Tag Archives: technology

A New Orientation

I’ve been hearing similar trends in adult education programs around the country where students have to put in 12+ hours for orientation.

Interestingly all processes are similarly similar: students register to attend, go through a process that includes filling forms, signing papers, listening to a PowerPoint presentation about services and taking the TABE. At the end students are given their schedule of classes, and then the learning begins.


Let’s flip that. Why can’t students register using on-line forms? Similarly what if we started teaching those orientation students by giving them work appropriate emails? Let’s take it a step further, what if you taught that student to use a social website like LinkedIn or Facebook? And then give the student a TABE.

What just happened? We respected these adults time and set the tone by teaching them something from their first introduction to the AE program.

What did the student get? Students now have an email address, and have sent you an e-mail. Using LinkedIn students can create a highly portable and transferable resume. Teaching them FB students will learn how to connect with their friends, families and hopefully YOU. From registering for these 3 products students then have the ability to be applying for jobs at places that only accept online applications – aka 80% of Fortune 500 companies. I believe the student got empowerment from their first session in your program.

What did you get? You’ve got the reasonable expectation the student can communicate with you. E-mail providers are now including word processing applications: Google Drive allows students to do word processing and share their work with whomever they want – including you. And builds to 2014GED(r) readiness. Having students “like” your program on FB gives you another way to contact your student.  What did the program get from this new orientation? A student population who is more ready to participate in the 21st Century Classroom.

Any program can do this, now, for free.

Think about that empowered student going back to his or her community and telling their people about the empowerment technology allows.

And then think about this, over a 5 year period Thorn Hill Education Center found that 98% of students found out about the program by word of mouth (what we have anecdotally known was corroborated in 2009).

Putting the two together, if you engage your audience from the get go you’ve got them hooked. Let’s flip blooms and build student engagement in our programs.

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Filed under Education, Program, Student

Video as Project Based Learning

In this project “autobiographical digital stories were created by North Lexington [Kentucky] students. Storicraft is a storytelling project that brings artists and youth together to produce and present stories in multimedia form. This initiative is aimed at fostering a connection between participants and media communications experts as a means of training and giving voice to young people.” Click on title to view video.

In the video you will see several youth narrate pictures about their bodies, and how they feel about the use of their bodies. The narrators are softspoken, but their stories have impact when coupled with images: viewers simultaneous relive memories make the videos powerful and fun.

Can this same concept be used in the adult education classroom? I don’t see why not. A class could similarly decide upon a theme (body, architecture). Each person in the class could take images of the theme. Then finally script a narration as to why these images are important to their theme. This step could be completed with a tablet or smartphone.

Afterwards the class could reflect on individual films, as well as the films as a group. From the process of planning, synthesizing, creating, and reflecting larger concepts of critical thinking could be exposed. Similarly the experience of the project could be drawn upon to help students understand outlining inside of writing projects.

—- UPDATE —-

From “The Problem of Student Engagement,” by Shelley Wright of Wright’s Room:

My initial thought is to use a method like Photovoice, which I think authentically gives power to students.  Through photographing the everyday events of their lives and merging these with story, students will share what school is really like.  It is often used among marginalized people, and is intended to give insight into how they conceptualize their circumstances and their hopes for the future.  Photovoice attempts to bring the perspectives of those “who lead lives that are different from those traditionally in control of the means for imaging the world” into the policy-making process.

It is often used among marginalized people… hmm, does that not sound like the adult ed population?

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January 15, 2013 · 12:32 pm