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Tech Talk: Volume 2 Number 1

The number of web sites available increases daily and can be very confusing to the user who does not have a lot of time to find relevant information. To assist the adult literacy community in using the Internet, the Ohio Literacy Resource Center will continue to publish in each newsletter specific web sites for adult literacy educators. Please let us know if you discover sites that you think should be included in the next issue.

The web site addresses (URL) that we give below do not contain the traditional "http://", a prefix that is no longer necessary to type on most systems. If you cannot reach the address with what is given, try adding the "http://" back.

HTML Training
HTML is the mark-up language used to develop homepages. If you are interested in trying to set up your own homepage, check out the HTML online training available or through the Midwest LINCS homepage.

More Government Sites
The Fall, 1996 Tech Talk contained some government sites. Here are some more:

The Federal Web Locator is a list of links to all federal government web sites.

THOMAS Legislative Information on the Internet has information on the US Congress, including a means to search bills passed.

The State and Local Government Page provides links to state and local government related pages around the country.

Try a virtual tour of the White House . You can read the President's weekly radio speech, see Presidential and Vice-Presidential family pictures, and even have learners E-mail a message to the President.

National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS)
NALS information is now available from the National Center for Education Statistics. The executive summary of "Literacy of Older Adults in America" is the newest publication online.

The National Center for Adult Literacy (NCAL)
NCAL research projects focus on a range of issues in the field of adult literacy. Reports and executive summaries (NCAL Briefs) are available . You will find new articles on numeracy, technology, workplace, and policy at this site.

Adult Literacy Software Review
Also available at NCAL s website is a searchable database of software used in adult literacy instruction. The web address, is only slightly different from the one above (they can both be accessed from the NCAL homepage).

A link to online Keypals resources can be found on the Teachers Resource page of the OLRC web site or by going directly here.The use of E-mail for student-to-student communication has been recognized as a powerful learning tool for students, and this site can help you get started. (Also contact the OLRC for names of local programs looking for Keypals.)

The ERIC web site contains many of the ERIC Digests and Trends and Issues Alerts online. The School-To-Work issue of the ERIC Review is online here. You can also order copies of ERIC publications by E-mai.

Focus on Learning Strengths and Styles
Information on individual learning styles, how to identify a student s preferred style, and suggestions on how to use activities for the different learning styles in teaching spelling, writing, comprehension, music, and one-to-one tutoring is available here.

Student/Teacher Recommended Sites
The OLRC compiled a list of web sites which were recommended by Ohio and Minnesota teachers and students involved in local program technology projects in 1996. The complete list can be found here and contains instructional sites in math, science, social studies, reading and writing, life skills, English as a Second Language, and miscellaneous web sites.

Note: Do you need a way to organize all these sites so you can go to them quickly? Look for the article "Bookmarks: What are they and how do you use them?" in the Spring, 1996 Tech Talk.

The Northwest Regional Resource Center in Seattle, Washington, has recently released the 1996 Edition of their Software Buyer s Guide. The Guide contains a list of software that has been evaluated by instructors and given a rating based on whether or not they would recommend it to other adult literacy programs. The list also contains prices, disk and platform information, and instructional level organized by curriculum area. The curriculum areas are mathematics, language, life skills, reading, and support. Over 180 software packages were evaluated and received ratings. The top 30 software programs that received good to excellent ratings are included in an annotated listing. The Guide can be purchased for $10 by contacting Catherine Cantrell at the Northwest Regional Resource Center, phone, 206-587-4987, or E-mail, . The OLRC has purchased a copy and will be glad to share information from the Guide on specific software.

In this as well as past newsletters, many education and informational web sites have been presented. There are also many other useful sites that contain other types of information. One of the most popular uses of the Internet is to enhance computing through access to a variety of software programs accessible through the Internet. Available software ranges from actual programs, to "add-ons" for programs, to system software. There are several major sites the user can go to access each type of software. For fans of "one stop shopping," Shareware Dot Com is the perfect place to start. This collection of software and related links covers most categories as well as both the PC and Macintosh platforms. It is searchable by different fields and is set up to allow the user to browse through available files. Shareware Dot Com offers a range of educational programs, games, productivity tools and demonstrations of programs. This software can be down-loaded to the user s computer, installed, and used immediately.

Shareware is software that is distributed for little or no fee. A user has a given amount of time (usually between 30-90 days) or a particular number of uses to evaluate the product. If the user likes the program, a fee is paid to the author and the program is registered. Registration fees for shareware are usually lower than the cost of many commercial programs that perform the same function. If, at the end of the trial period, users do not want or like the program, they simply delete it from their system and pay nothing. While some programs rely on the honor system for registration, many programs are set to disable themselves without a registration code being entered within the given trial period.

