i-Pathways: An Oasis for Corrections’ Education

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by Richard Chamberlain

I have written about the i-Pathways project and its extremely successful use in corrections’ education using an Internet-connected model to provide computer-based instruction to classrooms in 33 facilities throughout the Illinois Department of Corrections. We have since expanded to a county facility in Maryland using that same model and have begun using a new delivery model called Oasis.

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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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Computer-Based Instruction: An Implemetnation Strategy

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 3.29.02 PMDo you ever wonder how to get started with computer-based instruction? Cindy Lock, the Adult Education Specialist at Illinois Valley Community College has provided a step-by-step outline of how to implement i-Pathways in the classroom. As identified by her strategic plan, student success begins with careful planning, teacher development, and familiarity with the curriculum.

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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.

 

Computer-Based Testing – No Fear of Failure Here

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In Adult Literacy Education, fear of success is often discussed. But what does that really mean? What are people really afraid of? And how can that fear impact our education, job achievement, and even health?

Fear is an emotion that occurs when a person perceives a threat. Maybe the threat is to their safety, their health, their job, or their education. And sometimes, fear is caused by new and unknown experiences. The outcome of fear is that a person automatically pulls away from whatever is causing the fear. It’s a survival mechanism. But what if never facing that fear causes a person to stagnate in their career, their health, and their education? We are immersed in a performance and results driven society that requires continued growth.

Before we can fully understand the impact of fear of failure and success, we need to determine what we are striving to reach. Are we reaching for better health, improved job skills, stronger personal or professional relationships? Each of our experiences, successful or not, bring us to the place we are right now. It is not the individual successes or failures, but rather the collective experience that points to who we are as individuals. Is it really about misplaced value in being defined as successful as opposed to experiencing the process of growth and change.

I work with diverse groups of people on a daily basis by providing instruction and guidance on a variety of topics ranging from implementing online learning, using social media, building marketing strategies, and sharing information on health and fitness.  Each week I encounter people who are afraid to learn something new. They may not recognize their hesitance as a typical survival response, but it is. I know why. I completely understand. I have fallen victim to this feeling myself on several different occasions.

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