Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Your 2014 Curriculum Blueprint

Even though my company focuses on innovative web-based instructional tools, one of the biggest impacts we've ever made on the field of adult education has been the publication of a little free resource book for teachers preparing to teach toward the 2014 GED test.  At Essential Education, we're excited to share edtech products that will help the field of adult education make the switch to computer-based testing.  But what this 2014 Curriculum Blueprint focuses on is less about the medium and format of the test, but the actual shift in content, whether it's for online or classroom instruction.   

Your Free Copy: Shoot me a message at jason (at) essentialed (dot) com along with your mailing address and I'll get you a sample copy. If you've already got one, leave a comment here with your thoughts on the usefulness of the Blueprint.

The instruction required for the GED test needs to adapt from procedural knowledge to reasoning skills. Your students won't be able to get by memorizing a bunch of mnemonic devices for solving problems. Instead, they'll have to understand how the elements within a procedure relate to one another. The 2014 Curriculum Blueprint features an alignment of the new GED Assessment Targets to the Common Core State Standards as well as Webb's Depth of Knowledge, which helps teachers determine their approach to each skill and topic. Naturally, we include GED Academy's lessons in that alignment, but we also added Khan Academy's math lessons, since those are free and full of great explanations of mathematical reasoning (and Khan isn't providing his own GED alignment, for whatever reason).

Once you've got your copy of our 2014 Curriculum Blueprint, I hope you'll let your local Essential Education representative tell you about all of our innovative updates for the new test and maybe give you a tour of our computer-adaptive online learning system.  Again, just shoot me a message at jason (at) essentialed (dot) com so you can start adapting your classroom instruction for next year.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Teachers: It's All About YOU

In the Why the Tech Not post, I promised to go through a laundry list of barriers to successful tech integration in adult ed and give each issue their own blog post.  I still will, but many of the comments that followed seemed to add another item to the list: teacher training, expertise, and motivation.

Okay, you got me. I'd left it off because I didn't want to point the finger directly at YOU, my readers or adult educators as a group (except for that snarky PICNIC graphic).  And yet, I know from my own experience that many many people, learners and teachers, were given a chance to realize the opportunity of information technology in education because I stepped up and chose to prioritize it.  The power to dictate the success of technology initiatives in adult ed very much rests in the hands of individual teachers and bureaucrats.  Take my origin story, for instance: 
Back in 2001, I was answering the statewide GED Helpline in Virginia helping loads of people find their local adult education programs (that phone continued to ring on my desk for over a decade).  I could have seen the job as a simple switch-board operator gig, but I didn't. My position at the state's professional development organization, and physically my spot in front of a web-connected computer all day long, exposed me to a wealth of information about online GED resources, helpful TV shows on PBS, and periodic initiatives with incentives built-in.  I wanted to put these tools in people's hands and find ways to help people who were far way from right where I was sitting.