Training offered transferable skills for literacy educators and learners

As a literacy instructor, Nadia Mustillo aims to offer transferable technology skills that learners can apply in life and future employment. As a program administrator, Nadia is interested in learning about tools and applications that can streamline and support her daily tasks.

Nadia is the literacy and basic skills (LBS) supervisor at the Thomas Merton Centre for Adult and Continuing Education with the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB), where she’s been working since 2023. Coming from a 35-year government and social services career, Nadia’s current role includes teaching (English and digital skills), marketing and administration.

“I work part-time, and it’s a bit of a balance and struggle between doing instruction, admin and coming up with new platforms to work in,” explains Nadia. “After speaking to colleagues working in the English as a second language (ESL) program, I became interested in setting up Google Classroom. Around the same time, I noticed that AlphaPlus offered a Google Workspace course and wanted to see what I could learn.”

Expanding skills to embrace new platforms and tools

Nadia took advantage of an evening training option within the AlphaPlus Building Digital Skills training series in February and March 2023. She explains that the instructor guided the group through the suite of options available through Google:

“The instructor for this training was excellent, and I discovered a whole suite of apps and resources I can use in the classroom. We got to hear about how these tools have been used in an educational context, including from the instructor and peers in the course. I feel confident, tech-wise, but I wasn’t familiar with the Google suite. During the training, I discovered that I could replicate what I already knew from using Microsoft products, and I learned ways to help learners pick up transferable skills in turn.”

Google Workspace offers many benefits to both Nadia and her learners, one of which is being free and accessible to anyone with a Gmail account. Google tools provide a low-barrier way for learners, many of whom are comfortable with phones or tablets, to transfer their skills to using a computer. And building skills in Docs, Slides, and Sheets prepares learners to move on to credit programs, many of which require computer proficiency.

In the fall of 2023, Nadia returned to the Building Digital Skills series, taking training focused on Microsoft: “Although I’m comfortable with Microsoft products, there are always things you don’t know. For example, I was familiar with Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Calendar but not with using OneNote with learners. It has accessibility features that will be useful for my students, who can use it for translation or help from the math assistant when they get stuck. It’s important to be well-prepared to help adult students with Microsoft products, as it’s widely used in business settings.”

From learning to implementation: Nadia’s next steps

Next, Nadia plans to spend more time exploring and applying what she learned in the training series. She would like to organize her Google Classroom as a central area for lesson plans and worksheets according to units and topics so that it’s more structured for students and fellow teachers. She’d also like to use the Google suite in new ways, including tracking work and progress for use in reports to the ministry.

“I’ve been blown away by the available tools and resources and the possibilities for me, my colleagues and our learners.”

“Because the training moved quickly, I’d like to take more time with the next steps, and I plan to get support from an AlphaPlus coach — getting guidance about what I can and can’t do based on our centre’s setup,” says Nadia. “I’ve been blown away by the available tools and resources and the possibilities for me, my colleagues and our learners.”

Would you like to build transferable skills for you and your learners? Sign up for upcoming AlphaPlus training designed specifically with the needs of adult literacy educators in mind.



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