Category Archives: Technology in adult education

Federal Initiatives: Professional Development Resources for Adult Education from the U.S. Department of Education

LogoOCTAEFind on this OCTAE (Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education) site the following Federal Initiatives: Click here to enter the site.


Funder Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA; PL 113-128), Section 242, OCTAE carries out a program of national leadership activities to enhance the quality and outcomes of adult education and literacy activities and programs nationwide. Find on this page categories and links to resources from current and recent OCTAE-led activities and links to fact sheets that capture resources by topic.

Topics and Resources Provided on the Site: Click here to access full resources

  • Implementing State-Adopted Challenging Content Standards
  • Partnering to Develop Career Pathways
  • Disseminating Evidence-based Methods and Techniques
  • Integrating Technology into Teaching and Learning
  • Advancing Research and Evidence



Designing a Literacy-Based Mobile Application for Adult Learners


In this paper, we discuss the design of CAPITAL Words, an educational Android application to help low-literacy adults improve their phonemic awareness. We discuss our design choices concerning iconography, linearity, consistency, robustness, interactivity, and visibility when creating mobile software usable by illiterate users. We conducted a usability study with 11 adult learners at a local literacy center to determine how successfully users are able to interact with our interface. Results show that the majority of our design choices were intuitive for low-literacy adults with prior smartphone experience and highly learnable for inexperienced users, and that users overwhelmingly enjoyed using the app as a learning tool. This suggests that, if users are given a small amount of guidance initially, there is a high likelihood that they will be both willing and able to continue using our app independently to improve their literacy skills.

Designing a Literacy-Based Mobile Application for Adult Learners, Jennifer R. Hill, May 2016, Georgetown University.  (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Sep 6, 2017].

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Social Media is Creating a New Emphasis on the Need for Critical Thinking

mobile-tech-324x243“One Stanford University study of students from middle school through college exposed serious critical thinking and information literacy skill deficits at all levels.” This short article from Credo Education concludes that “Critical thinking is an essential tool for the modern world, and it should be taught in a broad, coherent, and effective way.” Posted on February 3, 2017.

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Improving Internet Access and Connectivity in Virginia

The three websites listed in this post will help you find:

Accelerate Virginia logoAccelerate Virginia allows your to zoom to a location and run a speed test of the service provided. All you need to do is follow the instructions. The Accelerate Virginia speed test represents a realistic user experience of connection speed at a single moment in time, not the theoretical potential of an actual connection type.  Click here to enter the site:

virginia internet dataVirginia ranks among the top 16 states in the use of IT and digital technology in government services, but only 37th in access to high-speed broadband. Many localities offer superior digital government services, but there is significant disparity among regions in broadband access. Click here to read the full article on Virginia Performs, logoEveryoneon is a national campaign to connect everyone to internet access. The campaign is sponsored by Connect2Compete (C2C), and made possible through partnerships with corporations, Internet providers, digital literacy organizations, workforce centers, and advocacy groups. Click here to learn more about the resources and how to find low cost internet access, classes, and computers.


Apps and Websites for Teachers and Students in Adult Education and Literacy Programs

iPads/tablets. Image @Wikimedia Commons

iPads/tablets. Image @Wikimedia Commons

introduction – how to use apps in instruction

There might be an app for everything, but how can apps be used for teaching and learning?  It’s easy to wonder if the rush to get into the App Store is more about snapping up the shiniest new fad than about apps as effective learning tools. “Apps” is an abbreviation for application. An app is simply a tiny piece of software. It can run on the Internet, on your computer, or on your phone or other electronic device. The word “app” is a more modern usage, but this is really the same thing as a program like Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat.

Fortunately for educators and learners, most branded apps have moved from the simple “wow” factor to include those that focus on specific skill development. The job of the teacher, as it is with all lesson planning, is to take a step back and asses who their learners are, what are the learning objectives, and how do they communicate that to their learners? Some apps are used to practice a discrete skill or present information just one time. Others are creative apps that a learner may use again and again.

When choosing apps for learning, find out what your learners are actually doing on mobile and other technologies. Choose (and teach them to choose) learning apps based on where they are:  iphone, android, tablet, laptop, or PC. It’s a good app if it is relevant to the learning purpose. 

The bottom line is what makes an effective app is one that does what you need it to do. 

Using and Evaluating Apps in the Classroom

evaluation rubric walker

This useful document will allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of an App and how it may impact student achievement. Categories include: Curriculum connection, Authenticity, Feedback, Differentiation, User Friendliness, and Student Motivation.

  • Other App evaluation instruments sit on the iPads for Teaching site. Click here to view them and scroll down to “Information by Others.”

Categories for Using Apps in Adult Education and Literacy: (Click on a topic)

VALRCClick on image to go to VALRC.

Click here to return to the home page of Facts and Statistics.



How Mobile Technology Ushered in a New Era of Adult Education

While this article discusses practices in colleges and universities, many changes in the use of mobile devices are occurring in the adult literacy and education field as well:

Mobile technology has come up as a popular means of adult education in recent time. The mobile devices which have been used so long for sending and receiving calls, writing messages, listening to music and taking photos are now being used as learning tools for adults. Blackberries and iPods as education tools are now a must-have resource in adult education.

Most online (and offline) colleges and universities encourage adult learners to make use of their mobile devices for the purpose of education. These schools are harnessing the power of the podcast to deliver online lectures and videos via mobile technology.

Click here for the rest of the article at Edudemic.

The NonProfit Matrix: Hundreds of Resources for Nonprofit Management

For more than a decade, The Nonprofit Matrix has been a leading online directory and guide to selecting and integrating web-based and cloud services such as donation processing, email broadcast, membership portals, charity shopping and more into a nonprofit organization’s web and internet programs. Click here to enter the site.

Find below some of the links that the matrix provides.

Finding Our Way: Digital Technologies and E-Learning for Adult Literacy …

Finding Our Way: Digital Technologies and E-Learning for Adult Literacy Students, Educators and Programs Literature Scan: 2005-2011, presents a global snapshot of how technology has been used to enhance teaching, learning and professional development.

ImageGiven the ubiquity of digital technologies in today’s world and the pressure on educators to keep up, the report explores how they are and could be supported to integrate technology into their practice.

Ultimately, the report aims to spark a national discussion about what is happening, what needs to happen, and how AlphaPlus can, in collaboration with the adult literacy field, begin to harness the full potential of digital technology and e-learning in the service of adult literacy teaching and learning.

Click here to download this 2011 report.

Nearly 1/3 of Americans Access News Via Their Smart Phone Apps

Mobile devices are adding to people’s consumption of news, strengthening the lure of traditional news brands and providing a boost to long-form journalism, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s ninth annual State of the News Media study. Roughly a third of those who get news on conventional computers now also get news on a smartphone. At the same time, a fundamental challenge has intensified — the extent to which technology intermediaries now control the future of news.

Click here to read the Pew Research Center study: State of the News Media 2010

The Power of Technology to Transform Adult Learning

This 65-page report is based on a 9-month project directed by Dr. Mary L. McCain of TechVision 21 in Washington, D.C. The report fleshes out the general technology recommendations made in Reach Higher, America, the final report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy. Federal and state government is the primary audience but CAAL also aims to inform private sector engagement and program and curriculum development activities. The centerpiece recommendation among several given is for establishment of a national web portal for adult learners and professional use. [October 21, 2009] Click here to download the PDF document.