Technology in Adult Literacy Webinar

As technology becomes increasingly more advanced, educators often wonder what the best ways to use these advances to their advantage. In an effort to get adult literacy educators to implement new technology in their teaching, LINCS region 1 supported the Improving Adult Literacy: Using Technology to Support Learning and Motivation webinar.
This webinar brought together a panel of practitioners throughout the LINCS network to engage in discussion on how to use technology to support learning and motivation. Themes of the discussion revolved around access to technology, use of apps and tools in and out of the classroom, and production of learning materials by both students and teachers.

Along with a high level of participation from the attendees, the discussion also focused on several promising apps which could be effectively used in adult literacy and education. Below is a list of resources suggested by the webinar’s panelists:

NCTN’s Words2Learn Project: [IPhone, Android] By taking advantage of infusing mobile phones with learning, this app has various tiers to climb while students improve their vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Lensoo Create App: [Android] This app combines voice recording with a virtual white board. Practitioners can record lessons and then share them with their students to review while outside of the classroom.

Google+ and Google Hangouts: [Online, IPhone, Android] The Google social network Google+ is arguably one of the best platforms to work with students. The “Circles” feature allows a person to share information with specific people and “Hangouts” allow for video chatting up to 9 people at once. Google Drive is also a great place to share learning materials virtually as well as help edit a student’s work via using Drive through the Hangout feature.

Show Me App: [IPad] This app, only available for IPad, allows teachers to create and upload lessons for their students to watch and review. Teachers can also review lessons already uploaded onto the app and use those as well.

Remind101.com: [Mass texting service, Iphone, Android] This app can be downloaded by a teacher to use as a free, one-way mass texting service. As the title suggests, the app is great to send quick messages to your students’ phones to remind students what to bring to class tomorrow or what the homework is, etc. The free service has limited use.

Other shared resources include a list of various sites, like TV411, Khan Academy, USALearns, and TeacherTube.

Access the recording here to learn more.

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Healthy Eating Just Got Easier

Imagine going to the grocery store with peanut butter on your list.  When you get there, you realize there are over 20 different types of peanut butter – smooth, chunky, light, reduced fat, natural, organic, etc.  Then, try to compare the nutrition labels and ingredients.  This is a difficult task!  We know healthy eating is important.  However, too many choices, difficult words, and limited time make such selection frustrating.  Well, it has just gotten a bit simpler – all you need is a smart phone.  Here are some phone apps (most are free) for you and your students that make healthy eating as easy as pie.

FOODUCATE (free – iTunes or Android)

Fooducate is an app that allows you to scan a food item’s UPC barcode – it then displays a grade (A through F) for the nutrient density of that food – the more dense with nutrients, the better it is for you.  The grading takes into account such things as high salt content, high fructose corn syrup, additives, trans fats, and artificial colors and flavors.  Each food item is graded, calories and notes are provided, and healthier food choices are listed as alternatives.

WATER WORKS ($1.99 – iTunes)

The Water Works app tracks how much water you drink in a day, and then charts your progress over time.  The more water you drink, the more water fills the on-screen jug until you reach your goal.  Especially in these scorching summer months, it is important to stay hydrated – this app will help you do just that.

 

5-A-DAY (free – iTunes)

Similar to the water app, this app records the number of fruits and vegetables you eat each day.  Fun sounds and screen rewards encourage you to eat more produce, a great way to get nutrients and fiber.  The app also tracks and charts your progress for the day, week, and month so you can see your improvement.

 

LOCAVORE ($2.99 – iTunes)

Seasonal produce is often the most affordable and best tasting.  Plug your state into this app, and it will list the foods that are at their peak freshness.  It also maps the locations of nearby farmer’s markets, so you can buy locally too.

 

NUTRITION TIPS (free – iTunes and Google Play [Android])

The Nutrition Tips app is just that – over 500 useful tips to help you remember, understand, and learn good nutrition.

