Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Move Lessons Online - without Crashing

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Move Lessons Online - without Crashing

Article excerpt

Technology can be intimidating to adult learners. Here's how to avoid glitches

Exams are moving from paper to screens, folders of coursework are being replaced by e-portfolios and some of my lessons now have to be taught - or at least accessible - online. Many of the adults I teach will cope with this shift as well, if not better, than younger students. But even if my learners are technologically skilled, many tell me their computers are frequently monopolised by their children.

With this in mind, here are my tips for handling the digital revolution in adult education.

Make it desirable, not essential

Explaining to a student who rarely uses technology that their course is going to be based online can end up with them making a beeline for the door. When it comes to learning, adults face a number of obstacles, such as a lack of time, family responsibilities and low self-esteem. Don't make mandatory digital skills another hurdle.

Consider your surroundings

Many teachers in adult education work remotely seven days a week, setting up classrooms in community halls and day centres. Not all these sites have the required technology to hand (and that can include photocopiers and printers). Even if they do, there usually isn't anyone around in the evenings or at weekends to fix a problem if it occurs. Be mindful of your environment and adapt your planning accordingly.

Take time to train staff

Some teachers love using technology and can't wait to try out the latest app or interactive game with their students. Others steer clear, fearing it will mean extra work and yet more planning. …

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