Meet the GED® Academy Educators
We are committed to teaching for success.
Our goal is to change the way adults are being educated. Way too many people are being left behind without the basic education they need to find success in their lives. These changes are not going to be easy to make. They are going to require questioning some of the most basic assumptions that hold adult education together.
Our staff of committed educators have begun this process by offering new perspectives about adult education. We offer these comments as the beginning of a dialogue among educators wanting to find better ways to reach the millions of people not getting the education they need. Please feel free write us with your comments, ideas, and dreams.
Scroll down for personal messages from our GED Academy educators, and get a GED Academy educator’s perspective. To get more information or talk to a GED Academy representative, email us or call us any time.
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The Best Kept Secret
Michael Ormsby, GED Academy President
It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of adult literacy education: shrinking budgets, reallocation of adult resources to K-12, and haphazard professional development. It’s seriously depressing. Yet, with all of these challenges, I believe we are (Read more...)
in the midst of very dramatic changes in adult education that will alter the way adults are being educated. This is the best kept secret about adult education.
Consider these facts. Every month over 2 million adults go to the Internet to search for solutions for obtaining their GED diplomas. This is an 800% increase in the last six years. Growth among high school non-completers for Internet usage is increasing at over 25% a year. And by 2012, over half of the population in the U.S. will have cell phones capable of Internet access. Clearly, very soon everyone will be connected to the Internet and capable of being educated online. Our home study literacy program, the GED Academy, educates more people for the GED exam than many states do. And we do it quicker, cheaper, and with a much higher completion rate. The best kept secret in adult education is that adults are already using the Internet to educate themselves at a rate that will very soon exceed the entire capacity of the adult education system.
The challenge for the adult ed system is to be on the inside of this revolution, not outside looking in. So what can be done? How can adult schools educate more adults with a higher level of instruction for less resources? Once it was impossible.
New generation learning technology is clearly the solution. Some would challenge this by arguing that educational technology has been around for many years and has not made much of an impact on improving the education of adult learners or the cost structure of adult schools. It’s true. Existing learning technology is not much more than computerized worksheets. The solution is to invent new technology for adult education.
Look at how technology has completely transformed almost every other industry and institution. The reason that it hasn’t transformed adult education is that education technology in the past was created to mimic the existing classroom tools, textbooks, worksheets, and lectures. But when learning technology steps outside of these boundaries, then very exciting and transforming things begin to happen.
We have begun to create innovative new ways of educating adults. We welcome you to be part of this revolution.
Why This Program Will Change Your Life.
Leonard Williams, GED Instructor
My philosophy about teaching is simple.
I believe that learning is about understanding. I don’t think we actually learn something until we understand it.
My job in creating the GED Academy learning program was to find the way to make sure every (Read more...)
student understands even the most complex idea. I think we’ve succeeded at this. Here’s a comment from one of our math students:
“I dreaded the GED math test because I never was any good in math. But when it was really explained to me so that I could get it, then my whole attitude changed.”
When learning is customized to exactly what you need, then it’s a very different experience. You learn quickly and remember it because you understand the fundamentals. It’s yours.
We created an extraordinary educational program that’s not only affordable for everyone, but makes learning even the hardest high school skills a breeze.
If My Students Aren’t Getting It, I’m Not Doing My Job.
Amy Tannenbaum, GED Teacher
I worry about only one thing… Is the student getting it?
As a teacher, it’s really easy to get caught up in textbooks and assessments and even paperwork. At the core, all the tests and tools are really about the students. With everything I do at (Read more...)
GED Academy, I keep that focus.
The GED Academy Accelerated Learning Program is student-centered learning. Our policy is to make sure everyone learns, and I mean everyone, no matter how long it’s been since they were in school or what grade they left. If the study program doesn’t make students learn, then I’m failing at my job.
A Student Wrote: “Not a Day Goes by That I Don’t Wish I Could Re-do My Life…”
Kimberly Stephens, Instructional Designer
A lot of our adult literacy students tell us they feel this way. They want move on from where they’re stuck and get the adult basic education they missed. I often feel my job is more about changing the mindset of adult learners from student failures to student (Read more...)
winners. Many students come to our literacy programs with very low self-esteem as learners. School has always been a place of failure for them.
The GED Academy learning program is designed to combat this feeling of failure. It gives literacy education students the continual opportunity for small learning victories. Each time they complete a lesson, they see tangible results and movement toward their learning goals.
