On Friday, May 16, 2014, two hundred adult educators from across the region joined field experts to discover innovative strategies to address the needs of adults lacking basic literacy and at The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy’s 26th Annual Technology and Adult Education Conference. The Conference was co-sponsored by Temple University’s Center for Social Policy and Community Development (CSPCD) and held on Temple University’s main campus. This year’s conference aimed to integrate technology into adult education and workforce development programs, thereby increasing the quality of instruction city-wide.
Adult learners today require educational opportunities that help fulfill a wide variety of technology, social, educational and workforce goals. The conference theme “Connected Learning in Adult Education” represents shifts in the way practitioners conceptualize teaching and learning in adult education. Nearly twenty workshops focused on practice-based integrations of technology into adult literacy instruction, curriculum design, and programming.
Topics included: an introduction to IBM Reading Companion software, extending the classroom community by building a class website, mobile and tablet applications that can bolster classroom instruction, instructional technology for adult basic and adult secondary education, and massive open online courses for college preparation and professional development.
The conference featured a presentation on the current state of KEYSPOT, a citywide coalition of community groups led by The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology, Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, and Drexel University, committed to bringing Internet access, training and technology to all Philadelphia communities. The presentation highlighted the city’s dedication to equipping all citizens with the work-ready skills required of today’s technology-based economy by continuing the successful work of KEYSPOT.
The afternoon featured lunch and a “Tech Talk” panel with Jeff Carter the Director of Adult Education Initiative at Digital Promise, Dr. Judith Rényi, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy and Cynthia Zafft Senior Advisor for the National College Transition Network and co-director for the LINCS Region 1 Professional Development Center for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. The “Tech Talk” explored the use of technology to enhance efforts in serving the needs of low-skilled adults. Panelists discussed the role that technology plays in three areas: (1) developing adult workforce education programs; (2) facilitating professional development for practitioners; and (3) building coalitions.
Next, Pearson ELT educational materials and desktop computer donated by Nonprofit Technology Resources were raffled off. Participants visited vendors and exhibitors like IBM, Aztec Software, Technology Learning Collaborative, KEYSPOT, Philadelphia Adult Literacy Alliance and The Free Library of Philadelphia.
A special thanks to all that attended and facilitated at the conference. We hope to see you back next year!