Literacy Online :
A Study on the Use of Web
Technology in Literacy
BY DANIEL LAROCQUE
In 1996-1997, the Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) Section of the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training (MET) with the financial support of the National Literacy Secretariat (NLS), initiated a project on online literacy. The object of this venture was to evaluate the potential interest and value of having literacy activities delivered by way of an online environment. By the end of phase 1, an equivalent of 30 hours of activities in each official language had been created, designed, and integrated in an online environment. Phase 1 (also referred to as the pre-pilot) convinced LBS and NLS that literacy online was worth further investigation.
In the summer of 1998, phase 2 (or the pilot) of the project was launched. «Literacy Online / Alpharoute (phase 2)» combines two interrelated strands: 1) development and 2) research. The development strand tackles two main challenges: web-based innovation to allow a greater variety of activities and greater interaction online; open standards to facilitate portability to a number of environments and to support future content developers. Curriculum and Technical Teams are presently addressing these challenges. The research strand will focus on two questions: - at what stage of their reaming can literacy students begin to be independent in an online environment? - what supports do they need to do so?
A Research Team is presently working on defining these questions further and on elaborating a pertinent methodology. By the end of phase 2, there will be:
Learners from centers in Ontario, British-Columbia and Québec will participate in the research due to start in April 1999. Please note that both web sites will be closed during the implementation of phase 2 (and thus only accessible via a password). That being said, the results of the project should serve as a solid base for a future expansion of online literacy activities. Phase 2 is administered by AlphaPlus and developed by Réseau Interaction Network, Inc.
For more information, contact Daniel Larocque at email@example.com or Jane Larimer at firstname.lastname@example.org
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