About the Project
Strengthening Adult Education Programs Through Technology
In Fall of 2005 the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, awarded the University of Michigan and the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) a contract to develop a number of technology resources for adult education. The project is called Strengthening Programs through Technology. It has several components.
AdultEd Online – Helping Teachers Use Technology
To improve the quality of classroom instruction classroom teachers need to be knowledgeable about ways that technology can be used to improve student achievement. The Technology Integration Self Assessment allows teachers to measure their skills in 12 areas and get a customized professional development plan to improve their skills.
There is a growing interest in using distance education to reach adult learners who are not able to attend classroom programs. But the specialty is so new, few teachers know if they have what it takes to be a good distance instructor. The Distance Teaching Self Assessment lets teachers explore what is required and get suggestions for ways to learn more about distance teaching.
To increase the visibility of distance education as an option, the project is also developing a number of resources to help teachers and administrators better understand what is entailed in setting up a distance program. These range from conference presentations to policy papers. All of the written resources will be available at projectideal.org beginning in Fall, 2007.
U.S.A. Learns -- A Web Portal for Adult Learners
While the resources created by AdultEd Online are focused on adult education teachers, the project was also charged with exploring the potential of technology designed to provide resources for adult learners. What if there was a free Web site that provided extensive resources to allow adults to study English or work on their G.E.D. entirely by themselves? What features should it have to support independent study? Are there adults who would use such a Web site to study on their own long enough to improve their skills? The project is exploring the answers to these questions by reviewing the literature and interviewing experts who have built other educational Web sites. In addition, the project is building a prototype portal to test a number of instructional design features. With supplementary funding from the California Department of Education the prototype will contain not only novel design features, but will have extensive learning materials to make the test more realistic. The prototype will contain a beginning-level English course, a mid-level English course, and a collection of activities for improving reading, writing and life skills. Called U.S.A. Learns, the prototype will be available for general use beginning in the fall of 2008.
Competencies for the Self Assessments
The two teacher self-assessments are built on collections of competencies derived from research and extensive interviews with practitioners. Click on Technology Integration Competencies or Distance Teaching Competencies to download a list of competencies.
The project is a joint effort of the Project IDEAL Support Center at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and the Sacramento County Office of Education.
The Project IDEAL Support Center provides technical assistance to a consortium of more than 20 states working together to design and implement distance education programs for adult education. The Center assists members in planning, training, and evaluating their efforts. The Center publishes the widely used Handbook of Distance Education for Adult Learners and has numerous publications and online support systems to help states develop quality distance education programs (http://projectideal.org). The Center has conducted national evaluations of many of the most popular adult education curricula, including Crossroads Café, Workplace Essential Skills, GED Connection, and TV411.
The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) has developed many of the most widely used Web resources in adult education, including English for All, CDLP Online (resources for adult learners), and The Study Place. SCOE is home to a number of adult education and technology projects including the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) and the NIFL Technology Training Special Collection. SCOE is nationally recognized as a center with expertise in the design and use of instructional technology in adult learning.
The project was conceived and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), Division of Adult Education and Literacy (DAEL) under contract ED05CO0062 (October 1, 2005 - September 30, 2008). DAEL promotes programs that help American adults get the basic skills they need to be productive workers, family members, and citizens. The major areas of support are Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English Language Acquisition. These programs emphasize basic skills such as reading, writing, math, English language competency and problem-solving. For further information, contact Sheryl Adler, U.S. Department of Education – OVAE, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202 (202) 245-7732. Sheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org. The content of this Web site does not necessarily represent the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Education.