 

RESTAURANT NUTRITION (free – iTunes and Android)

At home, you know exactly what you put into a dish when cooking.  When you go out to eat, however, it is hard to know exactly what you are eating and whether it is as healthy as you might think.  This app provides the calorie, carbs, protein, and fat content for more than 60,000 menu items in over 250 restaurants, helping you find the nutrition fit that works for you.

GOOD FOOD NEAR YOU (free – iTunes)

If you’re hungry and can’t decide where to go for dinner, this app is perfect.  Type in your location, and this app will list healthy options at nearby restaurants – based on fat content or based on the distance from your location.

Now there are no excuses – healthy eating is just a click away.  Enjoy – bon appétit!

Phishing scams

A few years ago I got an email from a Nigerian business man saying that I had a great great uncle who was doing business with him and I needed to collect his inheritance of close to $5 million. All I needed to do was provide my checking account information. Most of us recognize that this is a scam, but on the other hand we probably think $5 million isn’t too shabby of a deal. The Nigerian letter scam is pretty well known ( it’s apparently the country’s 3rd largest export and scams 100s of people a day), but there are several other scams that get people on a daily basis. These are called phishing scams. So not only does a lesson on phishing and email scams play into a financial literacy lesson, but also a digital literacy for understanding trustworthy websites.

Here is some information on what you need to know about phishing scams from the National Consumers League:

How does phishing work?

  • The most common form of phishing is by email. Pretending to be from a legitimate retailer, bank, or government agency, the sender asks to “confirm” your personal information for some made-up reason. Typically, the email contains a link to a phony Web site that looks just like the real thing. You enter your personal information on the Web site — and send it into the hands of identity thieves.
  • Phishers also use the phone to hunt for victims’ personal information. Some pose as employers and call or send emails to people who have listed themselves on job search Web sites.

How can you tell if the person or company who contacted you is legitimate or a con artist?

  • Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for your personal information. It’s a warning sign that something is “phishy.” Legitimate companies and agencies don’t operate that way.
  • Don’t click on links in emails that ask you to provide personal information. To check whether an email or call is really from the company or agency, contact it directly by phone or online. If you don’t have the telephone number, get it from the phone book, directory assistance, or the Internet. Use a search engine to find the official Web site;
  • Job seekers should also verify the person’s identity before providing personal information to someone claiming to be a prospective employer.

What should you do if you got hooked by a phishing scam?

  • If you provided account numbers, PINs, or passwords to a phisher, notify the companies with which you have those accounts immediately.
  • Put a “fraud alert” on your files at the credit reporting bureaus. For information about how to do that and other advice for ID theft victims, contact the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft  Clearinghouse at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or toll-free, 877-438-4338. The TDD number is 202-326-2502.
  • Even if you didn’t get hooked, you should report phishing to company or agency that was being impersonated and to the National Consumers League’s National Fraud Information Center, www.fraud.org or toll-free 800-876-7060. The TDD number is 202-835-0778.

For more information on scams or fraud related to literacy, check out our website! 

Keyboarding practice

Part of digital literacy is typing. Typing and keyboarding will get better over time, but it doesn’t hurt to have extra practice. Many people already have the desire to be better at typing, but giving fun incentives will speed up the process. I didn’t do too well at keyboarding in school, but as soon as instant messaging became big, I became a master.

Here are some fun FREE websites for your students to practice their typing skills.

FreeTypingGame.net

Power Typing (note: QWERTY is for traditional keyboard- check out the top left row)

Sense-Lang

Free Online Typing Games

AlfaTyping

Suzanne Ensmann: FATDEC and Face to Face Learning

In the beginning… After we all got over the fear of what students might do with the internet if we allowed them to access it, face-to-face (f2f) learning incorporated technology and elements of online learning.

Then we said “run with it” and some literally did… Never to be seen again.

Now in the era of persistence to complete and transition students, it’s time to go back to the basics. Research reflects that time-after-time success is directly correlated with the relationships we make.  So we call the students right?  And, we call.  And, we call.

Fast forward to this era.

How many friends do you have at work?
How many friends do you have on Facebook?

