Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Montana Information

1.    Montana ABLE ShopTalk Reminder

Wednesday, October 16 at 11

2.    MAACE at MEA:  Dr. Susan Pimentel on October 17 from 8 to 4

Don’t forget to bring your resources to Dr. Susan Pimentel’s workshop. 




Please bring the following resources if you have them.  Otherwise, please bring three resources that you use most.  Dr. Pimentel will use these resources for a session on text complexity and text-dependent questions. 


·       Resource #1:  Steck-Vaughn Reading for Today Intro - 6

·       Resource #2:  Cambridge Adult Education, Threshold 9 Literature and Arts, Science, and Social Studies

·       Resource #3:  Contemporary Pre GED Reading, Science, and Social Studies


If you have any questions, please contact Kathie Daviau .


Dr. Susan Pimentel is the reading/literacy expert for the Adult Ed Common Core Standards. This interactive session is targeted to examine the major shifts in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and how they could be valuable for preparing adult students for college and careers. Susan will lead you through evidence based activities to help you create a framework in which you participate in a self-guided, standards-setting process.   

3.    HiSET Blast:  October Update

ETS Assurance:  HiSET Meets Federal Education Requirements


Click here to read about ETS assurance that HiSET will be “recognized for purposes of meeting federal education requirements, such as to qualify for federal student aid (grants, loans and work-study funds).”


New Options Change Landscape for High School Equivalency Testing


Click here to read about how the testing landscape is changing:  the “shift from ‘earning a GED®’ to earning a high school equivalency credential.”


Important Dates


November 1, 2013

 ·       Online HiSET store opens for ordering materials 

·       Test-taker registration opens


December 21, 2013

·       Last day for GED 2002 testing


January 2, 2014

·       HiSET testing begins


Click here to access HiSET Resources.

4.    Research Snippet: Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, National Academy of Sciences, 2012

Technology to Promote Adult Literacy


Last year MTLINCS reviewed Chapters 1-4 of Improving Adult Literacy Instruction:  Options for Practice and Research at  This year MTLINCS will finish its semimonthly review of the last half of the research.  In the first review last year, the expansion of the definition of today’s literacy and the workplace was noted:

Literacy and the Workplace:  Definition Expanded 

If anything, data from the NAAL and other surveys and assessments are likely to underestimate the problem of literacy in the United States. Literacy demands are increasing because of the rapid growth of information and communication technologies, while the literacy assessments to date have focused on the simplest forms of literacy skill …

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 29


If information and communication technologies are increasing for students, then it is incumbent upon Montana ABLE to use technology to support growth in students’ literacy skills.  Does that mean that technology is the solution?  According to the research,


… Technology does not of itself produce learning. It simply amplifies and extends instructional strategies …


So it may not be the solution, but


… adults need opportunities to access tools and develop proficiencies that are part of what it means to be literate in the 21st century.


… To this list must be added the everyday tools of word processing. The ability to easily and quickly compose and edit prose is a major determiner of writing achievement, and word processing tools replace laborious writing and complete rewriting with faster (after practice) typing and editing that does not require recopying the entire written product (see Berninger et al., 1998; Christensen, 2005; Graham, Harris, and Fink, 2000; Graham, Harris, and Fink-Chorzempa, 2002).


Many Montana ABLE educators use technology as a tool in their classrooms even though the range of delivery varies.  Effectively using technology for the sake of learning and not for the sake of technology implementation is the challenge


Computer technologies may improve learning for many reasons. They can be adaptive to the profiles of individual learners, give the learner control over the learning experience, better engage the learner, and be more efficient on many dimensions.


Using technology as a delivery tool may be advantageous, but it is useless without interaction.  There is a need for some type of checks and balances. Are you following up to see if learning is occurring, if retention is there, even when the program indicates student success?  Depth of knowledge must be pursued regardless of the tool used.


Not every type of advanced computer technology has been demonstrated to facilitate learning in every subject area … This may be because most learners have inadequate strategies for inquiry learning; that is, they do not know how to use new information tools for the purposes that have been tested.

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 179-186


What types of technology are you using that promote effective learning, not just technology engagement?  Have you tried any of the websites that Tim Ponder provided at EQ 2013?


Stay tuned for Digital Tools for Practicing Skills!  You may also want to take a look at a very interesting discussion going on now in the LINCS Technology and Learning – check out Post #8 below.


National Information

5.  LINCS Status During Government Shutdown

Taken from LINCS Notice

Dear LINCS Community members,

As you are aware, LINCS is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). Due to a lack of funding for a number of federal agencies effective October 1, OVAE activities have halted. The LINCS project team has been authorized to continue supporting the LINCS websites through Tuesday, October 8. 


At the close of business today, our regular activities supporting the community and other LINCS platforms will cease until funding is restored to the project. The LINCS Community User Training webinar scheduled for Wednesday, October 16 has been canceled and will be rescheduled on a future date.


The LINCS Community, website, and LINCS Learning Portal will remain available, and all members are welcome and encouraged to continue to use these resources. However, please note that these websites will not be updated by the LINCS project team for the duration of the government shutdown. In addition:

·        Discussion groups will not be actively moderated by the LINCS subject matter experts.

·        The LINCS Community team will be unable to reply to messages received via the Contact Us tab or the discussion groups. If you need assistance, we encourage you to visit the Help tab.

·        The LINCS team will not post new announcements, events, resources, or discussions in the community. However, community members will continue to receive automatic email notifications about community discussion threads and comments.

As soon as the Department of Education returns to normal operations, we will resume all regular activities supporting LINCS. We will respond to all messages as soon as funding is restored to the project. Thank you for your ongoing support of LINCS and your understanding during this time.


