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My great pleasure to introduce Nell Eckersley all the way from New York

2020-01-15

She's going to give you a little more information about herself, but she's going to be talking about a very important topic, digital literacy, and a call to action, something that we can all be very, very interested in. Nell, thank you for being here today. Thank you so much Joyce, and thank you everybody for being here. This is an amazing event. In New York City, in New York state we are a little behind the curve on technology, and it's so exciting to be here where you actually have a conference just on adult ed and technology, so i'm very happy to be here. My name is Nell Eckersley, and I do come from New York City. I work at an organization called the Literacy Assistance Center, and our primary focus is professional development for adult educators. And then we also do the data system for the state, for all the WIOA programs, and we cover you know the different topic areas, ESL, science, math, and I do the technology piece. And like I said it's a real pleasure to be here today. I did want to talk a little bit about myself. So like I said, and as Joyce mentioned, I am from New York City now, but I grew up most of my life in Nebraska, and this picture is showing you something we're very proud of. It's its Carhenge, which is Stonehenge made out of cars, which is lovely, yes, some people have been here! Anyone whose been here you should raise your hand proudly, it's a lovely sight. Often covered in graffiti, but in this case was just painted. Freshly painted. And so moving from Nebraska to New York, it's interesting being in New York, if I say I'm actually from England, I was born in England and my family moved to the states when I was about 11, and if I say that in Nebraska that's a really big deal, if I say that in New York no one really cares. But if in New York I say "But I did grow up in Nebraska", that's much more exotic. So that's a point of pride for myself. Anyway so just to say, really the reason I bring that up though is that I do think, you know, having been to lots of different states and seeing the situations in different states, and the amount of people that we're serving, and the access to materials and hardware and things like that. We all have slightly different access, but it's amazing how similar the issues are across the states. With access to both hardware and professional development for teachers, time for teachers to play with technology, get familiar with technology, and then be able to bring it into the classroom is a struggle across the country I think. So some of the work that I do, as I mentioned I work at the Literacy Assistance Center. In New York City we also have a coalition that is our main advocacy arm called the New York City Coalition For Adult Literacy, and it really has done a lot of work. It's the first time we've had a standing coalition. Because one of the challenges in New York State and New York City, funding is competitive, and so while you're all together wanting more funding, when the RFP comes out you're all competing with one another. And so it's been challenging at times to maintain the coalition, because people have slightly different needs and wants, and this coalition has been around for at least I think the last eight or ten years. And it's really been great that we found a way to work together. You know we found a way to work with consensus basically, and it has led to some really great funding strides. We have very little, the New York City funding is around six million, and last year we actually got a boost of 12 million which is huge. And then it turned out to be a struggle to get that out to programs and so that was a challenge, but this year we're asking I think for 18 million in addition. So we'll see what happens with that. So we're mostly the advocacy we do is funding funding and also policies. So we've seen, I think probably as you have, the issues around WIOA are going to be challenging for our ESL programs particularly to serve the folks that they have historically served. People who maybe don't have social security numbers, the way that we've used EL Civics has been very different, so those kinds of issues have led to a lot of concern for programs that get that state funding. And so we're looking at ways that the city funding can maybe help to bolster some of that. I'll talk more about that. Another group that I work with is Collect Ed New York, and this was a response to the push for Common Core into adult ed before career and college readiness kind of came to the fore. And this is a great resource actually, and you can use it too. It's online. The idea was a crowdsource, online space for resources for teachers with the idea that teachers that would respond on the site and say what they did with these resources, vote on the resources as being valuable or not. And it's mostly around high school equivalency, but it's a really valuable resource. And I think the crowdsourcing component of that was very much something the programs fought for. The state had the vision, but the programs were the ones who put it together and felt it was very important to have teachers actually say this is a good resource. This is how I used it, so that other teachers could learn from them and also not feel like we weren't cramming things down their throats. I don't know how many of you know about LINCS. So LINCS and COABE are also two other organizations I've worked quite a lot with around technology. I was a technology moderator for LINCS, and then with COABE I worked a lot with them when they were developing their app that they use for their conference. And both of those