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

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

Chapter 7–Technology

Chapter 7–Technology Today: Practice vs. Promise | 215 The Tell-Tale Heart Q; I fairly chuckled at the idea: and perhaps he heard II ‘ 4 me; for he moved on the bed Ill suddenly, as lf startled. 41 Now you may think that I drew back - but no. 4; HiS room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers), . . and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing lt on steadily, steadily, Ill When you m ‘ n m this sequence happens: ~;; Syllables f d;{ Pro nuncl ati on 2 d:; Espa?iol 1 Ill ~ - c h o i c e s : - 4;; Pronunclatlon ~; ~;~’ E~Planatlon 3 ~ fldd to Recall Ilst Q Pause P** (s*c*) ❑ nut o saue 1- ‘~ R(jl.1 ,“ nPcdll ,,s, o 0 ! $J E $aue ~ecall mm m R Fiuto Open and EJect Books This software version of the Tell-Tale Heart allows the reader to choose either a Spanish or English reading of the text, the tempo of the reading, and words to be defined, income (see figure 7-2); 41 percent of households holds with incomes of $50,000 or more. Computin the lowest income bracket (under $15,000) ers are found in the homes of 18 percent of white have cable and 39 percent have VCRs, compared adults, but only in 8 percent of African-American with 69 and 93 percent respectively for those in and 8 percent of Latino adults. 68 Both access to the highest income bracket ($60,000 or more). 67 and use of home computers are related to the Computer ownership is related to income, educational level of adults. For example, only 4.6 education, and ethnicity. While 15 percent of all percent of those with less than a high school households had a computer in 1989, only 6 degree have a home computer, compared with percent of households with incomes under $20,000 33.7 percent of those with a college degree. had them compared with 39 percent of house- Furthermore, 25.6 percent of those without a high 67 Ace Niel~ co., NatiO~ (sos~t~) S~Ple of 4,~ Ho~~l& @Jie~n p~pl~~~ s~~), & ~~ in Boston COllddIlg Group, “Public lklevisio~ Developing a Ready-t@Learn Service, ” report prepared for tbe Public Broadcasting Service, January 1993. Data collected by Nielsen in 1991. 68K “ ommski, op. cit., footnote 33. I

216 I Adult Literacy and New Technologies: Tools for a Lifetime Figure 7-2-Households With Videocassette Recorders and Cable Subscriptions, by Income, 1991 Household income ,_.—— — Under $15,000 $15,000- $19,000 55% i $20,000- $29,000 $30,000- $39,000 $40,000- $59,000 ‘?/0 $60,000+ 3% t 1 1 r T- 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percentage of households D Cable subscribers a Videocassette recorders NOTE: The average for all households in 1991 is 57 percent cable subscdbers and 73 percent with VCRs. SOURCE: A.C. Nielsen Co., National (50-State) Sample of 4,000 Households (Nielsen Peoplemeter Service), as reported in Boston Consulting Group, “Public Television: Developing a Ready-to-barn Service,” report prepared forthe Public Broadcasting Service, January 1993. Data collected by Nielsen in 1991. school degree report using their computers, compared with 71.2 percent of those with college degrees (see figure 7-3). Market Barriers The costs to research, develop, market, distribute, and support technology aimed at the specialized needs of adult learners can be very high. To develop a courseware package, the needs of learners must be researched, educational experts must be consulted, and courseware must be tested in the field. In some cases, focus groups are convened and formal assessments conducted. Although some technical aspects of the develop- ment process have become cheaper in recent years, consumers have also come to expect better presentation quality (i.e., the use of graphics and sound) and educational value (i.e., the incorporation of critical thinkin g skills and contexts relevant to the learners). These features increase the cost of development. Without some reasonable hope of a return, companies are unlikely to invest the startup costs for specialized technology aimed at limited, fragile submarkets. Such is the case with the literacy market-by any measure small, fragmented, underfinanced, and Underdeveloped. 69 Figure 7-3-Adults With Home Computers, by Level of Schooling Highest level of schooling —- Elementary: 0-8 years 2.9% _ Use computer at home High school: 1-3 years High school: 4 years 6.5% L EZ Have access to computer at home College: 1-3 years 69 Education TURNKEY Systems, Inc. and Wujcik and Associates, op. cit., footnote 1. 23.4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Percentage of adults NOTE: Figure includes persons 18 years and older in 1989. SOURCE: Robert Kominskl, Computer Use in the United States: 1989, Current Population Reports, Special Series P-23, No. 171 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Ckmmerce, Bureau of the (%sus, February 1991).

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