Tag Archives: Adult Education

Starting a Library Literacy Program for Adults

I just found this fantastic post written by Esther Chase, an Adult Literacy Program Coordinator at Berwyn Public Library in Illinois. This blueprint is full of great ideas for any type of literacy partnership. I also spend some time browsing the wealth of links on Esther’s Libraries and Literacy blog. I highly recommend “checking out” the free guide.

Get it? “Checking out”? Library? *Groan*

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September 24, 2013 · 9:48 am

Resources for Teaching Tech for the GED® Test

Computer-based GED® testing has already arrived in many states. Starting January 2, 2014, the new version of the GED® test will only be delivered on computers-though still only at official GED® testing centers! Writing must be typed on a QWERTY keyboard instead of handwritten or on a mobile device keyboard. Test-takers will also have to drag-and-drop answers, select from drop-down-menus, use an on-screen calculator and formula sheet, and read text by scrolling and clicking on tabs.

In learning about the new format of the test, some instructors in a recent training in Cleveland, Ohio shared resources to help their students (and themselves) learn the computer skills needed for the test.


The silly dancing mouse leads the way to a focused introduction to many of the main computer skills that will be required for the new test. Also available in Spanish. I was impressed by the simplicity of this tutorial: no music or flashing lights, just the basics. Learning to use the mouse is challenging enough!

Many thanks to Chris Rippel of the Central Kansas Library System for creating this great resource and making it available for free.


With over 750 lessons and 250 videos, this site is full of helpful information and activities to increase computer skills.
Under Computer Basics, I highly recommend the Interactives, especially Mouse Tutorial and Parts of the Keyboard.

The Beehive’s Digital Basics

I appreciate this site’s focus on using the internet safely. I’ve known many students and instructors excited to try out smartphones or broadband at home, only to get a virus or scammed. Vocabulary seems too difficult for low level readers.

LearningExpress Library

INFOhio offers this service for free to Ohio residents. You can login to INFOhio using the user name: INFOhio and the password: power. Next you can go to > Electronic Resources Core Collection > Learning Express Library (LEL), and then create your own LEL account name and password. You’ll find materials for GED Test Preparation as well as popular software tutorials. Recommended for intermediate computer users and independent readers looking to study from their home computer or to improve their employability.


Teknimedia’s CBT100

Looking for lessons and activities specific to the computer-based 2014 GED® Test? Teknimedia delivers. Test it out with three sample lessons and a 30 day free trial.

GED Academy’s Computer Essentials

To accompany its existing online test preparation program, GED Academy is developing a “course that teaches itself and doesn’t require you to become an expert in computer literacy skills.” Coming soon!

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing

Mavis Beacon is a classic software in computer learning labs for all ages. The program provides structured lessons and activities to build typing skills. Now they also offer a free Facebook game called Movie Mayhem!

Online Practice

The following websites don’t provide explicit digital literacy instruction for beginning or intermediate computer users. However they can give students practice with clicking, navigating tabs, scrolling, and drop-down menus, all while studying content assessed on the GED® Test:

The importance of partnerships

Instructors shared resources in the Cleveland community that either offer their own computer literacy programs, or would be willing to partner and teach the skills needed for computer-based testing. These include:

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Filed under Adult Education, Computer-Based Testing, Education, Free Cool Online Tools, GED Test Instructors, GED Test Preparation, Uncategorized

CAACE: Exciting Strategies & Technology to Prep Learners for the 2014 GED Test

My first full day workshop on Teaching Adults: GED® was great fun in Bristol, CT! We had a packed workshop of about 80 attendees, mostly instructors. Many of them brought their own tablets and laptops and earned a Tech Savvy sticker. Before the session started, people were very curious & most were excited about the possibility of getting stickers. Other attendees got an Experienced Educator sticker for having 20 or more years teaching adult education. Our most experienced had 43 years under her belt! 42 of the participants also signed up for a student account and joined our Edmodo group, which earned them an online badge. I love those little ways of making workshops fun and demonstrating transferrable tech/non-tech strategies.

