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Developing Web-based Adult Literacy - Overview
 

Developing Web-based Adult Literacy - Overview

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Presentation by Richard Appelbaum

Presentation by Richard Appelbaum

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    Developing Web-based Adult Literacy - Overview Developing Web-based Adult Literacy - Overview Presentation Transcript

    • Developing Web-based Adult Literacy - Overview Richard A. Appelbaum President, R&D Media Solutions – SF President & CEO Mixman Technologies, Inc.
    • Ubiquitous Adult Literacy and Work Skills Web Destination
      • A free online location that provides web tools and curriculum content implemented in a web context
      • For any adult seeking to improve literacy skills or to develop practical work skills
      • Designed to stand on its own, not as supplemental material to a classroom experience
      • Designed to take advantage of the unique capabilities provided by the web and interactive technology
    • Background
      • Quarter of all adults possess only basic literacy skills
        • These adults cannot compete for high-paying jobs nor easily find training for higher skilled work
      • Classroom and community based literacy programs reach only a fraction of those in need
      • The funding and other resources required to reach a significant majority of those who could benefit is daunting
      • Internet/web and new technologies present potential for greater reach as well as ways to create new approaches
    • Research Phase
      • CWW contracted R&D Media Solutions summer 2006 to research the landscape and make recommendations
        • Found few free online resources for adults – the majority of available resources are geared to children, with images and context appropriate to this age group
        • What did exist for adults lacked hierarchy and a comprehensive approach, and did not account for the low-literacy learner’s barriers to entry to use the system
          • No one destination that can provide a complete program or measure the progress of a low-literacy learner
        • Many sites functioned more as portals than actual content providers
    • Phase I
      • With funding from The Nicholson Foundation we developed a proto-type for learners with a 7 th grade level of proficiency
      • Parameters/assumptions – the Prototype:
        • Respects the fact that adults learn on a “need to know” basis, rather than incrementally as school children learn
        • Places the acquisition of skills in the context of a realistic work site or job
        • Utilizes the potential of the web to enable learners to grasp concepts and skills visually or experientially, rather than solely through reliance on text or teachers
        • Exhibits production values comparable to those on entertainment web sites and other communication media
        • Is intrinsically interesting (interactive)
        • Succeeds in teaching the concepts without the intervention of a teacher or tutor
    • The Prototype: Math Skills in a Work Setting
      • CWW contracted R&D Media Solutions to develop the prototype – a work-based web application suggestive of what is possible in a web context
      • Developed to test our assumptions, tested with actual users – out-of-school adults with 7 th grade reading level (recruited by Newark Literacy Initiative)
        • 5 groups of approximately 8 adults, men and women, varying in age from 16 to 60, were monitored while working on the prototype at the Main Library in Newark NJ
      • Taught concepts of Area and Perimeter in a richly contextualized work setting
        • Combined math literacy with WRC-like job skill training
    • The Prototype: Demographics
      • Age
        • 16-25 12people
        • 26-35 8 people
        • 36-45 7 people
        • 46-55 7 people
        • 55+ 3 people
      • Gender
        • Male 21 Female 16
      • Race/Ethnicity
        • Black 24 White 4 Other 9
      • Highest Grade
        • <HS 23 people
        • HS/GED 7 people
        • Some Col 5 people
        • Assoc. Deg 1 person
        • BA 1 person
    • The Prototype – Approach
      • Assess whether work readiness skills can be taught to adults via lessons that utilize the capabilities of the web
      • Introduce learners to concepts and skills audio-visually
      • Place the learner in a complex, realistic work context
      • Make minimal use of text to provide explanations; rely, instead, on animation, music, visually appealing 3-dimensional representations, and voice over
    • The Prototype – Results
      • Demonstrated that most adults learn well in a situation where they acquire skills in the context of a realistic job and master concepts as the need arises
      • Used observation and exit interviews for feedback that affirmed our approach was correct
      • Presented learners with large problem set in realistic work context, rather than step by step building up used to teach children
        • Adults need to see the big picture and how skills will be applied
      • Received very positive feedback on real-world contextualization
    • The Prototype – User Comments
      • Math is my worse subject, always was. Visually it helps so much. The combination of visual and explaining was very good. It didn't matter that my typing and computer skills aren't that good.
        • 51 year old black male, 9th grade is highest grade completed.
      • I really enjoyed it. It was a great help to me because I am getting my GED and I really enjoyed the way it was all spelled out. I did the lesson twice because I got questions wrong.
        • 26 year old female, other race/ethnicity, 8th grade is highest grade completed.
      • Enjoyed the experience. I’m motivated to keep going for better pay and enjoyment. The visuals helped – a lot more entertaining and easier than word problems.
        • 32 year old black male, 12th grade is highest grade completed.
      • I loved it -- anything else you have like this, I would be more than lucky to be in line for it. It's not like you're learning, it's like you're having fun on the computer.
        • 17 year old black female, 10th grade is highest grade completed but working on GED.
    • Phase II
      • With further funding from The Nicholson Foundation, a collaboration of CWW (Rutgers U.), Center for Literacy Studies (U. of Tenn. and developers of Equipped for the Future standards and WRC) and R&D Media Solutions – will combine in 2008 to fully develop an active website to teach skills for the Work Readiness Credential online
        • 6 WRC Skill areas times two lessons each for a total of 12
        • User-log in and tracking
        • Pre-diagnostics
        • No teachers required
    • Building Skills4Work.org
      • The Phase II development will launch a new website called BuildingSkills4Work.org
        • Initially, will focus on WRC skill areas
        • Will leverage the prior work on research and prototype
        • Will be developed in a way that can be scaled up to a fully developed preparation for the WRC with additional skill focuses
        • Will be developed to cooperate with a larger vision for the Ubiquitous Site development and to aggregate a variety of resources for an even larger group, not only lower literacy learners
        • Will allow us to continue to improve our implementation
    • WRC 6 Skill Areas
      • BS4W.org will bring implementation of the WRC curriculum to life via the creative and interactive possibilities of the web
      • Skills taught have been identified by employers as critical for success in entry-level jobs
        • Cooperate with others and resolve conflict and negotiate
        • Solve problems and make decisions
        • Listen actively
        • Use math to solve problems and communicate (quantitative literacy)
        • Convey ideas in writing (document literacy)
        • Read with understanding (prose literacy)
    • Availability
      • The lesson modules on BS4W.org will be useful to adults seeking entry level jobs in a wide array of settings
        • Will be available to anyone with a web connection, and promoted in New Jersey to:
          • programs that prepare adults across a range of ages to enter the workforce
          • students finishing up their high school degrees in the Newark virtual high schools
          • prison re-entry population at the Edna McMahon women’s prison
          • unemployed adults seeking entry into job training programs at New Jersey One-Stop Career Centers
        • Available as supplemental materials for use by instructors preparing adults to obtain the national Work Readiness Credential
    • The Future
      • Upon the launch of BuildingSkills4Work.org – initial 12 lessons, we will be seeking funding to expand to a complete curriculum (about120 lessons) for WRC, and to develop further educational components
      • We see a Ubiquitous Adult Literacy Site as a collection of web sites that are coordinated, integrated, share back-end infrastructure, and offer a variety of benefits to a broad constituency
    • -- Demo of Prototype --
      • Standby for brief Demo of the Prototype