ABE Attends the Teacher Academy and Gets Their Ducks in a Row

ABE Attends the Teacher Academy and Gets Their Ducks in a Row
by Julie Hagan, Instructor and Technology Integration Specialist

“Get your ducks in a row” is a phrase commonly used to describe preparation and organization. In education, teachers are always working on various forms of preparation and organization to better serve their students. Another common element of education is change. With the new NxGen standards (Common Core State Standards), change is coming to the world of adult education in West Virginia. The new standards will better prepare adult learners for the new high school equivalency exam, post-secondary education and/or 21st Century careers.

To prepare to implement the new standards and higher level curriculum, West Virginia Adult Basic Education developed a Curriculum Team. The team dove in to the new strategies, made sense of it all and devised a plan for how it would be implemented statewide. Adult educators from across the state were selected to attend a week-long, intensive training called the Teacher Academy. The Teacher Academy was held at The Resort at Glade Springs from April 29, 2013 to May 3, 2013.

The Curriculum Team planned and organized the week in a way that modeled the new methods for the instructors as the content and standards were introduced. Not all adult educators have backgrounds in education or teaching degrees. Many adult educators have Bachelor’s degrees in other fields and adult licenses. While these instructors are very dedicated and talented, many of them lack the traditional educational foundations. Many instructors with educational backgrounds were trained before methodology and standards were updated. All of the educators from diverse backgrounds came together to learn about the future of Adult Basic Education. Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, technology, unwrapping standards, Universal Design, lesson planning and Strategies for Engaging Adult Learners were all covered in detail during the academy.

Educators at the Teacher Academy worked together to understand new concepts, unwrap standards and create lesson plans involving higher order thinking skills. The instructors will take the knowledge they gained back to their classrooms and begin to implement it with their students. In July, the Teacher Academy Participants will meet again to discuss progress and plan further implementation. The plan is for the participants to begin introducing the new content, standards and methods in the fall.

Adult Basic Education is changing to correlate content to the NxGen Standards and the new high school equivalency exam. The programs are moving into the future to meet the needs of today’s adult learners. Instructors will spend more time carefully planning lessons that align with the new standards. The learners will be challenged to go further in their learning experiences. Through this process, higher order thinking skills will be used on a regular basis. Students will be more prepared for college courses and the demands of the 21st Century workplace. Adult educators will no longer simply “get their ducks in a row,” but will use their new higher level knowledge and skills to “keep their aquatic waterfowl in a co-linear formation” as Adult Basic Education evolves to meet the needs of the constantly changing learners.


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Adult Education Graduation

The Adult Recognition Ceremony for Wood County Schools was held at West Virginia University at Parkersburg on June 4th, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.  Approximately 250 guests were in attendance. 

Wood County Schools Adult Education Program served 600 Adults in some capacity during this school year.  185 of those adults took the TASC Test, which is the high school equivalency exam.  Other adults served were in other programs such as English as a Second Language, Literacy and Basic Skills, Computer, or in Community Education Certification Programs such as Licensed Practical Nursing, Medical Office Practice, Clinical Medical Assisting, or the Pharmacy Technician Program.

Music was provided by Cynthia, David and Rachael Puls.  Ray Pyles, retired Assistant Director of Adult and Technical Education, led the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation.

Doug Kiger, Principal/Director of Adult and Technical Education, provided opening remarks and guest introductions.  The Adult Education program statistics were given by Linda McClead, Adult Program Coordinator.   In Wood County this year, 165 individuals completed the high school equivalency test. 

Deanna Addis, Misty Dawson, Melissa Everly, Jim Kessel, Giulia Mannarino, and Katrina Reed are all instructors in the Adult Education Program.  They issued certificates to graduates.

The keynote speaker was Fletcher Lamkin, Ph.D.  He serves as President of West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Rotary Club President, Lindsey Anderson presented a monetary award to two outstanding students.  Those recipients were Robert Cole, Jr. and Michelle Lucas.  Congratulations to them!

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to West Virginia University at Parkersburg.  Dr. Lamkin issued scholarships to several graduates.  Additionally, all graduates in attendance were offered a voucher for a free three hour class at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.  Thank you to everyone who had a part in the festivities and most of all congratulations to the graduates!