Students get feedback while learning. That’s difficult to do in a classroom teaching environment, but with new generation learning technology we give students instant feedback while they are learning instead of waiting until they take a unit test. We call this “just-in-time” feedback. It makes a huge difference in accelerating student learning.
A Student Wrote: “I Didn’t Know Who I Was or Where I Was Going.”
Shawna Adler, Instructional Designer
Lots of people without a high school education feel lost. And it’s no wonder, because getting a good job, finding a place in life can be very difficult for someone without a high school diploma. And how do you move forward? There are just too many things that (Read more...)
get in the way: long work hours, kids to take care of, cost of tuition, and transportation.
We’re changing that. We have completely reinvented the way people are being educated by making getting a good education inexpensive and accessible to everyone. With our program, it’s simple for adult learners to learn what they need to make the fundamental changes they want in their lives. They can do it conveniently from home without giving up the high quality education they would get in a classroom.
Our distance learning program has helped thousands of people get their GED diplomas. Our home study program educates more people for the GED test than many states do, and at a fraction of the cost and time. We’ve spent years researching and creating our learning ecosystem, an environment that gives learners everything they need to turn around poor attitudes and drive their own success.
Nobody Quits School Because Education Isn’t Important.
Caesar Alvarado, GED Teacher
People quit school for lots of reasons: family problems, pregnancy, getting into gangs, or just losing interest in school. But very few people quit school because they don’t think education is important. If schools did a better job at teaching, fewer people (Read more...)
would quit. But a lot of students just aren’t learning. They aren’t getting what they need from school.
There aren’t a lot of options for people who have left the school system. Only 1% of the people who need a GED diploma actually get one. What’s needed is a better way to educate the people who’ve already left school.
We need a whole new kind of learning that treats each student personally and individually. We need to make sure everyone can understand what they need to learn, and that learning is as easy as possible. This new learning makes sure the student actually gets it before they move on.
The new kind of learning is here now. It’s not like anything you have ever experienced before in the classroom. But don’t take my word for it.
Our Students Say: “School Made Me Feel Dumb.”
Annie Hughes, GED Instructor
I’ve heard this over and over from my students. Some students are convinced that they are dumb! This is what I tell them: “Listen, the problem isn’t with you, the problem is with the schools. They have failed you, you did not fail. They made you (Read more...)
feel dumb. You’re not dumb.”
I feel that adult literacy education is on the verge of making a very big change. Traditionally, it’s been built on the learning model of classroom education: lectures, textbook assignments, quizzes, and final exams. My experience has shown me that adult learners often need more support than just throwing them chunks of learning and hoping they will connect the dots and make sense out of the whole. What we’ve done at the GED Academy is build in a learning scaffold that supports learners step-by-step but also teaches them how to be self-directed learners.
The change that is happening in adult education is being lead by new generation learning technology that supports students more successfully in their quests to become educated. It allows teachers to take on a different role, one of the facilitator of learning rather than the purveyor of knowledge. This is very exciting times to be an adult educator.
Classrooms Are Teaching Factories.
Allen Gibbons, Instructional Designer
One of our students told me this the other day: “I dropped out of high school because I was not treated like an adult, and that is what I expected.”
The type of learning we’re used to in the classroom was invented about 100 years ago, to find (Read more...)
a way to educate the masses. The idea of putting a large group of students in a classroom together was borrowed from Henry Ford. Our adult schools have become an assembly line of learning.
Before that, learning was done one-on-one in apprenticeships. In an apprenticeship, the teacher customized education for the needs of the student, and students learned by doing. Of course, there aren’t enough teachers to teach everyone one-on-one. Teaching everyone is good, but teaching like an assembly line just doesn’t work. For a long time, there was no solution.
But the Internet has made one-on-one learning possible for everyone. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, new generation learning technology like GED Academy can customize learning to exactly what each and every student needs. We don’t have to choose anymore. We can achieve one-on-one learning and teach everyone. That’s positive change.
How We Accelerate Learning.
Dwayne Peterson, GED Math Teacher
I teach math. Students tell me all the time that math is their hardest subject. When we created the GED Academy mathematics course, I knew it would have to make math easy for people to learn. Here’s some of the things we we’ve done.
First, we make (Read more...)
sure that everything is explained in plain, simple language and that we use examples from real life. This way, students can relate the math to things they already know. We explain why math is the way it is, so our students really understand instead of just memorizing formulas.
Second, we teach everything from multiple viewpoints or learning styles. Everyone learns things a little differently, so it’s important to explain math ideas in several different ways so that it makes sense to everyone.
