Monday, June 20, 2011

TIMAC at CASAS Summer Institute 2011

In the words of Pat Rickard, President of CASAS, “each of us knows that adult education is crucial to the lives and futures of the millions we serve, yet we continue to face unprecedented budget cuts and challenging circumstances.” The time we spent at this year’s Summer Institute made it a little easier to be in today’s reality as we shared challenges and successes and learned how to be effective with our assessment data.

During the keynote presentation, Cheryl Keenan, the Director of Adult Education and Literacy in the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, emphasized the importance for adult education programs to show that we are a part of the solution instead of being the part of the spending problem. Integrated or contextualized programs where ESL/ABE are taught within workplace context are a promising model.

Another keynote speaker, Barbara Endel, introduced the initiative she co-leads in Jobs for the Future – to enable low-skilled adults to complete technical and occupational degrees across more than 30 community colleges. The project is currently titled Breaking Through. Adult basic education programs from all the states will benefit from a virtual academy with resources and tools related to the topic of “helping low-skilled adults prepare for and succeed in occupational and technical degree programs by focusing on strategies that create effective pathways through pre-college and degree-level programs and result in college completion.” Ms. Endel left a strong impression on audience when she shared an interactive map representing job loss and gain nationally from 2007 to August 2010.

TIMACers spotted:
* Michael Barnes
* Laura Cifuentes
* Susan Briggs
* Susan Guzzetta
* Diana Batista
* Kathleen Bywater
* Penny Pearson
* Branka Marceta

And in the evenings, being the technology enthusiasts that we are, we coined a new concept – ‘going dancing at the Microsoft store’. We came across one of the 10 “physical" stores Microsoft has nationwide. Comparable to Apple store, this was the opportunity to explore the latest mobile, touch-screen, productivity, entertainment and gaming technologies, but the biggest hit was Kinect fox Xbox 360. The technology behind is a high definition camera that senses body movements. One of the games, Dance Central, was a fun way to try it out. Here’s what I consider to be an embarrassing video of me dancing, but since the technology behind it is so fascinating, I can’t help but share (Branka).

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