[Technology 949] Technologies for Adult Literacy

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Mariann Fedele MariannF at lacnyc.org
Thu Apr 19 14:43:25 EDT 2007


The following message is posted on behalf of Tom Sticht:


April 19, 2007

Technologies for the Adult Literacy Classroom

Tom Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education

Nowadays a number of adults are coming to classes to learn to read and
write. There are several technologies that the teacher may use to help
these pupils learn. Here are a few.

1. Chalkboards. These are more and more familiar to teachers. They are
large
black slates (sometimes now in green) on which teachers may write with
chalk. For instance, a pupil may give his or her name and the teacher
can
write it on the chalkboard and show the pupil and class how to spell,
write, and read the pupil's name. This can be done with lots of other
words, or even sentences, too. Be sure not to stand with one's back to
the
class for long, as this is not interesting to the pupils. At the end of
class, some of the adults may be called upon to help clean the
chalkboard
and erasers. This can promote friendships in the class! [NOTE: Some
progressive teachers are now using different colored chalks to highlight
important information.]

2. Newspaper print. Sometimes the local newspaper will have some
newspaper
print left on the end of a role after printing the newspaper. Teachers
can
ask for this newsprint paper, which comes in a large role. It can be cut
up
into sheets that can be taped to the walls of the classroom (not on
wallpaper however!) and written upon to record the words and sentences
that
pupils will want to study as they walk around the room and look at the
paper
hanging on the walls. [NOTE: Some progressive teachers are now using
different colored ink pens to highlight important information.]

3. Overhead projectors. These audio-visual tools let the teacher write
on
transparent film and project the writing onto a light-colored wall or
movie
screen. With a newer device, the Xerox machine, the teacher can make
photocopies of pages of books, photos, charts and other materials and
project them on the wall. This can be used to illustrate various aspects
of
writing and reading to pupils. [NOTE: Make certain to have one or two
extra
bulbs for the projector in case one burns out!]

4. Filmstrips. There are now strips of photo film that can be projected
one
frame at a time onto a wall or screen and the information on the film
frames can be used to teach reading. The Army made extensive use of
filmstrip materials in World War II and proved the usefulness of this
technology in the classroom for illiterate adults. There are educational
filmstrips available from supply houses so make sure your superintendent
places funds in the budget to purchase both filmstrips and projectors as
well as the other electronic technologies discussed below.

5. Photo novels. The Army also used photo novels to make stories
starring
real people that illiterate soldiers could use to learn to read.
Teachers
can use a Kodak to take photographs and make up these types of photo
novels
for classroom use. The pupils themselves may also take photographs and
make
their own photo novels for their own and their classmate's use.

6. Tape recorders and playback machines. Some teachers are now reading
books
onto audio tapes so that their adult pupils can listen to stories before
trying to read them. Sometimes the pupil can listen and read at the same
time to build up speed in reading while comprehension is maintained by
listening to the spoken words. [NOTE: Sometimes a radio can be used in
the
classroom so that teachers and pupils can listen to an important
broadcast
and then discuss it to build knowledge of current events.]

7. Television. Cassette players are now available to let teachers play
TV
shows in the classroom. Indeed, there are now many educational
cassettes,
including those for teaching various aspects of reading, that teachers
can
use. Many times pupils enjoy these TV materials better than typical
classroom lectures or demonstrations.

8. The 'Binocular Organizer Of Knowledge" or BOOK! I once read this
amusing
name for the old technology that forms the basis for teaching reading.
Of
course, books remain the foundation technology for teaching in our
classrooms. I once read an amusing story by Isaac Asimov, the famous
writer, in which he espoused the wonders of the book: Once printed it
does
not consume any more energy, unlike audio tapes or TV cassettes. It
starts
when looked at and stops when the reader looks away. It stores speech
like
the electronic devices, but lets the reader create his or her own
internal
voice or voices. It lets readers produce their own internal images. It
can
be produced to be carried in the hip pocket and taken to the beach, on
the
train or bus, and so forth to be used without fear of breaking it or
producing any noise to bother others.

9. Finally, we can't forget those old reliable friends, paper and
pencils!
All students should get paper and pencils to be used to learn to write
their names and all the other ideas that are provided in the class by
the
teacher and other pupils.

10. Always maintain a well-lighted classroom, with good ventilation,
warm in
the winter and cool in the summer. Teachers should dress conservatively,
wear a smile and maintain a pleasant disposition. Be friendly, but
professional, with your pupils and conduct activities to bring about a
welcoming atmosphere. An occasional social activity, perhaps with
refreshments such as lemonade and cookies, can help the adults, who may
be
shy about returning to school after a long period, to overcome what
anxieties they may feel and develop a high level of class morale that
can
help all achieve well!

Resource: Asimov, I. (1974, February). The Ancient and the Ultimate.
Journal
of Reading, 17, 264-271.

Thomas G. Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education
2062 Valley View Blvd.
El Cajon, CA 92019-2059
Tel/fax: (619) 444-9133
Email: tsticht at aznet.net



Mariann Fedele
Associate Director,
NYC Regional Adult Education Network
Literacy Assistance Center
Moderator,
NIFL Technology and Literacy Discussion List
32 Broadway 10th Floor
New York, New York 10004
212-803-3325
mariannf at lacnyc.org
www.lacnyc.org