Digital Literacy Mini Grants (2013)

Digital Literacy Mini Grants (2013)

In 2013, ALLIES awarded 12 mini-grants of $1,500 to $2,500 to improve the digital literacy of English language learners. In total, almost $29,000 worth of grants were given to three colleges, eight adult schools and one community-based organization. The grants fell into several broad categories: student digital literacy projects, professional development projects, or institutional development projects.

  1. Digital Literacy Curricula: Seven projects involved either offering digital literacy classes/workshops or integrating digital literacy lessons into current classes.
  2. Technology Mentors for Instructors: Five of the projects involved hiring a technology mentor to work with teachers to improve their ability to incorporate digital literacy into the classroom.
  3. Assessment Tools: Two projects involved developing and refining digital literacy assessment tools.
  4. Social Media: Several of the projects had strong social media components including creating Facebook pages, blogging, and using Twitter.
  5. Adult School-Community College Collaboration: One project involved collaboration between a community college and an adult school to ensure the digital literacy needs of students were being met.

 

Key Lessons


Contextualize digital literacy to increase relevance for students
Classes where the material was directly relevant to students had higher attendance. Effective approaches included tying classes directly to student goals, like searching for a job, and making the digital literacy instruction an essential part of an assignment for another class the student was taking.

Assessment
Resources developed through grant List of computer skills from Jefferson College List of computer skills and learning objectives from CACE Survey of skills from West Valley College Peer assessment from Mountain View/Los Altos Adult Education Resources from other schools Digital literacy assessment from Berkeley Adult School

Ensure proper staffing and adequate technology
Digital literacy is complicated to teach, in part because students have very different skill levels. Grantees found it very useful to have a second teacher in the room to work one on one with students who were having problems. Digitally literate students can also fill the role of technology tutor. As they implemented the grants, several schools realized that their grant concepts faced challenges due to inadequate numbers of up-to-date computers.

Support teachers
Many teachers seek to increase their technology skills in order to be more effective in helping students with digital literacy. Technology mentor programs were effective in getting teachers the assistance they needed to gain these skills.

Resources


The following resources were collected from grant recipients or other schools.

Digital Literacy Classes, Workshops and Curriculum
Workshops offered at Gavilan College

Contextualize digital literacy to increase relevance for students
Classes where the material was directly relevant to students had higher attendance. Effective approaches included tying classes directly to student goals, like searching for a job, and making the digital literacy instruction an essential part of an assignment for another class the student was taking.

Technology Mentors

ALLIES Grants


ALLIES made the following grants:

Computer Literacy for Beginning ESL Learners Classes

Institution: Campbell Adult and Community Education

Grant: $2,409

Description: CACE surveyed teachers about their training needs and then made a technology mentor available. Over 65 percent of teachers met with the tech mentor at least once. Additionally, CACE developed digital literacy objectives for ESL levels 1-5.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report, Video Explanation

Tools: Tech Mentor Training Topics for Teachers

Digital Literacy Class for Basic ESL Learners

Institution: Sunnyvale-Cupertino Adult School, Fremont Union High School District

Grant: $2,550

Description: This project developed and delivered a yearlong class for basic ESL learners. The curriculum included: basic computer skills such as booting up and shutting down the computer; use of mouse; navigation of tool bar; and creation of word documents. The class was originally six instructional hours, but expanded to nine.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report

Digital Literacy Workshops for Basic and Intermediate level ESL Students

Institution: Gavilan College

Grant: $2,303

Description: The Gavilan College ESL Department offered a series of Digital Literacy Workshop to the Beginning to Intermediate level ESL students. Seven workshops were offered on the following topics: “Creating and Using Email,” “Voice Thread,” “Searching the Internet,” “Photo Searching and Editing,” “Presentation Platform: Popplet,” “Shopping on the Internet,” and “Using YouTube to Practice English.” The first five workshops were applicable to the students’ coursework in their Listening/Speaking classes. The last two workshops were more for personal growth, so the students could learn to use the Internet responsibly and for learning or practicing English on their own. The grant money was used to pay instructors to prepare and present the workshops. A small percentage of the grant money funded the Activity Director, who organized and marketed the workshops, created a survey to evaluate them, and reported on the grant activities.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report

Tools: Class Description

Digital Literacy Classes: Emailing, Basic Computer Skills, and Internet/Cyber Security

Institution: Jefferson Adult Education

Grant: $2550, Project cost: $3,500

Description: Jefferson Adult developed curriculum for three digital literacy classes: emailing, basic computer skills (keyboarding, hardware, Microsoft Word) and internet/cyber safety. The format of the class was one session per week for nine weeks and they measured learning through pre- and post-session evaluations.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report

Tools: Digital Literacy Skills

ESL Student Peer Assessment of Basic Computer Competencies and Technology Mentors for Staff