Third, we give our students the option to get background math ideas that they may have forgotten or that were never taught to them well enough. Our courses start with the basics of math, and as learners understand more, they move to more advanced ideas. That way our students never get in over their heads.
Each Student Learns Differently.
Richard Lewis, GED Instructor
I have students tell me all the time that textbooks and lectures don’t make sense, that they need to learn in a different way. It’s interesting to understand where this attitude comes from, and how to address it.
Literacy education hasn’t (Read more...)
always taken into account how people learn differently. Most adult schools and teachers have decided that one way of learning is better than another. So, someone who understands things visually or kinesthetically usually doesn’t do well in the regular classroom. I believe that a good teaching adult literacy program needs to address all the differences between students. If it doesn’t, it leaves people behind.
I work to find ways to break the mold of students’ past learning experiences. One way is to avoid teaching material that is adapted from K-12 content. There’s a belief in adult education that adult learners are just grown up high school students and that they learn in the same way. I don’t see this at all in my adult learners.
What I see is that instead of learning in steps, adult learners often learn in leaps and bounds. They bring a whole set of learning experiences to my classroom from their work and personal lives, and they use these to make sense out of the material I’m teaching them. You can’t anticipate what an adult learner may know from their life experience.
In developing learning material for the GED Academy, we have taken into account the rich learning experiences of adult learners and allow them to use these successfully in acquiring skills and knowledge. It has made a huge difference in the speed of learning as well as the long term retention.
How Can We Accelerate Adult Learning?
Andrea Pierson, GED Instructor
The average adult literacy student enters the adult ed system at a grade level equivalent of 6th grade, according to the GED Testing Service. Conventional wisdom suggests that the typical adult basic education student is looking at a gain of 6 years in grade level (Read more...)
competency to obtain a GED diploma. The question is, how long should it take to gain these six years in literacy skills and knowledge?
We have done a lot of research into this question because it is central to our goal of creating an accelerated learning path for our adult literacy students. What we’ve discovered surprises many people. Adult learners can gain missing literacy skills and knowledge much much faster than current assumptions dictate. Here’s why.
The standardized NRS assessments used in adult schools to place students are not giving us the whole picture of what the student knows. The picture is distorted. Tied to this is the assumption that adult learners learn in about the same steps as high school student. This assumption does not take into account all the life experiences adults bring to the table. Nor does it take into account that adults may have partial understanding and just need to fill in some gaps or shore up some fundamentals. Often, adult learners are reviewing and building on life experience, instead of learning from scratch.
Adult literacy education needs a way to customize the learning to exactly what each student needs. When this is done, then learning goes much, much faster, to say nothing of how much more enjoyable and rewarding it is for the learner.
Individualizing learning for every single adult learner is the main reason why new learning technology like the GED Academy can greatly accelerate learning. To see how this works in person, give us a call at 800-931-8069.
Why Technology Can Lower the Cost of Adult Education.
Chris Daniels, GED Instructor
When one considers the total cost in literacy programs of educating an adult to pass the GED tests, the costs are in the thousands of dollars per graduate. Having to cut budgets actually increases these costs because fewer students complete their programs due to (Read more...)
less staff and less programs. So is there a way out of this downward spiraling cycle?
It may seem counter-intuitive that spending money on technology can increase the number of adults being educated and lower the total cost of instruction. To understand how this can happen, we need to stop thinking about technology in terms of hardware and software. Instead, learning technology needs to be viewed as large ecosystems that provide a multitude of learning experiences for the adult literacy learner.
New generation learning technology is a way to greatly improve the delivery of learning to the learner. Traditionally, learning has been delivered by just a few means: lectures, textbooks, worksheets, and feedback on quizzes. It’s more or less up the learner to put the pieces together to make meaning. New learning technology can take this process of making meaning and understanding to a whole new level, one where the adult literacy student develops fundamental learning strategies that last a lifetime.
But how does adopting new learning technology actually save money? There are several ways. One way is to blend the new technology with classroom instruction. Two things happen. First, students learn faster because they can increase their study time with Internet connections. Second, schools can increase the number of students per teacher because they can cut the time in class by as much as one half and still get the same or better teaching results.
Another way adult schools cut costs is with distance learning. Reaching out with programs that do not require hiring more teachers or tying up more classrooms will produce more student enrollment with less cost, and in some cases create a revenue stream for the school.
Give one of our educational specialists a call to find out more about ways to cut your costs: 800-931-8069.
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