experiences were great, and it really gave me a better view of how adult education and technology work together or don't work together across the country, because it is interesting to me how, as I mentioned earlier, there are similarities and then there are these sort of bright lights. I feel like OTAN is a bright light, right That you have this resource in your state is an amazing thing. In New York State we don't have that. We, we were taking the TISA on paper recently, and we're at about five percent of people taking the high school equivalency on computer. So we're very far behind as far as really getting the use of computers into our regular instruction in a meaningful way. Beyond those professional things, I just wanted to add in my love of hash browns. So if anyone if anyone can recommend the best hash browns around here you can tweet that out because, I will visit those places. I've also been knitting a lot lately. Pink hats mostly, but I have been knitting. And then roller derby is another one of my favorite things. So I'm just sticking that out there. So if you compare New York State to California, and I think one of the confusing things about New York State is we have New York City, which is this incredibly densely populated urban space, and then we have the rest of the state, where we do have another few large cities but nothing in comparison to New York City. And really large amounts of very, very sparsely populated areas. And so very different needs as far as adult education is concerned. We have a lot of migrant workers who come for periods of time and need education, but can't be there all the time, or can't necessarily get to a classroom. Where in New York City like I said this incredibly densely populated space, which actually still has challenges around infrastructure and getting people from one place to another. But here you can get a sense of the size that we're talking about. So I think California's a little bit similar, that you have some really large urban centers, and then you have more agricultural areas where there are different challenges. Different access issues, whether it's to classrooms or whether it's to technology whatever. But it's similar. And probably around ESL and populations who need ESL I think there's some real similarities between California and New York state. And so poverty is another huge issue in New York state that is a little bit confusing, because New York City often doesn't show up on the indicators as having a lot of poverty, because our property values and things are so high in these extreme ways. But even in the city we had this huge range of income, and poverty, and education, because the city is just such a there's so many people, but there's such a range in those areas. So it often falls off the map when you look at a map like this. And one of the challenges for New York City is that if you've ever been to the city or seen a subway map, a lot of people think the subway map is what New York City looks like. So it becomes the image you have in your head and if you look at that map, Manhattan's huge. Right But Manhattan is actually what, the smallest borough, and Staten Island, which is that tiny little island on the bottom there, that's actually probably our second largest borough. So that if you have that visualization of the city, as far as where people live, or what's going on, or how the city works together, it's actually very false. The other map is showing you what happens when you go in a cab. And the cabs really only care about this bottom part of Manhattan. So again there's this sort of lost population, which is where most of people in New York City live whether they're poor or rich. So it's a very weird - the visual piece compared to what's really happening - is very disconnected. So this is what we actually look like if you see the sizes of the different boroughs, and so Manhattan is really the smallest. But we have a very large population, and the Bronx has definitely the highest level of poverty. Here we have a map that's broken down by people who don't have their high school diploma or any higher education, and you can see again Manhattan really doesn't have that as an issue. You get up in the Bronx you get into areas of Brooklyn or Queens, really large groups of populations don't have high school diplomas. And similar with people who aren't necessarily proficient or have limited English, right So again the populations in Manhattan very different than what's going on in the outer boroughs. So as far as how services are delivered, as far as the needs of those communities, very very different things are happening or need to happen in those places. And this is just a comparison, quick comparison, of the differences between, again, generally Manhattan and the Bronx compared - in looking at their high school equivalency or high school graduation rates - and you can see a huge difference there. So when we talk about when things are made out in generalities New York City really suffers because there's such extremes within a very small area. So this is the website for the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy, and as I said we were very happy last year that we were able to - the guy who's showing his thumb, he is a city council member from my district actually, and he really was very instrumental in getting us this increase in funding. So we found some heroes, some people who have both worked on a state level and on a city level to help us with funding, which has been great. But every year this fight is started again. And I'm sure I know you have gone through a range of issues as far as funding is concerned and, the struggle is, you know that's just one more thing for us all to