Looking Back at 2016

calendar

Before leaping into 2017 and exploring even more ways to use technology in education, let’s look back at the topics we explored in 2016.

Because so many of you have commented that video, and YouTube in particular, is one of your favorite uses of technology in the classroom, we devoted a whole series of posts on the topic exploring it from different angles. Other posts covered ideas for using online tools such as Google Docs, Facebook, and Padlet while still more posts explored ideas that could be implemented via a number of different online tools, such as website or resume making. Finally, a fourth group of posts looked at research or issues affecting the use of technology in education. In case you missed any of them the first time around, browse through the list below and find the topics that interest you!

thank youI’d like to take this opportunity as well to extend a special thank you to all the writers who contributed to Tech Tips for Teachers in 2016. Our field grows stronger from your hard work and your willingness to take the time to share your efforts and ideas. We hope to hear more from you in 2017!

If you haven’t contributed to the blog yet, but would like to, please contact me at lpeterson@worlded.org.

2016 Tech Tips for Teachers Posts

Using Video

Using Google

Other online tools

Issues and Considerations

Which topics spoke to you in 2016? And what do you look forward to exploring in 2017? Leave us your thoughts in the comments!

~ Leah Peterson, Assistant Director, EdTech Center

Mobilizing Adult Education

By Paul Rogers

two people textingThe use of mobile devices in adult education is an important addition to the tools used by students and teachers alike. With a mobile device, especially a smartphone, at any time any student can access lessons on the Internet, through Google, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. We have come a long way since Bill Gates began to champion the use of cell phones 8 years ago.

  • Adults who work and have families can more easily attend and participate in classes, especially distance learning classes.
  • To begin with, teachers at least can use smartphones to keep students notified, to answer questions and to send assignments.
  • The free smartphone app, WhatsApp, has grown tremendously in popularity and now teachers can also create WhatsApp study groups for each class, using it to post sites, tests, audios and videos, and teacher-designed lessons.
  • In addition, teachers can create free or nearly free class websites for the students – Wikispaces for teachers and WIX are two such sites which are accessible via WhatsApp.
  • Teachers can develop a YouTube account for their own video-lessons and utilize thousands of free lessons on YouTube posted by other teachers – accessible via smartphones.
  • Facebook allows anyone to create membership groups, which a teacher can develop to include lessons, notices, etc.

A program designed around the use of technology in general and mobile devices in particular could become very popular and more interesting to students, allowing for an increase in enrollment and a lower “drop-out” rate. And, in particular, students who have difficulty enrolling in courses due to work and family obligations would have an opportunity to continue their education in distance learning programs set up to meet their needs.

Paul Rogers has been an ESL teacher for over 25 years and developed a bilingual and phonetic course which became the basis of PUMAROSA.COM, a free website for Spanish speaking adults, beginning in 2004. Pumarosa has been available for use on smartphones for about one year and Paul has been using and promoting the site as part of his program, working as an independent teacher, unaffiliated with any school or non-profit agency.

Panel Summary: Leveraging Trends in Blended, Distance, and Mobile Learning

On November 14, 2016 The EdTech Center at World Education hosted a panel at NCTN’s Effective Transitions in Adult Education annual conference, which is dedicated to strengthening adult education’s capacity to ensure that adult learners have access to and success in the college, occupational training and career they need to earn a family-sustaining wage. The panel, entitled Leveraging Trends in Blended, Distance, and Mobile Learning (listen to the audio recording), was moderated by IDEAL Consortium Director, Jen Vanek and included the following panelists:

  • Simona Simpson, Director of Multiple Pathways for the Providence Public School District in Rhode Island;
  • Dr. David J. Rosen, President of Newsome Associates in Jamaica Plain, MA, editor of the COABE Journal Web Scan column, moderator of the LINCS Technology and Learning community of practice, and author of Blended Learning for the Adult Education Classroom;
  • Christopher Bourret, Lead Teacher/Program Coordinator with Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI) and Tech Coach for the RI Adult Education Professional Development Center; and
  • Joe Stubblefield, Director of Educational Technology for Arizona Department of Education, Adult Education Services.

panelists

Jen Vanek opened the discussion by introducing the tension between the relatively small fraction of adults being served by adult education programs and the enormous need for adults to improve their technology skills for entry to postsecondary education and training or to enter the workforce. She invited panelists to consider how distance, blended, or mobile learning has been leveraged in their current roles. For panelist Chris Bourret, it was the use of mobile learning in his program that stood out. In his experience, most students have mobile phones, even if they don’t know how to benefit from them, and there are many ways to leverage them in the classroom – from recording or filming themselves, taking quizzes, or simply downloading things to read. In Chris’ It changes how you teach. words: “It changes how you teach and it changes how they look at learning.” The changing role of the teacher and personalized learning was a theme amongst the other panelists as well. Joe Stubblefield echoed the perspective saying that teachers needed to learn how to present themselves more as facilitators or guides and give more ownership of learning back to the students. David Rosen added that the key is “comfort, competence, and confidence in using tech for learning” for learners and teachers to best be able to problem-solve using technology. And Simona Simpson added the importance of personalized learning and instruction for equality, accessibility and differentiation.

A theme in the panel was how to support distance learners. David Rosen introduced Peer-2-Peer University (P2PU), that gives learners a way to support each other in person while taking an online course. Chris Bourret added that in Rhode Island “Learning Lounges” have been set up for students who are taking online courses to be able to work together. Joe suggested using a Learning Management System (LMS) to support distance learners as well as taking advantage of online resources such as those listed below. Panelists discussed the need for increased prep time for teachers to keep up with demand for online materials as students get increasingly engaged.

Resources to connect with distance learners:

A significant portion of the panel discussion covered blended learning. Several speakers commented on the importance of connecting online and face-to-face instruction. Joe Stubblefield described efforts to accomplish this in AZ by training over 500 instructors to roll out statewide blended learning to 13,000 students. Topics covered included: how to use the LMS, possible support resources, and how to align both online and face-to-face learning with each other and with CCR Standards. Simona Simpson cautioned attendees to ensure acceptable use policies are in place if using devices in the classroom, and that expectations and consequences are clear. Finally, Joe Stubblefield suggested experimenting with and finding the right blended learning model (e.g., station rotation, flipped classroom, lab rotation, etc.) for different classroom contexts.

Another topic discussed was how to work around the issues created by lack of access to devices or high-speed internet. Libraries were listed as one resource for loaned hot spots and even devices, but teachers may need to get creative and make use of whatever’s available including: student phones, setting up classroom access, everyoneon.org/adulted, or setting up collaborations with local businesses to use their WIFI. To learn more about issues around digital access, National Digital Inclusion Allowance (NDIA) is an organization you may be interested in following.

Professional development resources:

Listen to the audio recording of Leveraging Trends in Blended, Distance, and Mobile Learning, share a highlight or leave us your thoughts in the comments.
~ Leah Peterson, Assistant Director, EdTech Center

Tech Tips for Teachers has Moved!

moving boxesAfter four years comfortably located on Weebly.com, Tech Tips for Teachers has moved over to the EdTech Center Website where we plan to continue to grow with more of the hands-on ideas for integrating technology into adult education that you’re accustomed to, updates from the field, and best practices. Past posts will continue to be available at the old site. To make sure that you are notified when there are new posts, add yourself to our mailing list: