Friday, January 8, 2016

If We're Not Lost, Where Can We Be Found?

Over the holiday break, it occurred to me that newspapers and websites would soon be posting their year in reviews and their predictions for the year ahead.  We need those kinds of bookends in the field of adult education, especially with so many changes afoot.  We need to process, discuss, reflect and gear up to tackle new challenges. Alas, I feel like we're always in reactive mode, struggling to catch up and adjust to our circumstances.  That's why we need to rely on more modern communication tools than the phone tree. 

When trying to come up with my list of INs and OUTs going into 2016, I asked for input on Twitter using the #adultedu hashtag. No response to multiple attempts.  I tried my Linked-In network of 500+ connections and I think I posted it on an adult education interest group as well.  Obviously, holiday break isn't the best time to get a hold of educators. Or maybe I was using the wrong medium. I tried Facebook, but I only have a few professional connections there and the one who responded preferred to table all work-talk until class was back in session. During the same time, I've been deluged with notices about people broadcasting from Periscope.  And others telling me that Snapchat is the next big thing.  Neither indicators were from adult educators, but it piqued my interest and made me a little jealous.  Instagram is the platform that I've taken to the most in 2015, but haven't found any adult ed angles for professional development.  Going into 2016, I've vowed to learn Snapchat and Periscope... or at least try my hand at them.

So this is where I pose the question to you: Where in the digital world can you find adult educators? What is our preferred platform? Where are the professional development discussions happening?  How can you take the pulse of adult educators and high school equivalency teachers?  Please chime in with a comment. Any insights are appreciated, not just by me, but also by the isolated educators who wonder onto this site and perhaps have some of the same questions and a desire for more input, camaraderie and interconnectedness.


Monday, January 4, 2016

What's IN and What's OUT in Adult Education in 2016

There is no double that the field of adult education is going through BIG changes.  Out with the old and in with the new is the only way things change. But, what are those changes specifically? What are the buzz-words and terms that need to be on the tips of our tongues in 2016?  What practices do we need to put on the shelf indefinitely? We've banished digitized worksheet to the dustbin in past years.  We've learned that practice testing is not teaching, at least not for obtaining any long-term skill development.  Technology has made those tests both more and less accessible from various sources, but how we use the results is clearly innovating. So, please chime in with your new and old ideas and practices. I'll get the ball rolling with a few of my own.

OUT with 2015
  • Common Core
  • Traditional, single-medium, instruciton
  • Fighting against implementing technology
  • An isolated field of adult ed
  • Heads on desks
  • Tired unresponsive social media
  • WIA
  • Mind-numbing Power-point style learning 
  • Cut scores 
  • Stopping out and retention problems
  • Race to the bottom with ever-lowering expectations

IN with 2016
  • College and Career Readiness
  • Blended Learning
  • Fighting our biggest challenges with technology as our weapon of choice 
  • Adult ed as part of workforce development
  • Heads in the clouds
  • Exciting participatory social media
  • WIOA
  • In-depth activities for building critical thinking skills 
  • Skill mastery 
  • Bridging time/place gaps with distance ed solutions
  • Raising results by raising expectations and setting ambitious goals
Let's hear from you!  Post a comment with your additions to this list.