do, but it still continues to be a huge issue. And our hashtag in New York City is #literacyliftsnyc, and we really have found that's been a very powerful - those of you who came to my Twitter session earlier and any of you who know about hashtags - the hashtag has been very powerful. So we've used it across all the social media areas. Students have made signs that say the hashtag and then say what's important to them. Why does adult literacy matter to them. And that was a very powerful piece of our advocacy work. But we still have a huge amount of people who are not getting - can't access our resources. Our classes are full. And so we're very interested in ways of expanding what we can do inside the classroom to ways of maybe helping people when they can't get into a class. And so we have you know who we're here to talk about technology, digital literacy obviously providing services that are available through mobile devices or through online medium could be really valuable. We just have to get it out there. We're still struggling with teachers not necessarily seeing that, not having time to maybe take their content and provide it in that way. And so that's for me become one of my big soapbox moments is that is really around mobile. And the use of mobile as a way to make sure that students have access to the content they get in the classroom when they're outside the classroom, but also for those who can't even get into classes can they access that content and practice on their mobile devices while they're waiting. So as you have issues with WIOA I'm sure, we have issues with WIOA, and certainly the way it's going to change some of our data management we have a large, I don't have the numbers, but it's a huge number of the folks that we serve in our ESL classes, are, without, do not have social security numbers. So if we're tracking their outcomes via social security number, that's going to be a really big issue for us. And we historically have not done that. We've not been a data match state. So under WIA we did not do data matching. We all had to be a test station via survey which is a lot of work, but now we're not even sure if that's going to be possible to do anymore. The fact that EL Civics is no longer going to provide, we can't provide the instruction that we have historically provided is a huge issue again. That now it's going to be much more related to a career pathway method where we see a lot of folks who don't need that support. We have a lot of people who have jobs, but they need to be able to talk to their the teachers of their children and work in their neighborhoods and so we're really trying to figure out ways to cover that kind of service when the WIOA funding will not do that. Our relationship with workforce has not always been very close. We live very different lives. Very different cultures and so this is a time to find those relationships, and to connect with one another, but that's a real challenge and we've been more and more active in the workforce side trying to meet those folks. But it's a challenge and I'm guessing it's a challenge here too. Developing career pathways that can serve people at the lowest levels is a challenge for us you know when people talk about career pathways they tend to be for folks who've already kind of got a certain level of ability with English, so how can we get those, how would, we started talking about things like on-ramp so the on-ramp to the career pathway right how can we do that and then serving people with low levels of proficiency do programs even want to do that if they know that it's going to make it very hard for them to have the outcomes they need and our programs are very committed to that but it's going to be made into a bigger struggle for them to do that, and to maybe to get their administration's to support that in New York City and New York State we provide the adult education through community-based organizations, community colleges, libraries, and the Department of Education. So it's a real kind of network of programming that's done, and very different in very different ways. So Department of Education is the biggest program, community-based organizations can be very small, and they all need the same, the teachers need the same training and everyone needs can get access to the same stuff. So having said all that, slightly depressing stuff, I want to talk about why we we still have to add digital literacy in there. And one thing I will say about WIOA compared to WIA, is that WIOA does at least have a definition for digital literacy and I actually like it. I think it's a very powerful definition, for us in that if you were to take out technology from this definition, this is kind of what we do. Right When you're teaching adult education, or you're teaching adult literacy we are trying to help our students develop and strengthen their skills, to find, evaluate, organize, create, and communicate information. Right They might have to do it in a language that's not their own, they might have to do it at a level that they're not used to doing, because they didn't finish school, But we've been doing this anyway and now what we're doing is we're saying you need to bring technology into that. So bring that in. Use technology as a way to help, and continue, and deepen those skills. And if we think about technology, I think we tend to think that we're talking about the big steps that are blocking us are things like access to hardware, access to internet, knowledge of how to use the hardware, and those are big stumbling blocks in the beginning, but really those are the skills and the access that you have to deal with at the very beginning and after that these other skills. It's all about