CAACE hosted the workshop at the Bristol Adult Education Center, which was the first in the state to implement computer-based GED® testing. The facility was fully equipped with SMARTboards, multiple computer labs, re-sizable rooms with dividers…a fantastic space for a large group training. Their Director, Maria Groody, also made it a great experience by emphasizing having a relaxed, fun day together. I tried to take full advantage of the amenities, especially to highlight some possibilities for technology in GED® Test Prep instruction. Unfortunately I lost my own “Tech Savvy” sticker because I couldn’t stop touching the SMARTboard! I’m used to my own chalkboard back in Cleveland.

The first half of the day was my typical “Top 5 GED Changes” presentation, with the Q&A and reflection in pairs and large groups. We had a fresh-off-the-press new version of the book sampler with updated information that had just been reviewed by the GED Testing Service. That was exciting, and as always we generated some interesting discussion.

The afternoon I really got to switch it up by sending participants into small groups in various classrooms & computer labs to create their own lesson plans and post them on Edmodo. Such creativity! The instructors really took to the challenge, finding free online content on relevant topics for their students like coordinate planes, school uniforms, body mass index, abortion, recycling, driver’s licenses… And the best part is all those lessons are now in our Edmodo group for participants to share and use again!

Download the template & create your own interdisciplinary lesson plan:

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Filed under Adult Education, Education, GED Test Instructors

Preparing Low Level Learners for the 2014 GED® Test

I don’t have many pictures to show for it but I greatly enjoyed my visit to Nashville, Tennessee for the USCAL Regional Conference. At the opening session, I approached a side table and sat down with three total strangers…and one turned out to be Linda Nelson! Twitter strikes again! Amazing. And of course she had brought along one of her AmeriCorps members, whom I promptly thanked for her service.

Linda and her AmeriCorps member both attended my workshop on Teaching Adults: A 2014 GED® Test Resource Book. This extended version focused on the relevance for teaching low-level learners, and gave participants a chance to create their own interdisciplinary lesson plans. Check out their creative creations  below, along with the presentation and handout. Then download the lesson plan template and make your own!

We also browsed some of the test item samplers generously provided by GED Testing Service on the website. To see the book sampler as a PDF, go to the product page at New Readers Press and click “View product.”

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Filed under Adult Education, Education, GED Test Instructors, Technology Integration

Six FREE Amazing Websites for GED® Test Prep

There so many websites for excellent, free content for GED® Test Preparation!

ProLiteracy Education Network

Free online resources and professional development for adult education students, instructors & administrators by ProLiteracy.

Example: 26 Tips for Working with Your Child’s Teacher

The Beehive

“Free help with money, housing, jobs, health and school. Available in English and Spanish.”

Example: Digital Basics: Learn How to Use the Computer and Internet Safely and Intelligently

Video: How to use the beehive


“TV411 is a collection of entertaining videos and engaging web activities, all designed to help you reach your learning goals. Pick a topic—reading, writing, vocabulary, math, science, or finance—and get started.”

Example: Fractions and Rhythm

GCF Learn Free

Quality online tutorials and courses for “anyone who wants to improve the technology, literacy and math skills needed to be successful in both work and life.”

Example: GCF Literacy Project

Khan Academy

Free videos and practice problems, mostly focused on mathematics but slowly expanding. The unique part of this site is not its content, but how students (and teachers) can track their progress using a free Facebook or Google account.

Example: The Beauty of Algebra

It can be hard to narrow your choices which content to use. This is especially true on sites like YouTube. Before you start, ask yourself this question:

What am I trying to teach or learn? What skill or piece of knowledge do I (or my students) need to know? Be specific!

Got it in mind? What is it? The Bill of Rights? How to find the lowest common denominator? Understanding poetry?

Now use your answer to focus your search through some of my favorite free websites for adult education & GED® Test Preparation. There are literally thousands of videos, tutorials and courses available here, so have fun searching:

YouTube…for Education!

