Introducing Streams On Line to Adult Literacy Students

    by Madeline Slovenz
    June, 1999
    The Web is a difficult terrain to navigate, even for accomplished readers. If Streams OnLine (SOL) is a student's first exposure to the Internet and the Web, it can serve to quickly empower the new reader to understand that the Web is a place for reading, interacting in a virtual community, and publishing one's own work to share with others.

    How We Introduced SOL at Frederick Douglass Literacy Center

    At Frederick Douglass Literacy Center we succeeded in motivating our students by introducing the project in stages.  By starting with reading previous works published on SOL, students immediately learned that it was a good place for pleasure reading.  Leaving a comment for others implicitly impressed upon them the public nature of the project.  Once they succeeded in leaving comments, we introduced the compose and edit functions.  Because students in our school were used to the full functionality of word processors like Word Perfect and MS-Word they initially had some difficulty adjusting to the limitations of entering text in a database. Because of time, only a couple students in our Beta group advanced to HTML coding and including uploaded images and sound files in their compositions. (See Orlando Richards "To Mom" Rev. 5 and Steeve Gaillard "What Do I Know" Rev. 4.)

    Recommended Stages for Introducing SOL
    Stage One:     Read and Comment
    Stage Two:    Explore and Read what you like / Comment if you so desire
    Stage Three:  Compose and Submit an Original Work
    Stage Four:    Edit earlier work
    Stage Five:     Uploading files
    Stage Six:       Basic HTML

    What Will Students Need to Know about the Browser for SOL?

    It has been our experience that it is more effective to teach students computer skills in the context of a particular need.  If students have little to no experience with browsing the Internet prior to working in SOL, we recommend introducing browser basics in the context of the SOL project, starting by reviewing only the functions that will be needed to carry out the lesson at hand.

    Vocabulary for Using the Browser

    Vocabulary and Concepts for Using the Stream OnLine Web Site

    If you will be asking the students to READ and COMMENT in one lesson and COMPOSE in another consider breaking down the vocabulary and concepts review accordingly.