Two years ago, AlphaPlus organized an advisory group to explore Open Educational Resources (OER) and establish criteria to build a collection for the field. The result is hundreds of FREE units, courses and instructional support materials (with more items being added) that you can use for reading, writing and math instruction, in addition to specific topics of interest to adult learners.

During the session we introduced the collection and demonstrated how it fills a gap, looked at a few example resources that rival paid resources and discussed priorities for adapting and modifying specific resources for your use in online and in-person settings.

Presenters

Christine Pinsent-Johnson
Policy and Research Specialist – Education and Technology at AlphaPlus

With over three decades of experience in the adult learning sector, Christine has a robust understanding of the circumstances hindering learning opportunities and access, and the impact of effective adult learning-based policies and programs. She has been a literacy volunteer, tutor coordinator, computer and classroom instructor, curriculum developer and assessor in school board and community adult literacy programs..

As an organizational development consultant, Christine applies her understanding of system dynamics, learner experiences, accountability processes and metrics, and pedagogy to support equitable and relevant learning opportunities. An experienced researcher, she also draws from evidence-based insights for initiatives, including an understanding of digital disparities in Ontario and Canada and the development of blended learning approaches.

Guylaine Vinet

Organizational Development Specialist – Education and Technology

For more than 20 years, Guylaine has worked in the adult literacy sector. Beginning her career as a librarian supporting literacy practitioners in the deaf and francophone communities, she now assists LBS organizations and practitioners in evolving their knowledge and application of technology and learning using coaching, team training and resource sharing. 

As an organizational development specialist, Guylaine provides service in French and English, specializing in information and cloud content management, curating learning resources, learning with tablets and mobile devices and technology problem-solving. Her areas of interest and professional development include online privacy and safety as well as assistive technology and information management. 

In her collaborations with LBS organizations as a technology consultant, Guylaine supports teams and educators to build their online resource collection, better understand digital privacy safety and best practices  and manage websites and content. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES MENTIONED BY PARTICIPANTS

OER RESOURCES LIKED/MENTIONED BY PARTICIPANTS:

  • CTRL-F
  • ESL BITS
  • “Writing on the Run looks good”
  • “BC Open collection looks amazing, especially resources for the trades”
  • “I like Core Vocabulary Word Pictures….has visual and simple words…”

Differentiated learning is an approach that offers opportunities for learners to customize a learning pathway to meet their learning needs, aspirations and preferences.

It can also empower learners to show what they know in different ways.

Learners are provided with multiple options for taking in information, making sense of ideas, and expressing what they learn.

Flexible learning is at the heart of differentiated instruction. Instructors design activities to meet the needs and capabilities of each learner or group of learners. If learners are working in groups, they might not be in the same group for every part of the lesson.

In differentiated instruction, instructors can support learner agency, confidence and independence by:

Read more about differentiated learning and possible activities to do with learnersarrow right

Disinformation is false information or information that distorts reality. Disinformation is intended to manipulate public opinion. Most of the time, it is transmitted through mass media or social media. There are several causes for the spread of false information and these can have serious consequences. Disinformation can affect citizens of all ages and education levels. There are ways to reduce the spread of disinformation.

Read more about disinformation and possible activities to do with learnersarrow right

We often hear questions from literacy practitioners about how to embed digital skills in literacy learning when working with learners who have emergent literacy and/or digital skills. They are looking for ways to support learners who may find it challenging to “catch up”  on digital skills independently.

We recommend an integrated, blended learning approach. We recommend the learning cycle that we use to teach other literacy skills where making meaning is the primary goal.

When we refer to foundational digital skills or computer basics, we are not talking about skills people need to learn before they engage in technology-rich learning environments and blended learning but the skills and strategies that people might need at different places in the learning cycle in order to complete communication, collaboration and creative tasks and to access resources and services.

Download this resource to reflect on a digital-skills learning cycle and find a collection of places that support learners with beginner literacy skills who want to learn more about using digital devices and connectivity for learning.

Blended learning and computer basicsarrow right
Where can I find computer basics lessons and activities?arrow right

After searching over 100 resources collections and lists from Canada, the U.S., U.K. and Australia, we have developed a fully vetted collection of workbooks, modules and activities that address a range of instructional topics in our Open Educational Resources and Instructional Materials Collection.

OER collection

To build the collection, Christine and Guylaine assembled a group of instructors from school boards and community groups, representing urban and rural communities across the province. Members work in program areas ranging from workforce development to academic, with diverse learner groups. They provided guidance to ensure the materials are

Take some time to explore the collection. You’re sure to find some gems that you can use right away.

Learn how to use Google Slides to create activities that learners can do alongside each other individually or in groups.

Check out the presentation below to see how. Click on the full screen icon (two arrows) in the bottom right corner to see a larger version.

