Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New online tool aids literature programs

This Education Trends comes from e School News. Schools, libraries, and other organizations that aim to improve students' reading skills have a new online tool to help them evaluate how well their literacy programs work: the Verizon Literacy Program Self-Assessment Tool ( VLP - SAT).

Developed by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) with funding from the Verizon Foundation, VLP-SAT is available free of charge to all literacy programs from one location, the Verizon Foundation's

"Thousands of people give their time and effort daily to advance the cause of literacy, but unfortunately, despite those great efforts, literacy rates in our country are still not where they need to be," said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL.

"We believe this self-assessment tool can play a tremendous role in improving literacy rates," Darling said. "It provides a roadmap with more scope and depth than any other tool currently available."

This "roadmap" incorporates the latest scientific research on the effectiveness of literacy programs that serve populations from birth through childhood, its makers say. The online tool provides a detailed questionnaire that asks about a literacy program's methods, the education level of its students, parental involvement, and current methods used to assess the program's success.

Based on answers to the questionnaire, the literacy provider is given a grade of 1 to 5 in each of several areas. These grades describe whether the organization is using proven, research-based methods and achieving the best possible results.

For schools and other organizations that receive a score of "3" or lower in any particular area, the tool provides a list of recommended resources created by literacy and education experts. All of these resources are available free of charge at as part of the Thinkfinity Literacy Network. is the Verizon Foundation's free online portal, where visitors can access more than 55,000 standards- and research-based educational resources. These include free online courses, K-12 lesson plans, best practices, program assessment tools, teaching and learning tools, model programs that demystify technology for parents, and abundant research highlighting the importance of literacy development.

Ideally, program staff will use the VLP-SAT as a benchmark to evaluate current literacy practices, seek out resources to improve key areas, and return to the VLP-SAT to assess program improvement, its creators say.

The tool was unveiled last month as part of the Verizon Foundation's National Literacy Summit.3, held at Georgetown University.

"We asked ourselves at the last summit where our philanthropy dollars should go, and we answered: to help leverage each other's assets and skills and to start some sort of measurement ... here are some measurements!" said Kathy Brown, senior vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility for Verizon. Click here to read the rest of this post.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tips for Adults Back at School.

family, and friends - the commitment is challenging enough to juggle without the added education factor. How you can make the process of school re-entry as smooth as possible? Education Online Course are tips to learn, college support services, and insider strategies to begin the transition back to your own personal school-to-you.

The Art of Time Management
Stephen Gatlin, president and CEO of Gatlin Education Services, which provides online workforce development programs to colleges, considers time management the biggest factor in back-to-school success. He recommends that students determine when they focus best, such as in the morning or at night, before caffeine or after. Then, Gatlin says, "Reserve time to dedicate to your course. Stay committed and treat [that time] like an appointment that can't be budged."

Frank Hilty, a mining engineer, has experienced the back-to-school adjustment twice. He returned to college to complete his bachelor's degree 12 years after starting, and now, eight years after earning that degree, he's pursuing an MBA at Waynesburg College. Hilty, who blocks out two to three hours of study time for every hour of in-class time, advises, "If you are working, you must treat class work as a part-time job with specific responsibilities. Do not procrastinate. Even if you only take one course at a time, you will find yourself quickly overwhelmed if you let the work pile up. Our regular jobs and families have a way, and they should, of commanding our attention."

Jason Yaple, a geologist who has been taking courses at Penn State and West Chester University of Pennsylvania to earn a professional geology certification, echoes these sentiments. "Figure out the amount of time you will need to study and perform the coursework. Then be prepared to invest even more time. Read the rest of this article in here.