Using laptop computers to develop basic skills

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This handbook is intended as a reference source for tutors who want to use laptop computers with adults in their local community to develop their literacy, numeracy and ESOL skills. It is also designed for practitioners to develop their own ICT skills: it assumes a basic familiarity in using ICT, basic skills awareness and a lot of enthusiasm and creativity.

We have used ‘basic skills’ as a shorthand term for literacy, numeracy and ESOL with adults. Adult basic skills ‘covers the literacy, language (ESOL) and numeracy needs of post-16 learners, including those with learning difficulties or disabilities, as well as the key skills of communication and application of number, whether delivered as stand-alone provision, as part of a vocational programme or bolt-on course, and whether delivered full-time, part-time, or through self-study or ICT. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) refers to computers – here, laptops in particular – and technologies such as digital cameras, video, multi-media etc.

The handbook will:
• Discuss evaluations and early findings about how and why laptops can be beneficial to learners and communities
• Introduce some ways of working within the national standards, including using the core curricula, assessments and planning, and accreditation
• Discuss some issues around teacher training, funding and practical issues to do with laptops
• Introduce some ICT skills for tutors that are useful for materials development
• Give examples of commercially produced and tutor-developed materials.

(2003) Using laptop computers to develop basic skills: a handbook for practitioners. NRDC: London