The Learning Edge is an exciting online newspaper for adult new readers. It is a project of the Wellington County Learning Centre in partnership with AlphaPlus and sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the National Literacy Secretariat.
Unlike the multitude of other online newspapers, The Learning Edge is produced with low literacy adults specifically in mind. This is obvious from the use of graphics and the fact that almost all text is voiced.
When you go to the website you will find 4 issues of the newspaper. Each issue contains approximately 6 articles. The articles cover topics of specific interest to adults such as Paying a utility bill, Street safety, and How to write a good cover letter. The articles are written in plain language, at approximately an intermediate level. Learners can hear the article read to them and they can read along following the text as it is highlighted in blue. The text can also be printed for use offline. All of the articles are accompanied by short online vocabulary and comprehension activities.
The website is professionally designed which makes it easy to use but also makes it require a lot of memory to run efficiently. The older your computer, the longer you will have to wait for articles to appear. I was also unsuccessful at getting the audio to work on my Macintosh computer. The only aspect of the website that is not top notch is the quality of the voices. Although they are clear, there is a tinny quality to the sound that makes it somewhat unappealing to listen to. The navigation buttons are easy to understand and the learner is often prompted verbally as to what to do next. This website definitely stands out as a special resource for adult new readers.
Career Matters is a website run by TVOntario. This site is for people who are unsure of what field they want to work in. There is a lot of information provided on choosing appropriate high school courses, postsecondary education, training opportunities and career options. Although the main focus of this site is for young people in high school, there is a lot of interesting information for adult students as well. The most useful section of this site for adult literacy students is Job Matters. Here there are over 50 different job videos listed alphabetically. When you select a video to watch, you must indicate the media player you have Real Player, Windows Media or QuickTime and your connection speed modem or DSL/Cable. The videos load fairly quickly and the sound is quite clear. The videos are based on regular people or entrepreneurs in the selected jobs talking about their personal experiences. There is also a glossary of terms used in the videos. Since there is a separate window for the video and the glossary, you can view them simultaneously.
In the Careers section, you can find good advice on a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ). Some of these questions include, what are the deductions on a pay cheque and is there financial aid available if you want to start your own business. Under the Resources section you can find links to other webpages that can help you with things like job search skills and job trends.
Mouserobics is for any computer user who needs to learn or practise mouse control. This website takes you step by step through the stages of becoming a mouse master. There are clear and easy to follow written instructions with accompanying graphics where necessary. These tasks are presented in an interesting and easy to follow manner. For example, when learning to move and click, the numbers that you must click on are large to start but get increasingly smaller as your skill improves. They also appear at various locations on the screen so that you must move your mouse properly in order to click on them. Once youve mastered basic clicking, the tasks become more challenging by placing the number you want to select in the middle of lower numbers. If you miss and click on a lower number by mistake, you must redo those pages to get back to where you were when you made the mistake. After you complete each section, you also have the opportunity to redo it before moving on to the next skill.
When you have completed this tutorial, you will be able to move a mouse, click, scroll, use check boxes, fill out forms, use drop-down menus, radio buttons, pop-up windows and copy and paste. This is a very well designed website for people who need to learn or gain confidence with mouse control.
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