Freeware is software that is freely distributed and may be used by anyone who likes it. Many shareware programs have a freeware version that is a "stripped down" version of the fully-supported program. Most programs make very clear if they are shareware or freeware when purchased or installed.

A concern anytime software is obtained on a disk or through the Internet is contracting a computer virus. Though a virus can be serious, with a little understanding and a few simple guidelines, the threat of a virus can all but be removed. In the next few weeks, the OLRC will be mailing a Technology Update describing viruses as well as the steps needed to minimize the risk.

Shareware Dot Com is part of a larger site produced by C-Net . In addition to the shareware site, there are several other download sites as well as daily and weekly news stories and articles concerning the newest technologies. For someone looking for software and computer information, C-Net is a great place to start.

For Internet software, or programs to use online, Stroud's Consummate Winsock Apps or Tucows are the sites. These sites contain demonstration software as well as shareware and freeware programs along with extensive reviews and ratings.

For Macintosh software, has a large list of Macintosh software and shareware sites. Software bug patches and drivers are also available at Apple's home site .

All major computer hardware and software vendors also have web sites. These may used in a variety of ways. For instance, drivers (the programs that work with your operating system) can be downloaded from Internet sites. This can improve performance, and updated drivers usually fix problems associated with particular program or device. Microsoft's site offers bug fixes, program samples, updates and information. Sites such as Gateway 2000 and Micron Computers are designed to allow browsing, configuration and purchasing of a computer online. Other sites, like IBM , Toshiba , and Hewlett Packard, offer product information as well as local dealer contacts.

Most computer reference publishing companies as well as magazine publishers are also online. PCWorld , as well as the Ziff-Davis family of magazines put selected articles as well as product reviews online.

This should give users some good starting points for locating necessary, fun, and interesting information available on the Internet.


Evaluation Project Listserv
The ABLE Evaluation Design Project has a listserv to provide direct communication between the evaluation team and the local programs. The list will be moderated by the evaluation team. To subscribe to the listserv, send a message to: In the message area, type: subscribe edp Yourfirstname Yourlastname The subject line in the heading needs to be left blank. The information on the subscribe line in italics is to be replaced by your own name.

Directory of Ohio Adult Literacy Programs
The Ohio Literacy Network's 1996-97 Directory of Ohio Adult Literacy Programs can be found on the OLRC homepage or by going directly here. The online directory is searchable by county and should be very useful in referring students or volunteers to programs in the state or in locating other adult literacy professionals.

Eight Ohio Programs Receive Technology Mini-Grants
The OLRC has awarded small technology mini-grants to nine Ohio programs as part of its second year funding from the National Institute for Literacy to be the Midwest Technology Hub. The programs who have received this grant are Canton City Schools ABLE, Cincinnati Public Schools ABLE, Columbus Speech and Hearing Center, CORC Private Industry Council (Coschocton ABLE), Great Oaks ABLE, Mansfield/Richland County Public Library s LVA Library Literacy Connection, Medina County Career Center ABLE, Union County ABLE and Willoughby-Eastlake ABLE.

For the six-month period of this grant, the programs will be providing opportunities for teachers and students to use Internet in the classroom. Among the activities proposed are Keypals for ABLE students, ABLE students participating in Chat Rooms, students and staff developing a Web page, down-loading information for specific learning needs and projects, reviewing Web sites, developing online writing activities, finding employment opportunities, and linking to career information.

The summary of local technology projects conducted in ten programs in Ohio and Minnesota in 1996 was recently published in the December, 1996 OLRC publication Using the Internet in the Adult Basic Education Classroom: Learning Together Through Experience. If you did not receive this publication and would like a copy, call the OLRC.

The purpose of this network is to provide technology training and support to local Ohio ABLE programs. The Ohio Literacy Resource Center coordinates the Network and has a number of consultants from around the state who are available for 4- or 8-hour training seminars/ sessions at the program site or alternate location of the program s choosing. Technical assistance is available at no charge to ABLE-funded programs. This pilot project is supported by a 353 grant from the Ohio Department of Education; all training under this project must be completed by September 15, 1997.

Each program requesting training or assistance determines the subjects and topics to be covered by the consultants. Based on past requests and feedback, topics may include: general hardware and software information, Internet/email/World Wide Web, word processing/ spreadsheet, desktop publishing, operating systems, hardware/software upgrades, or technology application.

To request a printed form, please contact Marty Ropog at the OLRC; once the Program Request form is received, a consultant will be scheduled.

We request that programs allow at least three weeks for a consultant to be scheduled. A limited number of training hours are available for each region of the state. Consultants will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, please contact Marty Ropog at the Ohio Literacy Resource Center by phone at 1 (800) 765-2897 or (330) 672-2007 or via email at .

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