Example: Why does a cat always land on its feet? A physics lesson from Smarter Every Day

Find what you were looking for on these sites? Please let me know!

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Filed under Education, Free Cool Online Tools, GED Test Instructors, GED Test Preparation, Technology Integration

Les Miserables: Adult Literacy & Electing a Pope

Les Miserables Book Cover

Get it now from Amazon

There are few books that give me as much perspective on TODAY’s world as it does on history. There are even fewer books on my must-read list, but Les Miserables is something I encourage EVERYONE to dig into at least once. Sure, you can be swept away by the movie or musical and be done in a few hours. The unabridged version of the book took me six months to get through. But it was worth every minute. It is a thousand short stories in one, each character in its own universe, each historical event described in lively detail that surrounds you with the grit and misery and hope. The musical adaptation barely even touches its depths.

For example, did you know that Jean Valjean was in an adult literacy program in his corrections facility? Those are the politically correct words we would use today, but Victor Hugo did not try to gloss over prison life in his portrait of the dirt cheap labor and unchecked violence pervading the only institution where slavery is still legal. (And the U.S. has enshrined this “permanent underclass” in our own constitution in the 13th amendment) Hugo has an interesting description of Valjean’s corrections education:

“At Toulon [the prison] there was a school for the prisoners conducted by some rather ignorant friars, where the essentials were taught to any of the men who were willing. He [Jean Valjean] was one. At forty he went to school and learned to read, write, and do arithmetic. He felt that to increase his knowledge was to strengthen his hatred. In certain cases, instruction and enlightenment can actually work to  underscore the wrong.”

So what’s the solution? Hugo actually calls several times for public education as a solution to grinding poverty, but he makes it clear that revolution or education without God and an ethical concern for the poor is no progress. You see Hugo’s vision very clearly in the first 100 pages of the book, mostly focused on the character of the Bishop of Digne. The movie has just one song from the pious Bishop Bienvenu [“Would you leave the best behind?”], but I can’t get him out of my head lately. I’d love his thoughts on current events, especially the election of a new Pope during March Madness (for example, you can participate by voting in the Sweet Sistine brackets). I just have to laugh to recall how Hugo described the Conclave contrasted with our saintly bishop’s ambitions:

“And as every there are the top brass, in the church there are rich miters. … And then there is Rome. A bishop who can become archbishop, an archbishop who can become a cardinal, leads you to the conclave; you enter into the rota, you have the pallium, there you are an auditor, you ate a chamberlain, you are a monseigneur, and from Grandeur to Eminence there is only one step, and between Eminence and Holiness there is nothing but the smoke of a ballot. Every cowl may dream of the tiara. In our day the priest is the only man who can regularly become a king, and what a king! The supreme king. So, what a nursery of aspirations is a seminary. … Who knows how easily ambition disguises itself under the name of a calling, possibly in good faith and deceiving itself, in sanctimonious confusion.

“Monseigneur Bienvenu, a humble, poor, private person, was not counted among the rich miters. This was plain by the complete absence of young priests around him. … We live in a sad society. Succeed-that is the advice that falls drop by drop from the overhanging corruption.”

Succeed at all costs. Is this the central, pounding drum beat of our education and our religion? Or is there something more to life, some higher calling that asks us to think differently about how society as a whole might progress, especially on behalf of those who are still enslaved in our midst?

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Filed under Book Reviews, Education, GED Test Instructors, Religion & Spirituality, Social Justice & Inclusivity

Available Now! Teaching Adults: A 2014 GED® Test Resource Book

Well, Farrell Scholars, the day has finally arrived. You can now order Teaching Adults: A 2014 GED® Test Resource Bookdue out in April exclusively from New Readers Press. Pre-order by April 30, 2013 for a 20% discount with the code GEDSO.

Teaching Adults GED CVR

Are you interested in bringing a workshop or webinar about the 2014 GED test or technology integration to your group or organization?

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