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Using Electronic Technology in Adult Literacy Education

Volume 1: Chapter Eight

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Chapter eight offers two articles that pertain to the use of electronic technology in adult education. In the first piece, David Rosen explores the integration of electronic technology into adult literacy programs. Rosen first distinguishes between an instructivist approach and a constructivist approach to the use of technology in support of learning and teaching. The instructivist approach involves learners' use of computer-assisted instruction to acquire knowledge and skills. The constructivist approach involves the use of technology tools, such as CD-ROM encyclopedias and other research tools in pursuit of answers to a question or problem of interest to the students. He then provides examples of technology products and points out some constructivist applications of technology.

The second part of the article addresses challenges for policymakers and practitioners pertaining to the integration of technology into adult literacy programs. The first such challenge is how to provide teachers and adult learners with access to hardware, software, and Internet connections. The second challenge pertains to effective planning for the introduction and use of electronic technology at the state, local and school levels. Third, Rosen notes the challenge of providing the proper staff development so that practitioners will be able to use the technology -- hardware, software, and Internet connections -- as an effective tool for teaching and learning. The fourth challenge he notes concerns the direction of public policy, especially federal technology policy, which currently excludes some types of adult education programs from funding. Rosen concludes with a number of questions for further research and calls for the allocation of increased resources to expand adult literacy technology initiatives and greater efforts to target staff development toward the integration of technology in support of curriculum and instruction.

In the second article in Chapter Eight, Jeff Carter and Lou Wollrab present a technology bibliography -- an annotated list of paper and electronic sources of information on the selection and use of various forms of technology in adult learning and literacy programs. The list includes books, guidebooks, handbooks and reports, as well as journal articles and web sites. The sources noted cover topics such as: buying software, curricular materials for adult literacy practitioners, tips on planning for the integration of technology into adult education, creating staff development programs on effective use of technology in adult education, and reviews of issues related to the use of technology in adult learning and experiences from the field. The authors also include notes on how to access the various resources and the audiences (teacher, researcher, program director, policymaker) for which they were intended. Web sites included in the list are varied and include sites that offer educational databases and chat groups, in addition to information on adult literacy in general and specific areas of adult learning, such as ESOL.

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The Annual Review was published in October 1999.
The ISBN is 0-787-94741-5
Price: $37

To order The Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, click on to the Jossey-Bass Publishers web site
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