Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Log On and Learn"

Most of us use computers without much anxiety or even any forethought.  We turn them on as soon as we get to work. To such people (if you know what a blog is, you are one of them), Google is a noun and a verb we use regularly. To many people who come to Literacy Network for help, this is not the case.  The English we use here and now must seem not only foreign but positively extraterrestrial.

A website from Literacy Volunteers of  New Jersey Literacy can help learners climb up to the high side of the digital divide. Log On and Learn works nicely for a tutor who wants to help someone who has a beginner's grasp on English. It uses simple language and clear, up-to-date illustrations to communicate the fundamentals that experienced users may take for granted. 
Chapters appear in lesson plan format, helping tutors or teachers to visualize how to make activities happen.  For instance, one section on computer vocabulary encourages the use of total physical response activity: 
Skills: Name (or recognize) the parts of a computer, name (or recognize) the components of a window
Materials: Computer, desktop with Windows
Activity: Practice new computer vocabulary with an ESOL student by using Total Physical Response. [TPR]
Further down in the lesson it describes how to do TPR. Other sections include using email to create a dialog journal, an activity that Literacy Network tutors may find familiar from training. The site presents the basic skills that many of us use without a second thought, such as using a computer for for planning our schedules, checking the weather or searching for a job. The "Internet Scavenger Hunt" lesson teaches a learner to use the most common search engine to answer a question they might be interested to know, e.g. "Who was the third president of the U.S.?"
There is plenty here for tutors who want to develop their skills in teaching techniquest too. It is worth a good look. Thanks for being a tutor.

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