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.

 

True Grit

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Retention is a key element when discussing adult education. How do we keep students motivated? How do we provide students with the skills they need to persevere? The answer seems to be in ‘grit.’ “Grit is passion and perseverance for a very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. It is a mindset.”

Follow us in October as we share retention tips and strategies to help students succeed.

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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Online Curriculum Selection – Thinking It Through

Selecting a curriculum to serve the needs of your students today, tomorrow, and beyond can be a daunting task.

There really is no short cut for providing students the instruction and practice in reading. The GED® Test is a reading based test and will continue to be a reading based test with the launch of the 2014 Assessment. Students must develop the critical reading skills necessary to pass the test, and to move forward into career and college. This requires the ability to read long passages, text heavy websites, textbooks, and/or training materials. The i-Pathways Project does not provide our instruction through animations and videos. Rather, the animations and videos we create and select support the intended instruction that is text based. We have had many internal conversations about the best way to integrate multi-media into our curriculum, and with our updated content for the 2014 Test, our users will see more instructionally appropriate media used. However, that does not change our fundamental belief that our students must read. They must read complex text and interact with the materials that they have read. The videos and animation that we will intersperse into the content will support the reading material.

It is the belief of the i-Pathways education team that a curriculum that relies heavily on videos and animation for the teaching content is missing a critical instructional opportunity. A potential GED® student may find a video and animation approach easier – engaging in a video presentation of content does not require the amount of work that reading the content involves. However, one must examine longer-term goals for our students. We are here to not only prepare them for a test but also to provide students with a skill set that will result in success on a test that requires reading for approximately 8 hours and then also beyond that for a productive life beyond our classroom walls.

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