Accessing Internet Based Instruction in the Department of Corrections

Guest Post by Richard Chamberlain, Director of the Center for the Application of Information Technologies at Western Illinois University.

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i-Pathways has been used in adult education programs now for almost 15 years. We have grown to the
point where we are serving programs and seeing positive student outcomes in states coast to coast. In addition to our work with state administrators and adult education programs, we have also begun to work in correctional education programs; work that is seeing success.

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Digital Inclusion in Adult Education

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.42.01 PMTechnology is a driving force in every aspect of our lives and access to technology and the Internet could be considered a basic human right. 21st century learning is about digital inclusion. Stephen Reder explains inclusion. “Digital inclusion is the ability of individuals
and groups to access and use information and communication technologies. Digital inclusion encompasses not only access to Internet but also the availability of hardware and software; relevant content and services; and training for the digital literacy skills required for effective use of information and communication technologies.”

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What does College and Career Readiness instruction really look like?

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.47.11 AMAdult education is undergoing major changes as programs begin to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, commonly referred to as WIOA. While attainment of a High School Equivalency Certificate, HSE, is considered an achievement, the goal is to equip students with a solid academic foundation and the soft skills necessary for college and career success. Because these are very broad ideas, many teachers wonder what this preparation look like in the classroom?

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Viral Videos and Trending Topics in the Classroom

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 2.01.49 PMA wildlife photographer puts a camera on a remote control car, takes stunning images, and his video goes viral. A man hunts a lion and the world erupts in an online conversation using the hashtag #cecilthelion.

But do videos and hashtags have a place in the adult education classroom?

 

Viral videos are videos that are the ‘talk of the town’. They receive attention on all the social media sites such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Tumblr. Some even make it to major news outlets. Through watching these videos, millions of people have a shared experience with a common talking point.

In the classroom, using videos that have gone viral can help adult learners make connections with difficult concepts. For example, consider the video Clouds by Zach Sobiech that has been viewed 11,965,743 times.Student’s can explore poetry and making inferences.

Well I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge

The benefits of using viral videos in the classroom includes using media that is familiar and is attention grabbing while introducing or reinforcing important instructional topics. Or, they can just be fun and used as an icebreaker in the classroom.

Moving beyond videos, what role do hashtags play in the learning experience? The power of social media to give students a voice has never been stronger. Viral hashtags introduce students to different experiences or affirm all to familiar experiences. Use these powerful conversations to discuss current events.Think about the following hashtags:

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#Bringbackourgirls, #50dollarsnot50shades and #ifIdieinpolicecustody are examples of the advocacy that is happening online. Giving students a voice is perhaps one of the most powerful outcomes in adult literacy education.

There is definitely room for viral videos and trending topics in the classroom. How would you use them?

Get the High School Equivelancy Certificate! A high Level Action Plan

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 1.46.49 PMby Guest blooger Gina Marie De rosier-Cook, Joliet Junior College

The problem: Since the implementation of the new test we had seen a significant decrease in the number of students taking any part of the test. We thought the reasons students were not taking the tests were fear of the computerized test, not having a credit card to pay, lack of computer access in the home, the content was much harder than the previous test, limited availability (there wasn’t any night or weekend testing times in our area) and lack of computer skills. We polled a large sample of students asking why they were not taking the test and the following top three reason emerged:

  • fear of harder content,
  • fear that the test was computerized,
  • and fear of the unknown.

Ultimately they were just very scared to go and take the test. We needed to shake off the “new test fear”. Word travels fast in the community and our students had a preconceived notion that the test was ridiculously hard and no one would pass. I partly blame the lingo of the close out campaign because it was stated over and over “Test now! The next one will be harder”.

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