May 2010 Volume 10, Issue 6


Techie Programs

Many adult ed programs in Colorado are using technology more and more extensively to reach students through their learning preferences in their own communities. Two programs are featured this month. The Unlimited Learning Adult Education Center in Cortez is now offering certificate and degree programs through video conferencing in the Four Corners region, and Morgan Community College is using MP3 players with great success to help students improve their reading skills.

Video-Conferencing Enhances Educational and Job Opportunities in Cortez

With budget cuts and threats of more, Ann Miller's adult education program, thriving in the Unlimited Learning Center (ULC) in Cortez, has branched out. Adding to its healthy collaborative network, the program has partnered with the College of Eastern Utah to become an accredited branch in Colorado, offering a growing number of college courses leading to workplace certificates and Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's degrees. In addition to having community members come in, the Center is also able to co-enroll its GED students in college-credit and job training classes right on its site. How does it all happen? Enter video-conferencing, delivered throughout the region through live and interactive classes, supported by access to online resources.

No one argues that face-to-face classes still offer advantages with which distance education cannot compete, especially among folks who have little experience learning through media. However, in the vast Four Corners region, distance education opens opportunities never available before for people to access state-of-the-art education locally.

Who wins? Everyone. Colleges and universities have always faced the challenge of having courses "make" with numbers required to break even. Through video-conferencing and online support,  however, the Cortez program can "make" a class by joining students from two or more video-conferencing sites to fill the needed enrollment. Cortez might have four students, Towac one, Red Mesa two, and so forth, until the quota is reached. As a result, students in small rural communities, such as Cortez, who are consistently denied course entry because of low enrollment in onsite systems, can still access instruction locally.  In addition, employers can recruit locally, knowing that their future employees are well trained to meet local needs. Finally, students and faculty benefit  from the circulation of ideas as their classrooms include people all over the Southwest who bring different (and often contrasting) cultural views, experiences, and lifestyles.

Technology has never made a good master, but it makes an ideal servant in the Four Corners region. For more information on how ULC nurtures its different education choices, contact Ann Miller, Executive Director,, or at 970-565-1602.


MP3 Players Significantly Improve Reading Levels at Morgan Community College

Shirley Penn,  Workplace Education Coordinator at Morgan Community College, reports that adult ed students are taking significant leaps in reading levels by using MP3 players. Their first student moved 2.5 levels on the TABE in just two months!

The College has made an agreement with, an adult education Website, which has amazing resources for adult ed students. The site's reading section has lessons that are matched to timed audio files, read at different speeds, and followed-up with comprehension exercises. Shirley and her staff convert the files to MP3 files (compressed audio formats), which are placed on student players. Students go home and practice the readings, then return to be timed to check progress, which is impressive. Students report loving the content and the chance to learn on their own. Soon, the program will be posting all of its MP3 files on a new website for public access. Stay tuned for that news!

In addition, Shirley's students include 0-0.9-level readers, so the next innovative step planned is to send students home with video players loaded with YouTube or other video clips, some produced by the program, that match things like sight-word sounds with images. Who said that beginning readers can't learn independently?

For more information, contact Shirley at or at 970-542-3238.

Note: If your program cannot afford MP3 players for students, consider a very innovative alternative. You may want to convert a cheaper thumb drive ($18-$25) into an MP3 player. Simply Google "MP3 thumb drive" or "Convert MP3 Flash drive" or something similar, and access instructions on different ways to do that!


Contributions from EDU134

Teachers enrolled in CCCOnline's spring EDU134 course had two options for a project that integrated a number of best instructional practices advocated for teaching ESL to adults: a technology option (a blog) and a Webquest option developed in Word, which was later formatted and published for the Web. Their work is linked on the home page of our content site, and listed below for your enjoyment.



Blogging is being used more and more extensively as a magnificent educational tool. Following are links to blogs created by EDU134 students, along with links to other blogs created by other Colorado Adult Ed instructors in different programs.

  • - "We all have different cultures and we are very creative with open minds. However, we can be sort of shy at times. We work together on some things, and we put our minds together to have one big creative mind to work with. We are making an effort to improve ourselves."

  • - "We are an enthusiastic group of students trying to do our best effort in order to achieve our goals. We come from around the world, but we live in the United States. We hope you enjoy our stories."

  • - "These are the collected writings of a Pre-GED class in Colorado Springs. We hope you enjoy reading about our lives!"

  • - Durango Adult Education English Project blog.

  • - "Share information and pointers for learning English (ESL) or other languages."

  • - "As you all know I am a student myself and you all have graciously been helping me with several of my assignments. One of those assignments is to create this blog (this page) as a means for us to communicate about subjects that interest us."

  • - "Welcome to The World Awaits You. Here you will follow each Geography lesson given to you and turn in your assignment to me. With each assignment you turn in I will return to the site and publish your work for everyone to see."


Webquests are online projects designed to help students become independent in their own learning. Following are a few of the WebQuests created this Spring by EDU134 students. Other Colorado-created WebQuests are also listed on our content site.

Additional Contribution

Brenda Zion (See her Lincoln WebQuest listed above), is executive director of OneMorgan County, a group which works to help immigrants adapt to their new land. Brenda has graciously offered to share an amazing list of resources that she compiled throughout her Masters and LIA classes. You may access those links on our wiki, listed under the Other Resources Section, or by clicking here to download the Excel file.

Recent articles from the The Fort Morgan Times acknowledge efforts made by Brenda's program to help immigrants in Ft. Morgan.

  • - A driving vocabulary class for English as a Second Language learners wrapped up recently. Nearly 100 people participated in the program, spearheaded by OneMorgan County, in cooperation with Morgan Community College, the Fort Morgan Police Department, and others.

  • - Members of the Morgan Area Ministerial Alliance,  OneMorgan County, local Somali refugees, as well as Somali representatives meet to bridge the communication gap.

  • - more than a dozen Danish representatives visited Fort Morgan as part of the World Learning Visitor Exchange Program, to learn about the ways Fort Morgan officials and OneMorgan County have helped immigrants to become part of the community and helped members of the community to learn about immigrants.

You may contact Brenda at until the program moves later this summer.


Lunch and Learn

The last two Lunch and Learn sessions covered two areas that allow students to engage intelligences that schools don't often nurture. If you did not join us, feel free to explore the resources.

Virtual Tours (Lunch and Learn 3/10/10) -Virtual tours allow visitors to explore a huge variety of environments and experience them in their minds as they learn.

Cartooning Online with Adult Students (Lunch and Learn 4/29/10) - Cartooning, through comic strips or other means, provides an ideal tool for engaging visual learners, those people who comprise huge numbers in our programs. They are the non-linguistic, non-mathematical types, who come to us hoping for help. Through comics, we can put language and math into context so that learners can better perform in those areas.

All Lunch and Learn resources are posted on your wiki.


Division Methods

No way! I'll never learn long division! I'm sure that you've heard that familiar cry in your program. How about sending your students on a quest, ideally, a Webquest, to investigate how other people divide?

A student in my most recent PBS TeacherLine class on creating WebQuests produced an intriguing project. She is sending her students (K-12) on a journey to discover different ways to divide. They'll learn how to divide while using computer skills, improving their reading, and adding to their critical thinking arsenal! Her project can be accessed on her wiki, at There's more than one way to skin a problem!


Think Again

What do the images below represent?