Recent international studies in adult competencies indicate that six in 10 U.S. adults ages 18–65—around 118 million—perform at or below the lowest proficiency levels in problem solving in technology rich environments (National Center for Education Statistics, 2016). This includes competencies such as using technology for effective communication with others, acquiring and evaluating information, and performing practical tasks.
While studies such as this highlight the need to increase technology integration in adult education classrooms and beyond, the goals and strategies for bridging the digital skills gap in response to such findings often don’t match learner realities.
Understanding the need for a realistic understanding of success, realities, and barriers related to technology integration within adult education programming, the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition (CCLC) conducted a technology assessment in Spring 2018 of 12 partner organizations within the Career Foundations Consortium, as a part of a grant funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The goal of the assessment was to analyze how technology is implemented in adult education classrooms throughout the city. Overall findings included:
In response to these findings, CCLC convened a Digital Literacy Advisory Board (DLAB) that pulled from 14 partner organizations throughout the Chicago area. Starting in June of this year, DLAB has initiated projects across the city to address the trends and needs identified through the assessment. These include:
As DLAB moves forward, we will evaluate these current projects and initiate future projects aimed at testing resources and scaling effective best practices. Through increased provider coordination and the development of a centralized hub of resources and information, DLAB aims to improve our communities by empowering Chicagoans through increased digital literacy.
To learn more about the DLAB and the participating organizations, click here.