Literacy Rochester pilots technology program

Literacy Rochester has received funding to launch a new pilot program that will help cross the digital divide.

“Getting Technology in the Hands of Those in Need” will provide Chromebooks, tablets and internet service to participants in the organization’s instructional and digital literacy programs. Participants will receive a Chromebook or tablet in addition to internet service for three to six months.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much uncertainty and wondering what is next for each of us. With so many parts of everyday life on hold and in flux, the challenges of literacy did not get put on hold and our students still needed to work towards achieving their goals,” said Joshua Stapf, development director for Literacy Rochester. “We, at Literacy Rochester, took our traditional hands-on face-to-face tutoring, classes and computer help and redesigned it to work in a social distancing world.”

The program is being made possible through Literacy Rochester’s partnership with Spectrum and the Office of Adult and Career Education Service (OACES) at Rochester City School District, which provided funding for the purchase of the materials and Wi-Fi hotspots for adult learners to take advantage of the virtual classes online.

“Equipping our residents with the tools they need to be digitally literate is essential to making sure that every citizen can fully function in today’s high tech society,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in a statement. “I want to thank Literacy Rochester and their partners for creating this new pilot program that will supply technology to those in need, and for their ongoing commitment to help more people in the Rochester community connect to the ever-expanding virtual world we live in.”

Through the loan program participants receiving the technology can continue on their pathway to success in a time when access to computers are limited due to libraries and community centers being closed, officials said. The hotspots and tablets also will provide internet access for everyone in the participant’s household.

“Charter is proud to lend support towards Literacy Rochester and the launch of their pilot adult online learning tool,” said Camille Joseph, global vice president of state government affairs for Charter Communications. “We continue to support broadband education, training and technology with grants to nonprofit organizations that are interested in providing the necessary tools and training to help communities excel in the digital age.”

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Roberts adds online option for master’s degree in literary education

Roberts Wesleyan College will offer an online graduate degree in literary education starting with the fall semester.

The program is structured so working teachers will be able to add to their credentials while maintaining their jobs. They may attend full time or part time to amass the 30 hours of required coursework.

 “We understand the busy lifestyles of teachers, which is why we designed an online option in literacy education,” said Elizabeth Stevens, program director of the literacy program at Roberts Wesleyan College. “In our uniquely formatted program, teachers motivated to continue their education have the option to take classes fully online, or engage in a hybrid of online and face-to-face classes.”

According to the college, Roberts Wesleyan’s new degree option is one of the few in the area to allow students to complete the degree in as little as 11 months. A two-week practicum is also required. Information on the program is available on the college’s website.

Graduates will be eligible for jobs as teachers, reading specialists, reading coaches and other educational positions.

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