To find templates for creating collaborative workspaces in Slides, check out the collection at Ditch that Textbook: ditchthattextbook.com/resources/templates

If you’d like to learn more about using Google slides as a collaborative workspace or schedule a demonstration, contact Tracey or our Quick Tech Help service.

Jamboard (Jamboard Tip Sheet) will be discontinued on December 31, 2024. Using Google slides this way is a possible alternative. In the Sample Jamboard folder you can see activities by some Ontario literacy practitioners (and me) that you can copy and adapt to the Google slides method.

You will also see a folder called EDTechTeacher Samples where you will find copies of many of the Jamboards that were shared in the shared in the Building digital skills with Google workshop.

You might have heard about MTML’s smartphone learning modules but we want to go a bit deeper to explore how they are applied in the literacy field and what other programs are doing when it comes to using smartphones with their learners. In this showcase, we explored the modules and discussed how smartphones are changing the way we learn, teach and use technology on a daily basis. 

Presenters

Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy
Also known as MTML, is a network of organizations and individuals supporting adult literacy in Toronto and York Region. 

Ambreen Ahmad, Managing Director

Ambreen has 20 years of experience in the education field. Possessing a Masters in English Literature and in Educational Planning and Management, she has maintained successful positions as a Vice Principal, English Language Instructor, Manager HR, Communication Executive and Literacy practitioner.
Currently, she is working as a Managing Director at Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy, a non-profit organization that supports adult literacy in Toronto and York Region. Her previous work experience and life-long learning certificates and diplomas bring a wealth of information to develop learning strategies, recruitment procedures and governance.
Her dedication and determination in helping individuals grow and develop are highlighted in all her professional achievements. She is also passionate about volunteering and has been an ardent volunteer in many non-profits across GTA. She loves to cook and paint in her free time.

LAMP Adult Learning

LAMP Adult Learning Program provides a foundation to the first step back to learning, with a strength based community approach. Learners achieve health and well being, develop independence, further education for training and employment needs. They focus on personal goals of health, civic engagement, social inclusion, and quality of life. Learners improve their reading, writing, and/or digital literacy (smartphone, ipad and laptop/desktop) skills in our community-based literacy and basic skills program.

Johanna Milic
Program Supervisor
Leads creative development and collaboration with Support Organizations and
in programs at LAMP.

Anita Dhanjal
Community Literacy Worker
Digital and Computer, Reading and Writing Instructor.

Robert Connelly
Community Literacy Worker
Digital and Computer, Reading and Writing Instructor.

Literacy Council York Simcoe (LCYS)

The Skills Upgrading Center provides customized training programs and job-specific workshops to assist adults in York-Simcoe in improving their employment prospects, preparing for a higher education, and acquiring the skills they need for a successful future.

Brittany Horlings, Program and Marketing Assistant

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES MENTIONED BY PARTICIPANTS

AlphaPlus OER Library – Mobile Devices

How to scan QR codes on Android Phone

How to scan QR code from an image in gallery

Scan a QR code from photos

Computer Hope – computer dictionary, terms, and glossary

Connected for Success – Low income affordable plans from Rogers (mobile, internet and TV options)

On November 16, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted our 12th  Community Gabfest.

The theme was Games and gambits – keeping learning fun.

We used a Jamboard to guide our conversation: Wayfinders Gabfest 12 Jamboard.

The conversation starter was “What are your favourite games or community building activities to use with learners?”

This gabfest was about the games and activities learners love. We shared our ideas for keeping learners engaged by building community and having fun together.

We started by talking about the games we like and why we like them and then we played a general knowledge Kahoot! that Guylaine had made for us.

We shared some resources:

Then we asked:

What are your favourite games or community building activities to use with learners?

Favourite games and activities

  • Create and share your own story map using Google Earth (more a fun interactive tech thing than a game)
  • Timed writing (5 min warmup at beginning of class then count your words)
  • Spin the wheel, memory games, hang man, tell a tall story.
  • Jamboard games –
    • Put one letter on a sticky note to spell out a word or phrase. Learners make as many words as they can with the letters.
    • More examples here – or at Jamboard Tip Sheet and samples

Language

Crosswords & Wordsearches

Math and Science

Typing

Thank you Gabfesters for your collegiality and for sharing your knowledge and sense of fun.

What is formative assessment?

In this short presentation, you will find:

Since many learners have access to mobile phones and use them on a daily basis, literacy programs started using texting to engage with their clients.

Jane Wouda, the Lead Instructor at the Training & Learning Centre of Renfrew County talked to us about the software they use at the program and the benefits/changes they have noticed.

Paul Crane, Founder and CEO of Local Text Marketers provides texting software (including a custom phone number to display when sending a text). Paul demonstrated how CONNECTsms works and answered our questions about texting tools.