The Mobile Program: BYOD

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We often talk about building 21st Century skills with adult learners and the need for integrating technology in the classroom. What does this mean for curriculum selections? It means that in order to truly assist adult learners become self directed, the curriculum must be accessible from mobile devices.

As we look at students today, their common characteristic is that they expect anywhere, anytime access to instruction. But are our learners mobile? The answer is yes!

  • Over half of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone.
  • 66% of adults between the ages of 25 to 34 own a smartphone.
  • 44% of K-12 students have access to a smartphone.
  • The mobile phone is the single most common device people use to access the Internet worldwide.

So how do we meet this demand at a time of diversity in skills, background knowledge, and access to technology in the classroom?  A simple and cost effective strategy to help fill these gaps can be the establishment of a BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device policy.

While this concept is becoming more popular, there are steps involved in establishing an effective BYOD plan which leads to successful student outcomes.

  • A BYOD classroom enables students and teachers to access mobile devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones in the classroom.
  • Program administrators and instructors need to create acceptable usage policies so students are aware of expectations in the classroom. Teaching responsible use of mobile technology also helps build digital citizenship.
  • To be successful with BYOD, its more than allowing students to bring their devices, but it also includes selecting appropriate curriculum that is truly mobile.

Effective instruction has always included linking instructional strategies, rigorous curriculum, and technology to create a meaningful and engaging learning environment. BYOD offers teachers and programs the opportunity to lead with instructional technology.

 

GED 2014: A Game Changer?

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The face of adult education is evolving with the Common Core Standards driving intense curriculum changes and computer based testing challenging the traditional delivery methods of the GED Test. Beyond the GED Test, McGraw Hill is developing an alternative test called the TASC and Educational Testing Services is introducing the HiSet exam. There are many other exam initiatives being bounced around too so those are probably not the only names you will hear locally and nationally as we move closer to January 2014. The new testing options and CBT delivery are game changers in the field of adult education.

“On January 2, 2014, GED Testing Service will unveil a new assessment in all jurisdictions (except Canada) that ensures the GED® testing program is no longer an endpoint for adults, but a springboard for more education, training, and better-paying jobs. The new assessment will continue to provide adults the opportunity to earn a high school credential, but it goes further by measuring career- and college-readiness skills that are the focus of today’s curriculum and tomorrow’s success.” ~ from GED® Testing Service

This new series will reflect the academic modifications needed to keep the test current and will integrate the broad technological advancements and uses of technology in today’s society. As in series past, educators and testers will not only note the standard academic changes in content, but will also experience a change in the format. A computer based delivery format will be fully integrated into the GED® Test. In 2014, all testers sitting for the GED® Test will take the test on a computer at an official GED® Test center. Beyond that, the other players in the high school equivalency test arena are introducing computer-based testing but at a bit slower rate. HiSet will be doing paper/pencil in 2014 as will McGraw Hill. However,  both HiSet and McGraw Hill have plans to introduce CBT to their testing arsenal over the next few years. Computer based testing is not going away – it may be delayed for some, but it is an inevitability.

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