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2020 Is the Year of Digital Literacy

By William Hallal
Seeds of Literacy Digital Coordinator

At this point, it’s a tired but true observation: you need computers to do a lot of things. You need computer knowledge to send emails, apply for jobs, and even take the GED. Here at Seeds, we want to make sure our students are ready for the GED (or another HSE test) and life beyond it. That’s why 2020 is going to be the Year of Digital Literacy at Seeds.

Seeds began ramping up digital literacy instruction in our adult education this past October by rolling out Lab Time in the classroom. Lab Time, for tutors and students who haven’t had the chance to experience it, happens when Digital Literacy Coordinators select students to take a break from their curriculum packets and head to the computer lab — or the nearest laptop — for work on computer skills. They might work on basic computer skills, like identifying software parts, or on more advanced skills, like email management. Like any other part of the Seeds curriculum, coordinators pinpoint where students need the most work, then assign them tasks according to their learning needs. 

This year, Seeds will firm up the structure of Lab Time by using online lessons designed by Seeds’ own program staff. Computer lessons will be housed on Blackboard, a Learning Management System designed for college use but adapted here for adult learners. Students will use Blackboard to watch videos, complete online activities, and even print their own worksheets. 

Students will need help navigating their lessons and completing their learning activities, so tutors are going to get in on the action, too! To encourage involvement with computer tasks, Seeds will be offering training sessions for tutors. If you’re a tutor who feels lacking in computer skills, come check it out. The first session will be offered on January 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at our West Side location and Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon at our East Side location. Please email Carmine Stewart at carminestewart@seedsofliteracy.org to RSVP for either of these sessions. Light refreshments will be provided.

Computers are an essential part of adult education, obtaining the GED or other HSE tests, and they will be a big part of students’ lives long after they’ve graduated from Seeds. We’re going to make 2020 the year our students become as comfortable using computers as they are doing long division or learning new vocabulary words. With students, staff, and tutors working together, we can make the Year of Digital Literacy happen.