Friday, January 2, 2015

National Institute for Literacy: Emerging Technologies in Adult Literacy and Language Education

Emerging Technologies in Adult Literacy and Language Education
This paper describes the potential contribution of emerging technologies to adult literacy and language education and the opportunities and challenges involved in incorporating these technologies into adult education programs. Various emerging technologies (those arising or undergoing fundamental transformation in the last decade) are described, ranging from audio and video production to games, wikis and blogs, to mobile devices, cell phones and open-source software. Relevant research is reviewed, and the costs, difficulties and advantages of deploying various technological approaches in adult education are discussed. Although current research is insufficient to urge wholesale adoption of the technologies described, many - especially low-cost mobile devices - warrant further investigation as potentially valuable tools for adult educators and learners

 My Summary of the main / interesting points of the article:

Five Categories of Technology Tools described in the article:

·        Multimodal communication tools
·        Collaborative writing tools
·        Productivity tools
·        Online networking tools
·        1:1 and mobile learning tools
Some interesting excerpts (see article for original sources):
·       Although information and communication technologies have become an integral part of life in the United States, they have not yet been adequately integrated into adult language and literacy programs. This raises concerns because of the potential value of technology for enhancing learning and because of the vital role of technological proficiency as a gatekeeper for occupational success and full civic participation.
·       Fully 74 percent of people in the United States use the Internet at home or work today, including 87 percent of those ages 18-29, compared with fewer than one-third of Americans 10 years ago.
·       Only 26.8 percent of households with a family income under $15,000 have Internet access, compared with 91.4 percent of households with income over $75,000 (National Telecommunication and Information Administration, 2008). Only 24.4 percent of households headed by someone without a high school diploma have Internet access at home, compared with 84.1 percent of households headed by someone with at least a bachelor's degree.
·       Only 44.9 percent of blacks and 43.4 percent of Hispanics have Internet access at home, compared with 67.0 percent of whites.
·       …Those with limited literacy and English-language ability have much lower levels of Internet access = technology gap between English-speaking whites and non-English-speaking Hispanics is "on par with the Digital Divide between the United States and many developing countries"
·       These same groups desperately need access to technology and the skills required to use it:
o   Well-paid jobs involving manual labor are disappearing, and even entry- level jobs increasingly require technology skills
o   Information from employers, government bureaus, social service organizations and community groups is increasingly found online, and opportunities for further information and support are also available through online communication and networking.
o   Parents need to understand and use computers and the Internet to monitor and guide their children's online activities, and immigrants benefit from online communication with relatives and friends in their home countries.
o    Knowledge economy and information society: those who cannot access and use information and communication technologies face marginalization
Emerging Techonologies in the Five Areas:
1.     Multimodal Communication
·       Audio Applications: digital audio files (i.e., podcasts) promote academic listening skills, facilitate preparation for listening tests, provide grammar tips or cover business English topics; offer learners the opportunity to record their own speech in multiple genres (reports, simulated broadcasts, oral presentations, etc.) to share with classmates or others or to review themselves later to reflect on their language-learning progress; cross-class exchanges
·       Audiovisual Applications: student production of audiovisual material in language  and literacy education for youth and adults including developing media awareness, mastering new genres and producing documentation for student reflection
Border Civics Project
My ESL Digital Storytelling (class) – yes! It’s referenced in the article J
Tools (all of which I have used in my teaching as well as have trained teachers on) such as…
2.     Collaborative Writing: blogs, wikis, and other free online writing tools, such as Google Docs and
3.     Language Analysis and Structure: computer-based and online tools try to provide more direct linguistic support to students
·       Text-scaffolding software such as the following:
A) e-Lective -- instructor can import any reading text into the program, which then allows students clickable access to digitized-speech readings of any phrase; English and L1 dictionary support for individual words; cloze and other practice exercises based on learners' own vocabulary lists; a grammar mode to assist students in identifying parts of speech; language detective activities for students to explore aspects of words' meaning, form and use; and a writing mode to support students' creative response to texts they have read
B) Text Adaptor - highlights words that may be cognates in students' first language, translates texts into students' first language, identifies notable collocations or idiomatic phrases, calls attention to prepositional or nominal phrases, identifies words that may be difficult for English-language learners and suggests alternatives
·       Speech Recognition – software that converts spoken words to machine-readable input, software such as the following:
A) Reading Companion web site – has an on-screen mentor, or companion, "reads" a phrase to the user and then provides an opportunity for the user to read the material, using a headset microphone. Provides feedback depending on the accuracy of what was read
B) EnglishCentral uses speech recognition to assist second language learners in improving their pronunciation and spoken language. Learners choose among popular videos on the site, listen to words or sentences from them at controlled speeds, read and repeat what they have listened to, and receive feedback on their pronunciation and syntax.
·           Text readers -- simultaneous auditory and visual input without some of the feedback mechanisms described above. Example: Read and Write Gold (available free to students at MiraCosta College)
·           Automated Writing Evaluation (AWE) incorporates technologies that provide automated essay scoring and other types of computer-generated feedback on student writing
·           Online Concordancing -- ideal for checking collocation. Examples: Corpus Concordance English, Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English
4.     Online networking
·       Virtual Environments Second Life
·       Social Network Sites -- Livemocha
·       Multiplayer Online Games (MORPGs) -- "World of Warcraft" or "Everquest"
5.     One-to-One and Mobile Computing -- provide anytime/anywhere accessibility for busy adult learners
·       Netbooks and Smartbooks
·       Nettops - low-cost desktop versions
·       Rich Clients -- computers that must be at least periodically connected to a central server, but they can carry out more independent processing and applications without that connection; enable users to display streaming video, create multimedia presentations and engage in complex simulations and games
·       Cell Phones
·       Open-Source Software and Cloud Computing

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