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Marshall ABE granted the Outstanding Program Awarded by the
Minnesota Association of Continuing Adult Education (MACAE)

Reprinted by permission, Marshall Independent.

Teaching with technology

By Karin Elton
Independent Staff Writer

MARSHALL — A representative from a local program which helps adults better their lives will accept an award today in the Twin Cities.

The Adult Basic Education program has been recognized by a statewide organization for its use of technology in student learning.

“We have a fantastic staff,” said Pat Thomas, the ABE coordinator. “I’m delighted to see them recognized.”

ABE provides help for area adults with the following programs: GED, adult diploma, English language learning, family literacy, basic skills enhancement, workforce education, driver's education and citizenship classes.

According to the Minnesota Association for Continuing Adult Education, “the Marshall ABE program has recognized the fact that in order to be a more effective program, technology must be integrated into its delivery system. Technology enhances student learning and allows a program to share information with individuals, local agencies, and agencies statewide.”

The ABE program will receive a MACAE Outstanding Program Award today at the MACAE annual conference at the Radisson Hotel in Roseville.  MACAE cited as an example the ABE Web site, www.marshalladulteducation.org, and the creation of computer books targeted to the beginning English language learner.

The Marshall ABE has made smart use of grant money to fund improvements such as computers and computer programs which enhance its curriculum.

The ABE has been working on its Web site for about a year now, said Charles Carrera, an ABE instructor. “It’s been up for about half a year.”
The Web site is easy to get around in for people who want to know more about the ABE program, for members of the ABE consortium, and for ABE students who want to use the electronic books to reinforce their regular curriculum.

One electronic book has voice recognition ability where the learner hears a word pronounced correctly through headphones and then can pronounce the word back in a microphone. The computer program analyzes the pronunciation for accuracy and has the student say the word again if needed.

“We can set it how many times to repeat, how accurate it needs to be, 80 percent or whatever,” Carrera said.  The books are customized with the scope and sequence of ABE classroom learning.

“We use technology as much as we can to reinforce and enhance the classroom instruction,” said Carrera. “Our goal is to give literacy skills to the student so they are confident enough to apply for a job. A lot of students are here for six months or a year and then find jobs in the community.”

Staff Writer Karin Elton can be reached at kelton@marshallindependent.com

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