information. Our current sense of technology is really about information, and what we're doing with information, and we live in a world right now - the reason that this is called a Call to Action - is that we are living in a world right now, where information, critical thinking, facts, are something that we all need to really develop a stronger sense of how to use them, and how to get to them, and how to retain them, whether we're teachers or students. When I talk about technology and information, and I mentioned this in the workshop this morning, the first thing that we all do is we consume information. We're really good at consuming. I usually ask everyone who has ever watched a video on YouTube raise your hand. Yeah. So I think that's a 100%, I'm going to guess it's 100% and if I asked how many people had ever created a video and put it on to YouTube, and you know you guys are ahead of the pack, but usually the numbers go down quite drastically when I asked that question. And then if I say "How many of you ever created a playlist on YouTube" Right So the numbers go down even a little bit more and it's not you have to do all those things but it's an example of how we're really good with the consuming, we're kind of middling with the creating, and when the curating, we might not be aware that we should be paying more attention to that. But we're doing all of those things. So if you have a Facebook page or Facebook profile, you probably created it, you put out some content there, you've read other people's content, and you've probably unfriended someone, and that's a form of curation, but those are important skills. And we are doing them, but are we doing them consciously are we making choices that we're really thinking through and recognizing fitting into these three areas. SAMR is another way I like to think about integrating technology and I think it's important, because a lot of people get into the substitution. Right And they feel like that's how they've done their digital literacy. So you know I used to do a cookbook with my class and it went from being something that was handwritten to when we got computers, I think we probably got to a place where people typed it in. So they typed the recipes in and printed them out. But now we could get, so that's substitution. Right We just substituted as a pen and paper for using a keyboard on to a computer. And that's not bad. There are skills there that are great. You know there are real benefits to it. But it really is just substitution and after you've done that once or twice, maybe you can start thinking about maybe students could create hyperlinks inside their document, or they could take that content and put it up into a blog, or they could do something else. So you're taking it up these, or in this case, down these stairs, but basically going from substitution to augmentation to modification so this is a call to you and as you are at this conference the idea is that you are already believe that there is a need and a benefit to using technology in our instruction. You may still be looking for ways to do it and you may still be looking for answers to questions that you have, or solutions to problems that you have, and you know only too well the challenges of using technology beyond having the access its "Will it work today", 'cause it might not, but that you're already here. But you're coming from programs where you probably have colleagues who are not doing any of this. They're not here today. They don't really know that technology is beneficial. They might think it's actually a barrier, or an interruption, or something that messes things up. We certainly had in New York City I think, a real a group of folks who think that technology is an interruption, but it is maybe you should learn to read in a book before you learn to read on a computer. And I'm not saying you shouldn't learn to read in a book, but I would say you should do both, and I think in our world today we're all doing that. Right We might read on an e-reader, but other times we're reading on paper, and that's fine. But that's we shouldn't not be doing it because we don't know how, and I think that's what we're saying for our students too, you don't have to do it if you don't want to later on, but you need to learn how, and then you can make a choice not to do it. So I am calling to you as people who are interested and involved, and here today, to consider yourselves as ambassadors for digital literacy, and think about ways that you can bring that energy back to your colleagues and to people that you see every day. I don't come from being a very technological my family is not very techy, and I grew up probably not feeling very able, not feeling like I could make things happen. And I had a roommate in college who we had a very old VCR and she would just take it apart when it stopped working, and it might lie on the floor in pieces for a few days, but she would fix it. It would break again, but she would fix it, and that sense of her belief that she could overcome. This was just a machine. It's very logical. You just you might not know the logic, but there is a logic there that she would try and try until she fixed it was such inspiration to me and I think it I don't have it with other things like knitting. If I had a problem, I put it away for a year, but with computers I'm much more likely to be like "Oh no, oh no, I'm going to overcome this problem." And I have a colleague at work and we're similar. We'll take a whole day to try and figure out this problem, because there is a belief that we can overcome this. A lot of people don't have that with technology. A lot of people think it's just me, I'm the only one, but every time I try to use this, it