc. My students are working to attain degrees in creative areas, such as illustration, interior and fashion design, audio production, etc.  They use their laptops or school computers to access the necessary software programs for their areas of interest.  Collaboration through face-time or skype are also handy.  Students come up with math programs to find out the answers to problems without solving them.  They listen to and share music.