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Adult Literacy and New Technologies - Federation of American ...

Adult Literacy and New Technologies - Federation of American ...

124 I

124 I Adult Literacy and New Technologies: Tools for a Lifetime Texas recently purchased a different lLS 108 for Several other States have made or are considering correctional facilities throughout the State; 36 prisons now have computer laboratories equipped with 20 workstations each. Included in the overall purchase price is a training package that supports several days of intensive instruction at a central training facility for two or three instructors; when they return they are “local experts” and train other prison instructors in technology use. l09 similar systemwide technology purchases for these reasons. Other technology configurations have also been adopted. For example, the computer training facility in the Los Angeles County jails uses an open architecture in a closed environment (see box 4-F). The 12 jail sites housing some 25,000 inmates contain about 180 computers, mainly

Chapter 4-The Literacy System: A Patchwork of Programs and Resources | 125 Apple Macintoshes, a result of the educational educational backgrounds and ranges of literacy coordinator’s personal collaboration with Apple in developing program materials. Much of the software used at the jails has been developed by the teachers themselves, including literacy materials incorporating vocabulary and idioms frequently used at the jail. Many of the features that make interactive technology viable for adult learners are especially useful for inmates. Allowing material to be individualized and paced at the learner’s speed is important for prison populations with variable needs. Working on a computer offers privacy for learning and a sense of control-features generally missing in prison life and therefore highly valued. Furthermore, group interaction with some applications develops important social skills that many inmates lack. Technology is seen as a tool for the future and using computers improves prisoners’ sense of self-worth. Prison walls can be scaled via the technology— telephone/computer links can connect inmates with teachers or tutors outside the walls of the

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