Institution: Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education

Grant: $1,533

Description: The project included two separate professional development activities. First, we finalized a peer assessment of basic computer skills. The assessment had been designed for use in ESL classes at the beginning-high level up to the advanced level. The grantee wanted to address the great differences in computer abilities of ESL students at the same language level. However, after working with assessment, it became clear that the English in the assessment was comprehensible only to advanced level ESL students. Instead, the grantee opted to use the peer assessment as a guide for instruction and as a post assessment after students had completed several sessions in the computer lab and had opportunities to learn the necessary English. Two technologically proficient staff members served as mentors for other instructors who needed assistance in planning curriculum and/or teaching computer competency to students.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report

Tools: Computer Skills Peer Assessment

Digital Literacy Student Assessment

Institution: Vision Literacy

Grant: $2,555

Description: Vision Literacy developed a Digital Literacy Assessment tool. It consists of an initial assessment and 4 levels of pre- and post-assessments, it is in printed format and contains a scantron like answer sheet.
The assessment scale is similar to CASAS assessment; it is grouped by specific topics so that the answers can also indicate the areas of improvement.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report

Digital Literacy Inventory and Assessment

Institution: West Valley College

Grant: $2329

Description: The purpose of this grant was to determine the digital literacy skills necessary for English language learners to be successful in ESL classes at West Valley College (WVC) through the collaboration with local adult schools such as Campbell Adult and Community Education (CACE). The grantee first developed an inventory of digital skills necessary for success, and then arranged a half-day visit of adult school students and teachers to WVC campus. Teachers from both institutions surveyed the incoming students about their digital skills and observed them as they applied online at the community college website, CCCApply.org. The grantee used a checklist to determine and chart the observed abilities. The results revealed that this particular group of adult school students had solid digital literacy skills and the survey indicated that they wanted to learn specific software. Most of the students demonstrated a high degree of skill with the computer and familiarity with forms and conventions on the internet. As the students filled out the online application, the grantee learned that there are a number of barriers to applying online as a non-resident or visa holder that needed to be addressed in order to make the experience more “user-friendly.”

Resources:

More Information: Final Report

Tools: Student Survey of Skills

Using E-Portfolios to Store and Share Work

Institution: Cañada College

Grant: $2508

Description: Many faculty at Cañada College are utilizing e-portfolios to measure Program Learning Outcome and Institutional Learning Outcomes. To ensure that ESL students are prepared for this emerging digital requirement, the ESL Department planned and executed a mini-project designed to train faculty in off-campus classes with low-level students to create a Google Sites e-portfolio and to post an assignment. The project included developing a template for student use and a training e-portfolio to aid in faculty training. Seven faculty were trained and 100 students participated.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report, Video Explanation

Tools: E-Portfolio Information

Three partial literacy curriculum and online ESL resources

Institution: Sequoia Adult School

Grant: $2,555

Description: Sequoia Adult School’s Digital Literacy grant gave the school an opportunity to explore ways to help students achieve digital literacy. The grantee developed a curriculum to teach students the basics of computer use. Nine workshops were taught; each consisted of three 2.5-hour classes. Students acquired computer vocabulary and skills that will help them in their continuing education. A list of web sites that target ESL learners was also compiled, allowing students to use learning sites outside of the classroom.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report, Video Explanation

Digital literacy content lessons and digital literacy tutors for students

Institution: Palo Alto Adult

Grant: $2,555

Description: The Palo Alto Adult School ESL Program digital literacy project is titled “Making Connections: Digital Literacy Life Skills for Students.” The project involves the creation and implementation of 6 content-based lessons that incorporate digital literacy into our El Civics units on Educational Opportunities (14.7), Interacting with Educational Institutions (13.6) Health (28.5) and Employment (33.8) The lessons range from the beginning low to the advanced level and supplement the paper-based lessons for each of these topic areas by teaching students to use the internet to research academic and vocational programs offered by local community colleges and adult schools, send an email message to a child’s teacher and complete an on-line medical history and job application.

Students who have low-level digital literacy skills and who need extra help completing the assigned tasks are referred to our tutor coordinator for pairing with a digital literacy tutor for 1-1 instruction and practice. Similarly, teachers who need assistance preparing and presenting the lessons to their classes receive individual assistance from our tech mentor teacher.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report

Technology Mentor Program: Building Digital Literacy Skills in Teachers

Institution: San Mateo Adult School

Grant: $2,190

Description: San Mateo Adult School hired a technology mentor who is also an ESL teacher to work with ESL instructors who wanted to develop effective ways to infuse technology in their classroom lessons. Teachers listened to an initial presentation on the types of applications that might be used to improve some aspect of an ESL student’s learning. After teachers selected specific projects to work on, the mentor spent time with them individually to develop the projects and follow up on implementation. The grant led to a number of discoveries about the best ways to use a mentor and future plans about providing technology mentorship to the teachers.

Resources:

More Information: Final Report, Video Explanation

Building Digital Literacy Skills of ESL Instructors

Institution: MetroEd

Grant:

Description:

Resources:

More Information: Video Explanation