Best regards,

The LINCS Community Team

6.  LINCS Community User Training:  Cancelled Due to Government Shutdown

Stay tuned for future date!

7.  PIACC:  US Ranking and Performance Variables – Blog from CAAL

Taken from CAAL Blog by Gail Spangenberg

Click here to access Gail Spangenberg’s blog.

Snippets from the Blog

On October 8th, despite our federal shutdown, PIAAC’s findings were released by OECD (PIAAC=Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies). The overall release included the U.S. ranking and performance variables. The results show that the U.S. continues to perform well in terms of higher education attainment, but our record at the lower levels is abysmal. In fact, it has worsened. Our overall international standing has declined even more than only a few years ago …

Information provided to national radio program

… Immediately following the interview, before their show aired, I sent a follow up note with one further observation, and I also urged them to look at the National Commission on Adult Literacy report, Reach Higher, America, to see that the PIAAC story is indeed not new, but just the latest call for action!

My additional message to them was this:  ”The First Look report from OECD can be too easily read as further endorsement of K-12 reform. But in fact the study says little about the school population. The U.S. tables strongly suggest that the problem is more manageable if we target resources to the populations most in need: low-skilled ADULTS, especially those with ESL/literacy problems and our low income minorities. The report indicates that the rest of the U.S. does pretty well.  It would be folly to think that we can or must solve this by No Child Left Behind. Of course, too many people don’t want to hear that….I can’t stress enough how much we need the Workforce Investment Act to be reauthorized and reformed in this Congress, and how important it is to enable with adequate funding the programs and services we have to meet the HUGE U.S.  need.  We are serving only about 1.8 million adults (16 and over) in our adult education programs today, and we need to be serving many more millions.”

The fact is:  Our current workforce–made up of adults 16 and older, many millions possessing very low basic skill levels–is a large part of the workforce we will have for years to come, and focusing on K-12 (important as that is) will not solve the problem.  The employability, the job- and college-readiness, the well-being of our adult population, all are closely linked to the well-being and democratic foundations of our nation …

Gail Spangenberg

8.  Technology:  Print Materials Versus Computer-based Material

Taken from LINCS Community:  Technology and Learning

Click here to access a discussion about print materials versus computer-based material.  What should the role be of print materials when preparing for a computer-based test?

Snippets from the Discussion

Snippet #1



1) On-line materials can allow a student to accelerate past what they already know well …


1) Even good on-line materials can become "plug and play" practice. Students use the "helps" as a model that they follow without having to think about what they are doing …

Dorothea Steinke


Snippet #2


I think you need to consider that digital literacy is a basic literacy, and that it must be taught part and parcel with teaching the academic content.  Age is only important when we are discussing digital natives (those born since the ubiquitousness of digital tools) and digital immigrants (us old folks), and add to that whether or not the adults in question have grown up with the technology at work or not.  If not, then we must teach them. 

Judith Renyi

9.  Technology:  Connected Educator Month - Tech Tidbits

Taken from LINCS Community:  Technology and Learning

Click here to access a discussion about takeaways from Connected Educator Month.  Check out these Tech Tidbits.


Taken from Tech Tidbits & Free Social Media Apps for the Hurried Administrator presentation was presented by Dr. Rob Furman, Principal of South Park Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Below is a list of the technology tools mentioned in the presentation. In some cases, an example of how an administrator/instructor can use the tool in an educational context is provided:


Evernote: This is a note-taking application (that allows for audio, video, images, text) that can transfer content to every device you own. An administrator could type classroom observations on a laptop or tablet and the content will automatically transfer to every device you sync the application to, including your office desktop computer.


Teamviewer: The original intention of the tool was to make technical support simple. With this program, you can give the person a password and let them remotely work on your computer. An administrator can remotely help to fix a computer in a classroom without having to leave their office. Another way to use this tool is to collaborate on projects. An administrator can more easily share their computer screen to collaborate on projects and presentations with colleagues.


Hallmark Smilebox: This is a fast and easy way to send out cards and postcards (that also allows you to save created cards). An administrator can use these cards as a way to increase positive interactions with staff.


Diigo: Diigo is a bookmarking system for websites. Organize your bookmarks and collaborate with staff to share websites.


Policy Tool: This tool offers a good starting point for generating policies and guidelines that respect the rights of your employees while protecting your brand online (e.g., social media policies and privacy policies).


Author Stream: Author stream makes it easy to add audio to PowerPoint presentations. An administrator can flip their faculty meetings and have a short screencast for teachers to view and then use the meetings to discuss and brainstorm (rather than report out). This is also a great way to create a self-paced training for teachers to view and learn school or HR policies.


Decide Already! This tool makes it easier for groups to come to a decision about anything in a timely manner. This is a good way to work through questions as an organization.! The tool allows you to curate articles and information for fellow educators. An administrator can send newsletters to their teachers monthly with information (online articles) that you curate. Send one email easily with great resources rather than ten separate emails. (Other similar tools: Allows you to curate articles and allows you to create a newspaper like email with curated articles (or it can automatically create a paper with gathered resources based on keyword criteria and allow you can delete irrelevant articles). and Flipboard: Read and collect news that you care about to create a magazine on any topic.


Buffer: The tool links all your social media accounts and it automatically sends out articles, pictures, videos you want to share through your social media. (Similar to Hootsuite


Pinterest: This allows you to curate content and images and post on topical boards to share with others. An administrator can create one board for the school, and the staff can update the board based on educational content they find. It is a great way for ongoing professional development. (Similar to Google+ and LinkedIn)


P.S.  Remember -- if you are having trouble with the links in this email, go to the Email Archives at the top of the MTLINCS homepage at .  Also if you no longer wish to receive this mailing, please let me know!  Thanks!


Norene Peterson
Adult Education Center
415 N. 30th
Billings, MT 59101