breaks. Every time I turn on the projector, it doesn't work. and that's- we probably have things like that in all of our lives. It might not be technology. They're probably other things that you have where you go in believing that it's not going to work. In my family my mother and my sister and I went to buy a flat screen TV. This is early in the flat screen TV world, and I think when we left the store that I might have been rubbing my hands in anticipation of the excitement of overcoming obstacles, where my mother and my sister were like, "Oh this is going to be bad" and sure enough we got home and we were missing a cable. And I was like "Oh missing a cable. I get to go find the right one" and for them it was "We're missing a cable. I knew it. Gonna be terrible." And I got the cable and then I still didn't know how to do inputs. I'd never had done anything with inputs before and I figured it out. It was very frustrating. So at any one moment I was frustrated, but we got it to work. And at the end, my memory is, success. My sister, my mother's memory is "Yeah it sucked. It was horrible. Never going to do it again." So think in your own life, right, of those things that you have, experiences you've had with that as your perception. Right That it's going to be terrible, and then it kind of is terrible, even if it worked out this time. It won't work out next time. That probably isn't technology for you. That's probably why you're here, but your colleagues, many of them will have that feeling about technology. And so helping them to see and experience positive experiences around technology, and helping them to notice success when they have it, I think is really important. So anyway I'm asking you to consider as you go through the conference, ways that you can take back what you've learned here and inspire just even one more person that you're where you work or someone in your family, or whatever, and just let's keep this momentum going and energy going, so we can get more people involved. I am going to ask you now, to go to this Padlet. So to go to the Padlet, you can either type in that link on your mobile device, or you can scan that QR code, and I want you to share your favorite technology tool for consuming, creating, or curating technology, or information, and you can do one for each, you can just do one, but I'm just asking you to share a tool that you use in the consumption, or creation, or curation of technology. And then we can have that list all together, and that can help us find new things that we want to do. There is a workshop this afternoon on Padlet, which if you enjoy this Padlet experience, you should definitely check it out. So go ahead and work on that if you should get a screen that looks like this green and yellow thing, and you should maybe get a pink plus sign, and you should click on that and that should let you type something in. So you just have to type in a tool. Yeah, and that's probably I don't know if it is case sensitive or not someone can yell out if it is. So while you're typing that in, I will go to them. Going to give you a little bit of a moment to to get there- I see people scanning the QR code. It's very cool. Yeah, you might not be in strong enough contrast, if you're trying to scan it. So it's NELLTPLS2017 is that last piece of the link. Alright. I'm going to go out and see what's happening. Alright. So we're getting some good tools in here. Now you can go in and edit your post if you found that you got out- stuck out of it too soon. Well we got some good lists going on. So like I said, you're gonna have a copy of this link and you can come back to it, you can keep adding things to it, but I'm liking the tools I'm seeing. Oh I think someone's asking the question, "Which podcasts" So feel free to share podcast here if you have specific ones that you like. So one of the benefits, for example, with Padlet Right this is something we often would have done maybe on chart paper, or maybe you would have put some you know written something down and handed it in, but it would've been very hard for me to get that information back out to you. And now we all have this Padlet we can come back to, even after we leave today. Excellent! I'm very excited about these tools. So you can keep going. I'm going to go back to our Powerpoint. Yeah you can take a photo of this if you want for later, and especially if you take a photo using Google Keep. I believe that the text recognition might make this into a link for you. But that'll be a test. You can try it out. And I notice that no one wrote Padlet yet, on Padlet, which you should, probably someone should write Padlet on there. It's not posting Alright. Well I'm going to move on, but i'm- right, thank you so much for responding- and keep responding, and keep checking back on this Padlet, because it is ours as a suggestion of tools that we can continue using. So the call to action. I have a first few steps to suggest. One is building your network. So those of you who came to the Twitter session this morning, we talked about how Twitter can be used as your own personal learning network, and I really do believe that Twitter for me is very valuable. I can go there for you know five minutes in the morning and find three new tools and then i'm done for the day. But I've got that new information flowing in. Pinterest is another place where you can find people to follow who are posting things about educational technology or whatever topics you're interested in, and when you're ready to go get some new information you can go there to look for it. And Paper.li you might not be aware of. Paper.li is another tool for basically trawling the internet, and it will pull in any topics it sees related