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Our set of programs and courses is presented from the perspective of the community center representative. Its main objective is to enhance a flexible attitude towards the learners of different age groups and backgrounds and to address the issue of digital and technological illiteracy. The goals are to promote technical education and opportunities for educational and professional development that can be accessed through the medium of technology.
It is aimed to help to solve the problems with career development, beginning with the courses for school district’s students, promoting digital literacy among students of the elementary, middle, and high school to the adult learners looking for professional growth opportunities, and implement new resources of job counseling.
Station 1: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
The first station is dedicated to the universal design for learning, which is why its main objective is to bring together both children and adults of different age groups, social and economic backgrounds to acquaint them with the new educational opportunities. It is important not to make the outer look of the station too childish so that neither teenage students nor adult learners feel patronized. The clear message of the event should be that all age groups are welcomed to participate. One thing that has its appeal to all age groups is a technology and different technological achievements.
That is why there has to be a place in the event scenario to show how technology can be used for both educational and entertainment purposes. Depending on the scale of the event, there are two possible scenarios for attracting the audience to the event. It can be either a small science fair with the demonstration of different projects dealing with technology or the mascot of the event, for example, that can both promote education and be entertaining.
In the course of the event, the attendees will be explained the basics of how the new technology will help learners from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th-grade students in school districts and adult learners at the community center to improve their education. In particular, the technology will allow implementing UDL approaches to multiple forms of learning and opportunities to facilitate the process for all kinds of learners (Edyburn, 2013).
The perspectives of how all age groups can use technology for the purposes of education will be demonstrated in the video presentation. For example, adult learners who have a strict time schedule at work can make their curriculum more flexible during their educational program at the community center. And the learners from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th-grade students, who, for example, missed or did not understand something properly in the class, will have more opportunities to go through the material again.
The technology will make the classes more interactive to ensure a larger space for communication and engagement with each learner. It is an important aspect for all the age groups of the school district and community center. As for the interaction with the attendees, the optimal way to increase their interest in technology is to let them sample the new technology and show in practice the way it works.
Station 2: Technology and UDL for All Learners
The main objective of the UDL and application of the technological element in it is to create equal opportunities for learning for all kinds of students, regardless of their age group, social status, or disabilities. However, in this context, “universal” does not presuppose a single solution that can equally suit everyone (Rose & Meyer, 2006). The UDL allows looking for the optimal way of learning in each particular case, with each student, with the consideration to create a flexible approach to meet each learner’s needs.
All learners from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th-grade students in school districts and adult learners at the community center will be provided an opportunity for flexible learning, accessing the course materials in a time that is convenient for them. The technology in the UDL approach in classrooms enables interaction between different networks of cognition, memorization and increases the level of involvement (Rose, 2001; Rose & Meyer, 2000).
Another objective of the project is encouraging career and technical education (CTE). While school district educators are focused on improving the academic achievements, our project initially developed at the community center can bring more attention to the implementation of the multiple roles that education in modern circumstances should have, as the letter jointly released by the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Health, and Human Services implies (U.S. Department of Education, 2014). All the age groups, beginning from a young age, are to be prepared for their future career. In practice, the precise steps and goals for the CTE are:
- through the medium of technology provide the adult learners and older groups of the student of the school district with career counseling;
- We are increasing exposure to educational and professional development opportunities at schools, at the community center, and online courses.
- It was educating and training for the schools and community center media specialist so that they can maintain the implemented technologies for the inter-person and online interaction that ensure flexible learning.
The program’s offering includes:
- classes with the interactive digital materials encouraging learners’ artistic thinking and involvement in the educational process elementary, middle/junior high school);
- using technology to model the problematic situations and case studies (middle/junior high school, and high school students);
- the course of technical education (middle/junior high school, high school students, adult learners);
- the course of media communication (middle/junior high school, high school students, adult learners);
- the course of interactive informational technologies (middle/junior high school, high school students, adult learners);
- flexible curriculum planning and online courses and materials (adult learners);
- curriculum planning, online interactive classes and accessible materials (elementary, middle/junior high school, high school students, adult learners, with disabilities);
- career counseling and informing about educational and professional development opportunities (high school students, adult learners).
Station 3: 21st-Century Skills Acquisition and Employability
According to Partnership for 21st-century skills, educational technology in the 21st century is to encourage and develop creativity and Innovation in learners, their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, encourage communication and collaboration with the technological element in education (The Partnership for 21st Century, 2011).
Our program addresses the issue of illiteracy about the technical education and opportunities of career, educational, and professional development that can be accessed through the medium of technology. It is aimed to help to solve the problems with career development, beginning with the courses for school district’s students, promoting digital literacy among students of the elementary, middle, and high school to the adult learners looking for professional growth opportunities, and implement new resources of job counseling. The digital tools employed in programs of flexible learning include digital players and recorders, as well as inter-personal and online interactive devices.
The technology for interactive learning can be presented to the attendees at the event so that the volunteers can try to use it for communication. For example, the volunteer will be led by the organizers away from the audience and then connect with them through the interactive digital device. Such new technology will allow students to be more adapted to their future life and career pertained to digital communication.
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Edyburn, D. (2013). Inclusive Technologies: Tools for Helping Diverse Learners Achieve Academic Success. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills: Framework for 21st Century Learning. (2011). Web.
Rose, D. (2001). Universal Design for Learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 16(4), 66-67.
Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2006). A practical reader in universal design for learning. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard Education Press.
Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2000). Universal design for learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15(1), 1-12.
U.S. Department of Education. (2014). Letter on Career Counseling. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.