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April 26, 2011 / Thinknology

Technology & Literacy Conference

I attended the Technology & Literacy Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC from 3/31-4/2. Otherwise known as TLC at the Beach, it was sponsored by Horry County Schools Adult & Continuing Education program.

Hats off to Virginia Simmons and her team for doing an excellent job in putting on a successful conference. This is the first one and I’m looking forward to attending next year.

The conference tagline was “A Practical Approach to Integrating Technology into Literacy Teaching and Learning.”  It’s not surprising that I heard many different perspectives on this issue.

These perspectives can generally be placed in two categories (and I’m probably oversimplifying) : incorporating technology into the existing system or creating a systemic overhaul sending adult ed in an entirely different direction. The remarks by one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Willard Daggett, were particularly thought-provoking.

To give a quick summary: The world is changing at lightning speed and adult students must focus on technological, quantitative, and document literacy. They must function at higher literacy levels than in the past.  China is making huge advances in these areas and their highly prosperous economy is on track to surpass the United States economy.

Of course, this gives one pause, however, there is always a gap between these global proclamations and what is going on in the trenches. Assuming educators take this at face value, what are they supposed to do when they walk back into the classroom when they return from the conference?

Calling for a systemic change and overhaul is fine, but there needs to be a series of steps about how to get there.

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