[Technology 1235] Re: Homeland Security question

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Matthias Sturm msturm at alphaplus.ca
Mon Aug 27 15:32:03 EDT 2007

Hi John and Debra

In Canada, we had the same questions coming into providing more online options for ABE learners starting in 2003. Over the course of the three years of the pilot project, we found out that the demographic of learners targeted and reached was quite different to the one of regular classroom-based or one-on-one literacy programs as the participating programs offered learners more flexibility in their learning options. >From a funding perspective that meant that the amount of learners to be serviced in the future for the same amount of funding is larger and more cost-effective options are needed, which in some cases online option can provide. Overall I think that by providing more flexibility to learners the quality of services has improved, also because it's more reflective of the demands in today's society re the use of learning technology. And it has helped to reach learners that were marginalized by not being able to attend regular programs in the past.

Matthias Sturm


From: technology-bounces at nifl.gov on behalf of John Fleischman
Sent: Sat 25-Aug-07 9:21 PM
To: The Technology and Literacy Discussion List
Subject: [Technology 1233] Re: Homeland Security question

By most estimates, we're reaching less than 10% of the adults that need to improve their literacy skills. With the rapid advancement of the Internet and broadband connectivity, it may be possible to reach some of those adults who are unwilling or unable to participate in face-to-face adult education programs provided by public and not-for-profit entities. Yes, the potential students' lack of computers and Internet access may be problem, but it may not be as great as you think. Our initial research is showing significant shifts in both access to computers and connectivity.

Is there reason to think that adults in need of literacy and English language services would engage in independent learning? The Longitudinal Study of Adult Learners (LSAL) provides strong evidence that as many as 65% of adults needing additional services engage in some form of self-study (Reder & Strawn, 2006). While the LSAL does not specifically address Web-based resources, a portal with a variety of content and appropriate support structures should appeal to adults who have easy access to the Web and are comfortable interacting with Web-based materials.

A comprehensive online resource could also serve as mechanism to increase intensity of instruction in conjunction with traditional delivery systems. If designed appropriately, the online resource could serve independent learners as well as those "connected" to a tutor or teacher. The plan is to have this new resource as an addition, not a replacement for our current system.

John Fleischman

The Technology and Literacy Discussion List <technology at nifl.gov> on Saturday, August 25, 2007 at 1:05 PM -0800 wrote:
Everytime I hear about this issue, I wonder if the existence of these free electronic resources will lead to huge reductions in government funding for the face-to-face adult education programs currently provided by the states. With that possibility in mind, I'm also concerned about potential students' lack of computers and Internet access, not to mention the relative benefits of learning exclusively online versus learning in a classroom with colleagues and teachers. But if this new resource will be an addition to our current resources rather than a replacement for all or part of what we're doing now, I'm all for it.
Debra Morris Smith

On 8/24/07, John Fleischman <jfleischman at scoe.net <mailto:jfleischman at scoe.net> > wrote:

Greetings, Larry and Barry. And greetings to NIFL Tech Listserv subscribers. John Fleischman here at the Sacramento County Office of Education.

I believe I can shed some light on the August 10th announcement by President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. See: < http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/08/20070810.html <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/08/20070810.html> >.

The announcement by the Administration focused on improving border security and immigration. The last item on the list, number 26, indicates, "The Department of Education will launch a free, Web-based portal to help immigrants learn English, and expand this model over time.

The development of this portal is an outgrowth of a currently funded Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) project entitled Strengthening Programs Through Technology (AKA AdultEd Online), a partnership between my office and the University of Michigan. The contract was awarded to develop a number of technology resources for adult education including exploring the feasibility of building a Web portal where adult learners could find instructional materials on subjects ranging from learning English to preparing for the G.E.D. To better understand the design features a portal should have, a prototype is being built first. The prototype will contain learning materials in three areas: a beginning-level English course, a mid-level English course, and activities for improving reading, writing and life skills.

The prototype should be complete on January 31, 2008. It will then undergo several months of field testing with learners. By September a refined portal should be ready to launch for use by adults anywhere in the United States. The portal begins with a focus on learning English, but the portal is expected to expand over time, with the addition of materials in areas such as civics and basic skills.

Over the next couple of months we'll be sharing more information about the portal. We also look forward to getting stakeholder input as we conduct field testing during Winter-Spring of 2008.

John Fleischman
jfleischman at scoe.net <mailto:jfleischman at scoe.net>

Jerome Johnston
jerej at umich.edu <mailto:jerej at umich.edu>

The Technology and Literacy Discussion List < technology at nifl.gov <mailto:technology at nifl.gov> > on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 1:35 AM -0800 wrote:
On Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security announced 25 new measures to address "border security" and "immigration challenges." I would actually characterize many, if not most, of them as anti-immigrant.

There is one, however, that teachers of English Language Learners, and their students, might find helpful. It is, not surprisingly, the last one on the list.

The announcement stated that the "Department of Education will launch a free, web-based portal to help immigrants learn English..."

The announcement gives absolutely no other details about when it will begin, what might be included, or who in the Department of Education is actually doing it.

Does anyone know more?

Larry Ferlazzo
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/ <http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/>

The Technology and Literacy Discussion List <technology at nifl.gov <mailto:technology at nifl.gov> > on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 5:28 AM -0800 wrote:
I will have to learn more about the site, but I think many students will view the help skeptically because of past experience. After September 11th, NYC asked all immigrants (legal and illegal) to register to help the city better understand its friends vs.. enemies. Many immigrants did so, and those illegals (Mexican, Irish, Danish, Congolese, etc.) were shipped off over the next couple of years.

So, what am I getting at? Some classes build progressively and want individual student identification so that a student can leave mid-class and pick-up where they left off. Could this individual ID hurt the student's status: I am thinking that even if the DHS site does not ask for personal information it can be gotten other ways, like using a " jon.smith at yahoo.com <mailto:jon.smith at yahoo.com> " address to track to the user's more personal information of locale.

Barry Burkett,
Frankfort, KY

The Technology and Literacy Discussion List <technology at nifl.gov <mailto:technology at nifl.gov> > on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 4:48 PM -0800 wrote:
Barry makes an excellent point. I think the public statement said it would be run through the Education Department, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't share information.

I still haven't found anyone who knows anything more about it than what was said on the release.

Larry Ferlazzo

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