WIA Community Conversations Summary - Technology and Distance Learning
Technology and Distance Learning
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Technology and Distance Learning Questions
- What are creative and flexible ways to use technology and / or distance learning to expand access to adult education or help learners make progress toward their goals?
- What are the barriers? What innovative solutions have you used to address those challenges?
- What are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?
- Incorporating technology allows programs to provide better instruction to a more diverse group of students
- Allows for differentiated instruction in multi level classes
- Enables programs to expand by offering additional distance learning materials
- Pioneering BPOE (broadband over the power lines)
- Use of text-to-speech software builds confidence in those with learning disabilities
The Power of Technology to Transform Adult Learning: Expanding Access to Adult Education & Workforce Skills Through Distance Learning
- CBI (computer based instruction) requires fewer master teachers
- CBI programs like Contemporary and Plato have built in text-to-speech capabilities
- Useful Technology includes: webcams; Read/Write Gold; Dragon; built in languages; MSN live for instant discussion; Skype and videoconferencing
- Assessment online: Practice tests for GED classes are computerized
- New York State has developed a web based learning management system called e-Literacy New York which allows web based access to adult education programming through a wide range of media and other adult ed. resources.
- Technology study circles and digital workshops allow teachers to share their best practices. Online websites such as google group websites allow teachers to share best practices online.
- Web 2.0 tools like blogs, podcasts, wikis, and social networking sites are free and easy to access
- In Minnesota Learner Web is being used by tutors to add to their face-to-face tutoring time and by professional development programs to follow up a workshop with continued practice and feedback
- Developing a "program" to be loaded on a flash drive with interactive capabilities for the learners
- Instructors apprehensive about using technology
- Untrained and/or inexperienced instructors trapped in the concept that traditional reading approaches and skills is the only way to learn
- Students fears of technology
- Cost/lack of funds for training and for computer equipment
- Lack of server space
- Lack of high speed internet access
- “Digital” divide keeps low literacy people trapped in a world without technology and therefore ill prepared to enter the modern workplace
- Lack of home internet and computer access for students limits use of distance learning technology
- The National Reporting System (NRS) includes computer skill competencies for each of the six educational functioning levels, but has not approved any assessment to determine these competencies.
- Need to be able to provide assessments (like TABE) via internet
- GED still paper based, needs to be computer based and online
- CBI (Computer Based Instruction) is still considered a back-up/addition to person based instruction instead of the other way around
- Quality of the CBI is a big issue, especially in math
- Definition of direct instruction (80% required) in WIA limits ability for programs to fully utilize distance learning
- Sharing data is difficult because systems do not always talk to one another
- Nurturing direct and ongoing relationships between teachers and students using distance learning is key to the success of CBI
- Learners move in and out of programs, so technology should be portable to support their continued engagement.
- The recession has impacted innovation on several levels.
- fewer students have internet connectivity in their homes
- programs and government agencies have made drastic cutbacks that curtail their ability to invest in innovation
- Create new technology centers to work in each state to help programs come into the 21st century in the use of technology to gain and learn from information
- Seek assistance from private sector to create a cheaper and more flexible virtual literacy tool aimed specifically at low literate and ELL populations
Longitudinal Study of Adult Learning
National leadership of the Learner Web
- WIA funding policies should consider incentives for taking risks and testing innovation. Innovation needs to be resourced with research and development at the national level
- We should join the larger innovation community and take up our role as a key step in lifelong learning, and not be confined to funding through a single stream.
- Ensuring Internet connectivity and broadband capacity belong in the FCC conversation about bringing broadband to all
- Plans to integrate technology and distance learning should be included in the National Education Technology Plan being written by the Dept of Ed’s Office of Innovation and Improvement
- Stronger interagency directive built into WIA that could strengthen some of these connections between federal agencies and initiatives.
- We should invest in serious research and evaluation on effectiveness of existing and new models for blended learning in adult literacy education
- Include online adult basic skills learning accessed by web-accessible handhelds/smart phones as well as by computers and e-tablets
- Fund a national project to develop an online and blended learning professional development model
- Elevate technology literacy to the same level of priority as reading, writing, numeracy, ESOL, and adult secondary education