How often do you have time for meaningful conversations in the workplace?
Do you even have time to wait for an answer to the standard: “How are you?” greeting?
Think your colleagues really take the time to answer this “greeting” or do you get a “Fine, thanks.  How about you?” standard reply?

Do they take the time to tell you their dog died; they just found a deal on a car; their long lost aunt just flew into town; or they are just really sad today?

I can tell you our students are having these meaningful conversations.  They’re not long.  They’re succinct and to the point.  But, they’re of meaning.  And, their network of friends is vast!  Employment, community, friendships… relationships are happening via social media sites!  Why should your virtual classroom be any different?

Did you know Skype and Facebook had a baby?  A new f2f experience to enhance relationships was born!  Is this too scary of an endeavor to take on at your school?

Learn how to keep it simple and see how you can use FB to put education “in the face” of your students 24/7, form relationships with them, and just maybe flip education as we know it.

Stop centering student learning on classroom  and curriculum  infrastructure.  Offer the exoskeleton to your students and see how they take off with meaningful learning!  

But, don’t go it alone!  Let’s place this experiential learning, jumping on board with relationships and f2f student contact in the center of our e-learning education together!

To learn more, come join in this synergy of collaboration at the next FLC conference session entitled “Florida Adult & Technical Distance Education Consortium: Making F2F Classes for Online Students a Reality” at 10am on Friday, May 11th,!

Bringing the Best of Classroom-Based Learning to Online Learning (and Vice Versa)!

Could you imagine an adult education classroom where students are just given worksheet after worksheet or book after book to read on their own?  How dry and boring would that be, and, more importantly, how quickly would those classrooms be empty because students leave due to sheer boredom?  Now imagine the exact opposite of that first situation: a fun, interactive, visually-stimulating classroom where all three types of learning styles are accommodated and everyone’s engaged.  Doesn’t that sound a million (or more) times better?

What sometimes is assumed (and we all know what happens when you assume) is that an online class can’t or won’t have the same components as a successful, engaging, and fun face-to-face class.  But yet, nothing can be further from the truth!  By incorporating varying technologies, you can absolutely do virtually all of the amazing things online that you do in a classroom!  Want to have small group activities so you can target certain learners needing certain skills?  Yup – you can do that online!  Want to have large group instruction so you can get the most “bang for the buck?”  Yes – you can do that too!  What about student study groups or peer tutoring sessions?  Oh, that can certainly be accomplished!  How about having guest speakers talk to your students about how the things they’re studying in class pertain to “real life” beyond the GED test?  That’s easy to accomplish!  And the list goes on & on…experiments or lab studies, field trips, games, videos, etc!

So what does it all boil down to when everything is said & done?  Innovation, technology, and the willingness to try something new and different would be my answer.

Do you want to know more?  Well, I can’t give away all of my “secrets” now, but if you come to the FLC conference and attend the session called “Florida Adult & Technical Distance Education Consortium: Making F2F Classes for Online Students a Reality” at 10am on Friday, May 11th, you’ll learn more!

Top Stories in Literacy: April 16

Top Stories in LiteracyTeach Your Children Well-April is Financial Literacy Month
M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, is using Financial Literacy Month to provide consumers a fiscal education lesson each week. This week’s tip is how your children can learn while they earn.

Young man with autism appeals to Obama for college opportunity
Billy Perogi is 20, autistic, and about to graduate from high school in Naples, Fla. He wants to go to college more than anything. Every school he and his mother have contacted has told them there is no program available for his specialized needs.

Indian River Adult education offering home health aide program
Indian River State College is offering career workshops on becoming a home health aide, security officer, phlebotomist, a new practical nursing program and excel classes for adult education students.

Job-seeking Collier County adults are back in class to catch up to computer skills
Fort Myers residents are among a growing number of both employed and unemployed adults seeking to better their lives and improve their current and future job marketability by going back to school for refresher courses on fundamental computer skills most of today’s teenagers take for granted.

