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

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

18 I

18 I Adult Literacy and New Technologies: Tools for a Lifetime tion and improve program administration among agencies. Encourage Technology Use Through New Regulations and Authorizing Language. Most Federal literacy programs lack explicit legislative language encouraging use of technology. Those provisions that do exist are options, rather than mandates to use technology or set-asides requiring a minimum investment in technology. In fact, the Adult Education Act (AEA) takes the opposite approach, capping the amount that may be used by the State resource centers for hardware and software at 10 percent. Congress could establish a set-aside for technology in the AEA (as it already has for other new initiatives, such as institutional corrections programs). Such a provision would likely gain some support among State adult education directors, who have recently recommended that in the next reauthorization 66 . . . the AEA should encourage a percentage of adult education allocation for innovation and technology in education.” 15 A set-aside would give programs “permission” to fired technology acquisition; without this explicit policy, many may not make this investment. The signal to hardware and software developers from such a set-aside and the degree to which it would stimulate the market for adult literacy technology development would depend on its size. (OTA estimates that a 10 percent set-aside would put $25 million into the marketplace. A fixed percentage of set-aside funds for technology acquisition would probably be insufficient for small programs. It is important, therefore, that Congress take parallel steps to allow Federal funds to be pooled with other funding sources. IS U.S. lleptint of Educatiou Diviaion of Adult Education and Literacy and Oflke of Policy ad n-, “SUmXIUUY of state Adult Education Dkctors FOIUIIL Feb. 18-19, 1993,” unpublished document, p. 12.

Provide Direct Funding for Technology. Congress could provide capital funds for hardware and software acquisition for adult literacy programs directly through new Federal grants to local literacy programs. The amount of funding could vary with program size and scope. 16 To leverage the Federal investment, Congress could require a match with local, State, or private funds. Grants could require communitywide technology planning and cooperation across Federal programs. For example, if the major Federal programs (AEA JTPA, Head Start, and Chapter 1) were combined, it would have a substantial effect, increasing the pool of dollars available for technology. Technol ogy resources could be located centrally or dispersed. The point is that the involvement of an entire community would aggregate demand and drive down the costs of hardware and software. Planning and cooperation on a regional or State level would increase the effectiveness of available funds. Statewide technology initiatives in K-12 education in Florida and Texas, for example, have made it possible for schools to acquire computers, multimedia technology, and telecommunications capacity at lower cost than if each school or district made purchases separately-a good model for adult literacy. Stimulate Development of Adult Literacy Software and Programming Effective use of technologies requires quality software and programming tailored to the needs of adult learners. Available computer software is inadequate for the demands of literacy programs, and programming for video and other technologies is even more limited. The Federal Govern- Chapter l-Summary and Policy Options | 19 ment has provided millions of dollars of research and development (R&D) support to develop educational television programming for the elementary, secondary, and college levels, software tools and networking applications for science and mathematics, and distance learning systems for K-12 education. By contrast, the Federal investment in programmingg, software, and networking applications for adult literacy has been almost nonexistent, except for the military’s development of computer-based materials in basic skills. Create an Adult Literacy Software/Programming Initiative. A targeted initiative is one way to speed development of a broad base of high-quality and effective applications of video, computer, and telecommunications technology for literacy. Congress could provide seed funding and encourage public/private partnerships among literacy educators, State agencies, software developers, and telecommunications providers, as it has done for K-12 distance learning through the Star Schools program. An appropriation of about $20 million per year for the next 5 years would serve as a significant stimulant to the field. 17 Any such development should include standalone video courses and modules, interactive distance learning programs, and computer software and multimedia learning materials that address high-priority needs, especially : 18 ■ English as a second language, ■ high school completion and GED, ■ workplace literacy, ■ materials and resources designed for learners with very low literacy skills (especially those 16 ~ ~lm for M ~w $7 won ci~de St. Paw Minnesota C~ti for Lifelong ~“ ,$500,000 has been budgeted for technology, including hardware, software, and telecommunications networking. ‘Ikrilyn ‘Mner, director, Center for Lifelong Learn@, St. PauL MN, personal communication, Apr. 24, 1993. 17 By way of ~ompfisoq ~ngr~s @@lly authorized tk Star SChook progftlm for 5 y~, **an ov~ _ ‘t ‘ f $lW million. The National Scienee Foundation’s application of advanced technology development is CUlltdy budgeted at appmtitdy $12.5 million annually for research and development in mathematics, scieq and technology for all levels of education. 16 ~ titit litq initiative could concaxratedeveloprnent of sofhvare and video PWPmm@? in the areas of highest need. New data from the National Adult Literacy Suwey of adults 16 years and older will become available later this year (September 1993). Thia data should help clari& the instructional needs of adults and which segments of the population are most in need of assistance.

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    e-reading the material, and their j

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    T he literacy service delivery ‘

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    Chapter 4-The Literacy System: A Pa

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    Chapter 4-The Literacy System: A Pa

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    400 350 300 250 20O ‘ >“1 \ I [

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    Bell Atlantic Black and Decker Stan

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    s ince the mid- 1960s, the Federal

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    Although promising, these efforts c

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    War on Poverty program overseen by

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    Chapter &The Federal Role in Adult

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    somewhat contemporaneously, so it c

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    there is overlap. Both ED and the D

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    Chapter &The Federal Role in Adult

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    to 70 percent) or Head Start childr

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    Chapter 5-The Federal Role in Adult

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    Highly defined subcategories of new

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    set of service delivery issues: how

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    esponding to public concerns about

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    Chapter 5-The Federal Role in Adult

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    experimental funds to promote use o

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    must coordinate or consult; most fr

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    eral agencies to undertake joint ve

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    in Federal law by providing some in

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    Educational gains Support services

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    Advances in technology have “uppe

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    Computer-Based Technologies Chapter

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    Chapter 7-Technology Today: Practic

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    Chapter 7-Technology Today: Practic

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    ecorders (VCRS), 27 and61 percent h

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    Many adults use computers in the LA

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    specialized personnel to evaluate h

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    — that provides information criti

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    notes, sounds, graphics, movies, an

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    T oday’s literacy programs are un

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    verify the owner’s request, relay

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    charge, Dave’s mother refused to

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    Guatemala to marry Eduardo when she

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    Through her ESL, parenting, job pre

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    Chapter 8-Looking Ahead to a Future

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    Chapter 8-Looking Ahead to a Future

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    munications capabilities. Ultimatel

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    Issues of Access and Equity These t

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    Chapter 8-Looking Ahead to a Future

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    Boxes Appendix A: List of Boxes, Fi

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    Appendix A-List of Boxes, Figures,

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    Appendix B-Major Federal Adult Lite

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    R = required; E = encouraged; O = o

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    Appendix C-Key Coordination Provisi

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    only discs, new data cannot be stor

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    Tablet or graphics tablet: A comput

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    PBS PIC PLUS R&D SBIR SCANS SDA SEA

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    Appendix F—Workshop Participants,

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    Rob Foshay TRO barring, Inc. Michae

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    Dennis Poe U.S. Department of Healt

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    Appendix G: Contributing Sites Thro

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    Northwest Tri-County Intermediate U

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    ABE. See Adult basic education ACCE

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    technological applications, 120-121

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    National Workplace Literacy Partner

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    workplace literacy, 102, 117-119 Te

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