to the search that you created. So if you follow my Twitter, you'll see that I have several Paper.li's that go out on mobile learning, on adult education, and technology. So every day it's pulling that content in, and whenever I want to, I can go there and read it, and it's basically an online magazine. So these are ways to get information to come in to me when I'm and I'm someone who prefers to have it be there waiting for me. I don't really want to get 50 more emails a day, or get my phone blinking lights at me, or making noises, because there's a notification. I'm very much a person who wants to go get it when I'm ready for it. So I have to create these tools, these spaces that that contents going into and then I can go get it. If you're someone who likes to get a text message or a tweet or a email, and get the notification immediately, you can set that up too. But what I like about all these tools is that sense, that they are sitting there waiting for me when I'm ready, and have space in my mind, in my life, to get more information. But it doesn't have to be an online community. You are a community of people here at this technology conference. You have colleagues who are here with you today, your colleagues who are back at your work sites. So build your network. Right Build your network so that you are learning and you have opportunities to practice and demonstrate to others. And this is our Twitter with our hashtag, which is definitely an online community at this point. Another idea is when you go back maybe start having a lunch and learn. Right So once a month, once a week, you have an opportunity, like today, we had to slam while we ate. Right So this is an opportunity for you to share with others and others to share with you. It, we've tried it at my work a few times, but it's never taken off, and so it is hard to do, to get it going, but I think if there's a sincere desire to do it, it can be something that works really well. And here are some suggestions on the topics to cover. These just happen to be one organizations idea of the basic digital skills that every teacher should have, but what if we could get through this list and have something from each of these groups demonstrated in the next nine months. Right They'll be very powerful, very valuable. Coaching is another tool, and I think we, again, at the Literacy Assessment Center, we mostly provide one off, three our workshops that are a great way to start, but it's very hard, and this is a challenge to you while you're at this conference, not while you're here, but when you leave. Right So you did all this amazing stuff here and now you go home and life gets in the way. Normal everyday stuff means that you can't take action on the things perhaps that you found here that were really valuable to you. So coaching is a great way to help other people and help yourself, perhaps, move through a process. I'm working on a group right now where we met twice, and now as group, and then now we're meeting sort of individually, and helping teachers really think about taking one tool and moving it into their instruction. So here are some articles that might be helpful for you if you're interested in starting that up with your program. Certainly we've seen the best results as far as teachers who went from not using technology to really incorporating it and integrating it well. It took them an opportunity to work sort of one-on-one with someone who could advise them and help them work through challenges they saw and actually just do it. Because just doing it is it is actually a huge step. And as you learn so much and it usually isn't as terrible as you might think. And then actually the very first step, and this is where I'm going to leave you today, and this is kind of the important thing I think at conferences where you can get so much information and then go home and not take any action, is setting intention. So I don't know if you heard of FutureMe.org, but FutureMe.org is a website where you can basically set up an email that will come to you at a set time. The least amount of time is a month. So what I've done now at few conferences for myself is that, at the beginning of the conference, I send myself an email via FutureMe.org, to come in a month, and in the email, now I write the three things I want to have done. So by the time I get this email, what are the three things that I want to promise myself that I'm going to do, and that's setting your intention. Not only did you have to think about that while you're writing it now- right so by the tenth of April I will have tried out Padlet, I will have made a QR code, and I will have made one, at least one video and shared it with my students. Then once you send yourself this email on the tenth of April, you're going to get that email and say "Did you do those things" and it's not like it's terrible. You just sent it to yourself, but it really helped me be much clearer and what is it that I really want to take away What is it that I really you know if the prioritization here what is it I really want to do And then getting that email is a good reminder, because possible you didn't get to it yet, but you'll get that email and it will be a time for you to review what you want to have done, and what you were able to actually do. So, that is what I had to say today, and again, I have to say how incredibly impressed I am by this conference, and by the people here in the presentations I went to this morning, and looking at the catalog. So I hope you all had an amazing time here, and I hope that this is a bolstering experience for you. It takes you further along your you're challenging walk to doing more with technology in your own lives. So thank you very much.