Adult Learning Not Increasing With Internet Availability
Adults who are out of school are not necessarily active learners, for a number of reasons. With the growth of the Internet though, many hope that adults may use the technology available to them for some informal learning.

Top Literacy Stories: January 16

Jacksonville mayor to announce week-long financial literacy program
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown today will announce a week-long series of free financial literacy events in May to improve the financial management skills of the community.

The Charter Schools Agenda in Tallahasee
One of the bills, SB 1162, creates “family charter academies,” a new class of publicly funded, privately run schools, that would allow parents to attend school with their children. Bringing an integrated approach to adult education, the schools would “assist adults and parents in setting and obtaining goals for helping their children with homework, obtaining a job, enrolling in vocational training, or earning a GED certificate.”

Audits on heart and joint procedures chill Florida doctors
A story from this week’s Tampa Bay Times notes that Medicare audits in FL are on hold. Pre-payment review of high-dollar procedures that tend to be over-done in Florida hospitals created an outcry from doctors

How Nonprofits Make Data Fun and Informative
Whether they are bringing attention to an important cause, explaining their internal operations, or demonstrating the impact of their work, nonprofits can use infographics to present data in a way that is far more engaging and efficient than what could be conveyed with words alone.

Gary Udouj: Teaching Technology for Career Success

The Fort Smith Adult Education Center is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a mid-sized manufacturing city in western Arkansas.  As layoffs continue to affect our region, more adults are coming to our center not only to get a GED credential or review basic academic skills, but to learn how to find a new job using technology.  Last year our program served almost 3000 adults, and only 915 were employed. Many of the adults we serve had worked in manufacturing for 20+ years before being laid off. These adults have discovered that finding a new job now requires them to use computers to both seek out and apply for jobs.

In order to meet this demand, our center started offering two new classes: Digital Literacy and Technology for Career Success.  Our Digital Literacy class teaches adults computer basics, from turning on a computer to managing folders to accessing the internet and creating email accounts.  Many of our adult students do not own computers at home, and have found this introductory course to be essential. The course is taught over 12 hours, meeting twice a week for four weeks.

Once they have the basics, adults can then take our 12 hour Technology for Career Success. This course helps the students create resumes, write cover letters, fill out online job applications, search of jobs, and prepare for job interviews.  When taught in conjunction with our Career Readiness Certificate course and WAGE certificate courses, students leave us with the resumes, soft skills, technology, academic and interview skills needed to find a better job or move on to post-secondary training. Teachers work together to bring in Human Resource professionals from area businesses to conduct mock interviews, review resumes, and give the students feedback.

For more information about Career Readiness CertificateWAGE Certificate, or Technology for Career Success, please visit our website.

Top Stories in Literacy November 28

The Latino Digital Divide
Latinos are widely recognized as leading technology adopters – from mobile phones and devices to tablet computers, Latinos lead Americans in purchasing, and using this technology for some reasons we understand, and others we are just beginning to. Despite these facts, the digital divide yet to be addressed is in two areas: internet at home and digital literacy.

Microsoft launches “Elevate America,” a program to help veterans attain job skills
Microsoft, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor in a liaison role, and local workforce areas, is proud to offer U.S. military veterans and their eligible spouses, vouchers for no-cost IT skills training and certification designed to help build the technology skills employers are looking for. Could you use this in your program?

Building Financial Literacy through benefits research and education
A new series of research-based educational materials from Unum offers personal stories, compelling statistics and clear explanations of the role employee benefits play in protecting the financial foundations of individuals, families, businesses and the government.

Fewer Patients Researching Personal Health Issues
In 2007, 56% of American adults reported seeking health information from sources other than their physician, including the Internet, books, magazines, and newspapers; friends or relatives; and radio or television. This number has since declined. Where are people getting this information? Where else can this be addressed?

Degrees of Literacy: It’s not just about reading and writing anymore
While some people have graduated high school with functional reading skills, this is not enough to meet the demands of American society. Financial, health, digital, and interpersonal literacy are all large components to be truly functional.