[Technology 1066] Re: findings on evidence of improvement of literacy and language skills through technology

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David J. Rosen djrosen at comcast.net
Fri Jun 15 09:58:07 EDT 2007

Hello Heidi, and others,

I have some informal findings from the evaluation of a blended
learning reading and writing skills pilot program that may be of
interest. In this case, both the face-to-face and online instruction
were essential from the beginning. Neither was supplementary. The f2f
instruction was one hour a week, and the online instruction was 3-5
hours/week. The course was 15 weeks.

The context was workplace literacy, intermediate level reading and
writing skills for early childhood education (ECE) teachers who were
motivated to improve their basic skills to get into and succeed in
community college ECE courses leading to ECE certification. The
teachers were all experienced in ECE, motivated to prepare for the
college courses, native speakers of languages other than English, and
completely inexperienced in using computers. They had access to the
Internet from a computer (or in one of the ECE centers, several
computers) at work. Some used computers in their neighborhood
library. In the third year pilot program many participants also had
Internet access at home, but hadn't used it themselves, when they
enrolled in the program. The reading and writing skills curriculum,
approximnately 60 hours of online instruction, was entirely
contextualized in ECE standards-based practice.

The basic computer skills and many of the lessons involving writing
were taught f2f. The Web-based instruction was introduced f2f but was
soon used by participants primarily independently, online. The
students saved their evidence of learning on a disk and in hard copy.

Although the purpose of the training was improvement of reading and
writing skills, in the evaluation many of the participants said they
also significantly increased their knowledge of how to use a computer
and the Internet. Many said they also learned about good practices
in ECE or confirmed their existing good practices. Several, who had
Internet access at home, said they were now carving out time (and
demanding access from their spouses and children) to use the Web.

The online curriculum for this program is available free at http://
learningladder.org) and is being used in several places around the
country. There is an ECE center-based version and a family child care
version. I hope that someone will do an evaluation of one of the
programs using it to determine what the learning gains and outcomes
are (enrollment and completion in the ECE community college courses,
for example) .

David J. Rosen
djrosen at comcast.,net

On Jun 13, 2007, at 9:32 AM, Silver-Pacuilla, Heidi wrote:

> Hello everyone - here is another chunk of my data to share for member

> checking with you. Does this resonate? Can you share an example that

> confirms or challenges these findings?


> **My key question to the group is: What has been your experience with

> the lowest skilled students?


> Thanks! Heidi Silver-Pacuilla


> ++++++++++++


> To recap, I am posting preliminary findings (and not my full

> methodology

> or bibliography since both are currently incomplete) from the

> published

> and posted literature on adult online literacy and language

> learning. I

> hope you find them validating or provocative (or both!) and can

> join in

> a lively discussion of what's actually happening in your school or

> program.


> This is the second of the three main areas I am sharing with the

> listserv: program implementation issues, evidence of improvements of

> basic literacy and language skills, and student skills and

> dispositions

> associated with successful technology-based and online learning.


> Here are some key findings from the review of studies reporting

> evidence

> of improvement of basic literacy and language skills:


> There is growing evidence that adult learners' work with computer-

> based

> or online materials that are supplemental to adult literacy and ESOL

> classes contributes positively to their overall literacy and language

> acquisition plus complementary learning skills. The evaluations

> reviewed were of supplemental materials available to students with

> some

> type of program support (on-site trained teacher or support person,

> support person available online, tech support available through the

> program, and/or automated feedback system in the program) and varying

> degrees of integration with the regular class curriculum.


> Importantly, the supplemental materials and online interfaces were

> either uniquely developed or chosen for adult literacy and language

> learners. Programs have documented successful use of these materials

> with all levels of students, including those with the lowest levels of

> literacy and English proficiency.


> Quantifying specific academic skills achievement is difficult to

> pinpoint, but several significant studies report learning gains

> attributable to the supplemental use of technology in instruction and

> practice. It must be acknowledged that there is still no "body of

> evidence" with repeated and comparable studies that can definitely

> answer questions about particular interventions used with particular

> literacy or language levels with predictable results.


> How do these findings correlate with your experience and knowledge?

> ----------------------------------------------------

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David J. Rosen
djrosen at comcast.net