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Welcome to the AlphaPlus Tech Podcasts featuring adult literacy educators and researchers talking about using technology. Too often the great work and new ways of doing things are hidden away so this way you can listen to practitioners and researchers about the role and impact of technology use in adult basic education.

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Leah Morris and Sara Gill discuss the Clear Writing online course available through Learning Networks of Ontario

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Leah Morris

Leah Morris
Sarah Gill
Sara Gill

Leah Morris is the Executive Director of the Adult Basic Education Association in Hamilton, has been a Clear Writing consultant for 25 years and is recognized by the Learning Networks of Ontario for that expertise. 

Sara Gill is the Assistant Executive Director of Adult Basic Education Association in Hamilton and is a Learning Networks of Ontario recognized Clear Writing consultant. Sara is a graduate of AlphaPlus Moodle training.

In this podcast, recorded on Skype, Leah talks about clear writing, the benefits of gaining clear writing expertise, the training approach using guidelines, and the types of clear writing recognition course trainees can choose to work to gain.

Sara shares why an online course using Moodle was developed, the integrated use of other technology tools used, logistics about accessing the Clear Writing training, and features of the Moodle course management and learning management systems work to support the delivery of this training. 

The Adult Basic Education Association is the lead agency for the Learning Networks of Ontario Clear Writing Course Delivery and Recognition Process.  The Clear Writing course is housed on the AlphaPlus Virtual Classroom for Adult Educators site.

To learn more and to register for training, visit Learning Networks of Ontario
If the network site is down or not accessible please contact Sara at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Suzanne Smythe speaks about incorporating digital technologies in Adult Basic Education

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Suzanne Smythe, Lecturer in Literacy and Adult Education at the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, speaks about her report, Incorporating Digital Technologies in Adult Basic Education: Concepts, Practices and Recommendations.

Exploring how digital technology is changing what it means to be literate in today’s world, Suzanne looks closely at the impact digital technology has on teaching and learning in Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs.

In this podcast recorded on Skype, Suzanne talks about her research about the use of digital technologies at various adult education programs and elaborates on some of the five Vignettes in the report that put literacy practitioners centre stage.

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Donna M. Chovanec and Amy Meckelborg discuss Social Networking Sites and Adult Literacy Learning: Raising the Issues

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Donna M. Chovanec

Amy Meckelborg

Donna M. Chovanec, Associate Professor in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta, and Amy Meckelborg, Coordinator, EdTech Services Training and Development, speak about their paper, Social Networking Sites and Adult Literacy Learning: Raising the Issues. In this paper, Donna and Amy explore how educators and adult learners might harness the full potential of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and other social media in the service of adult literacy teaching and learning.

In this podcast recorded on Skype, Donna and Amy give an overview of the background and the main questions explored in the paper, reflect on the type of literacy in the context of their work, and talk about the roles of digital citizenship. Furthermore, they discuss the issue of the digital divide, the concept of “Over the Shoulder Learning”, and offer reflections on how the digital divide may be addressed at the program level. The podcast concludes with a summary of the highlights of the findings.

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Rory McGreal discusses cloud computing and why is it important for adult literacy

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Rory McGreal, Associate Vice President of Research at Athabasca University and UNESCO/COL Chairholder in Open Educational Resources, discusses the report What is cloud computing and why is it important for Adult Literacy. Rory co-authored this recent AlphaPlus publication with Griff Richards, Associate Professor of Distance Education and Director of the Technology Enhanced Learning Research Institute at Athabasca University, and Brian Steward, Vice President Information Technology at Athabasca University.

Cloud computing could make a real difference to the adult literacy field in Ontario and across Canada. One of the strongest arguments the report makes is related to cost – in a cloud computing environment organizations and programs could potentially realize significant savings, and pay only for the computing power they actually use. In our conversation with Rory, we ask him to reflect on the benefits of cloud computing, issues of security and privacy, strong and weak Internet connections, and the role of governments and literacy organizations to seize on the opportunities cloud computing offers.

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Tim Nicholls Harrison discusses Reconceptualizing Adult Basic Education and the Digital Divide

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Tim Nicholls Harrison, literacy instructor and Manager of the Adult Learning Centres, Grey-Bruce-Georgian in Ontario, discusses Reconceptualizing Adult Basic Education and the Digital Divide developed by Elisabeth Hayes -University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Based on the premise that computer-based instruction offers learners engaging, motivating, and effective learning opportunities, and that “digital literacies” play a crucial role for adults in accessing information, obtaining better jobs, and helping children succeed in school, Hayes presents an interesting argument that adults without access to technologies are disadvantaged and that curriculum without their integrated use further reinforced the digital divide.

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Heidi Silver- Pacuilla discusses Investigating the Language and Literacy Skills required for independent online learning

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Heidi Silver- Pacuilla from the American Institutes of Research discusses her research report titled Investigating the Language and Literacy Skills required for independent online learning.

The report examines the “threshold” levels of literacy and language proficiency needed to use the internet for independent learning. The study drew data from three sources, large scale surveys, a literature review, and from field surveys. It points to the importance of ongoing support for learners, including distance coaching, face-to-face facilitation and readily accessible technical support so that they can maximize the benefits of online learning,

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Interview with Tim Nicholls Harrison

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TimTim Nicholls Harrison a longtime literacy instructor and Manager of the Adult Learning Centres, Grey-Bruce-Georgian in Ontario tells us how he “discovered” Web 2.0 technology and shares his knowledge and experience about how technology can be an exciting and practical tool in support of adult literacy teaching and learning.

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Interview with Tracey Mollins

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Tracey Mollins, a literacy worker and activist and an amazing online instructor and blogger at Literacies Café – shares her experiences, knowledge and wisdom – based on her extensive experience working with adult literacy students and her invaluable insights about the role that technology can and should play in teaching and learning.

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Interview with Rose Strohmaier

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Rose Strohmaier from the Community Learning Centre, South Frontenac, part of Kingston Literacy , Ontario, who tells us about how she uses a blog with her students and talks about her participation in the Getting Online course and much more.

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Interview with Laurie Gallant

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Laurie Gallant from English Montreal School Board shares his perspective, as an adult education instructor on the introduction of a new program in his school board which includes a greater emphasis on the use of technology. Laurie discusses the challenges and opportunities facing instructors with the introduction of the new program and the technology orientation and training needs of instructors.

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