Tech it to the Point

By: Nick Northup, Mason County Career Readiness Instructor/TIS

In 1770, George Washington surveyed much of the land in which is present day Point Pleasant. He was so mesmerized and taken in by the beauty of the land where the confluences of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers meet that he simply referred to the area as a “pleasant point”. Little did he know that our fair county would be a county that is steeped in history, and shrouded in much mystery. Primarily known for the infamous winged and dubious beast that supposedly plagued the area in the 1960s, too few of people know that Point Pleasant, the county seat, played an integral part in American History. The Mason County SPOKES students had the opportunity to divulge themselves in that history while learning about technology.

The first weekend in October is often referred to by locals as “Battle Days”. It is a time set aside for commemoration of those who fought in Lord Dunmore’s War, while at the same time, providing educational opportunities to many of the school children and citizens in the tri-county and tri-state area. Our students were given an assignment to tell the story of Point Pleasant. Our goal for them was to use technology to showcase Mason County’s rich history, while at the same time, learn various types of technology. Each student was given an iPad to archive their historical findings, and for use to create, enhance, and edit their story. As a class, they were given the opportunity to explore Tu-Endie-Wei state park, which was where the Battle of Point Pleasant took place.  During their time at the park, they were able to view a historic encampment, visit historical re-enactors, view exhibits and ancient artifact, all while immersing themselves in the lifestyle of the colonial period. Prior to touring the park, they were taught how to properly use an iPad and how to archive their findings. In addition, they were taught how to edit, enhance and create their assignment/presentation. Once they had collected and compiled their information, they were taught how to upload information into various media outlets to convey their story. Once the students’ stories are completed, they are going to showcase their work to the Economic Director of Point Pleasant.

From the colonial period until now, our world has grown by leaps and bounds. Technology has been one of the many forces that has changed our lives. Currently, technology is a vital instrument we use to enhance the education of our students and our lives. Teaching students how to use technology is giving them the ability to learn something new, where many of them might not have that opportunity. Also, not only it is a teaching/learning experience for them, but in the near future, those students can apply what they have learned in our class to help teach their children, or to use that technology in the workplace.  I firmly believe as Adult Educators, it is our duty and of the upmost importance to educate our students with the latest technology to help enrich their lives and to inspire them to be students of continual learning. By doing this simple activity in our class, the students were inspired to create, write, and develop their project while using many other skills. Though it is simple assignment, I was astounded by the time, energy, and effort the students put into this project. I would like to issue each SPOKES/ABE class a technology challenge, which is to try to incorporate a piece of technology and watch your students beam with excitement.

From Ballpoint Pens to Smart Boards

By: Julie Hagan, Career Readiness Instructor and Technology Integration Specialist

 “Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American virtues of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Businesses and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries.” – Federal Teacher, 1950

I recently attended and presented at the Technology Literacy Conference at the Beach organized by Horry County Schools Adult and Community Education. The conference was located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Integration of technology into curriculum was the primary focus of the conference. Several sessions were offered, three nationally-renowned keynote speakers addressed attendees and entertainment was provided.

The keynote speakers did a great job of sharing statistics and trends in education. The common theme was that the world is constantly changing, which means students are constantly changing. To be successful in the classroom, teaching methods must evolve. Methods of the past will not be successful because today’s students are wired differently. According to the Mindset List for the Class of 2011, students graduating college this year have always known the World Wide Web to exist. The problem is not that students are changing. The problem is that not all teachers are willing to change to keep up with the students.

While the K-12 system needs to change to be able to compete with other countries, Adult Basic Education needs to change, too. To adequately prepare adult students for today’s workforce, they need to be comfortable working with technology. Technology in the adult classroom does not mean students doing independent computer work. It means having students create a video to show an understanding of a topic. It means using the Smart Board to teach a lesson. It means taking a test with responders. The average adult attention span is 15-20 minutes, so it is essential to use the technology that engrosses the students of today to engage them in learning.

One common theme in several sessions I sat through was to encourage students to question information and media online. Is this information accurate? Who put this information online? Why did they put it online? With the abundance of resources available on the Internet, it is crucial that students learn how to filter out bad information. Another presenter suggested adding “S” (Still) and “H” (How) to the classic KWL chart. The extra columns ask students what they still need to know and how they can find that information. This promotes learning beyond the end of the lesson.

This conference ended with the same challenge that most conferences do – take classrooms into the 21st century. The problem is that when teachers go back to their classrooms, they fall back into their old, comfortable routines. As educators, we need to leave our comfort zones. We need to try new methods and new technology in our classrooms. Using technology and creativity, we need to give our students the power to move up through the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

 “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” – Chinese Proverb

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