ALTA Online: Your Questions Answered

ALTA Online: Your Questions Answered

i Jun 24th No Comments by

ALTA has asked the question: How can we deliver literacy instruction in an efficient, interactive way to members of the public who have not previously been able to participate in our community classes for one reason or another? The answer is ALTA Online.

Now we answer some of your frequently asked questions on this new offering.

What is ALTA Online?

An independent web-based literacy learning programme for ages 10+.

Who can sign up for ALTA Online?

Anyone aged 10 and over who finds reading difficult and has access to a computer or laptop.

How do I get into my ALTA Online lessons?

ALTA will WhatsApp the “How to Use Alta Online” video to show you step by step how to get to the site and how to enter your user name and password.

When can I do the ALTA Online lessons?

As it is on the internet, ALTA Online is available 24/7. You can login anytime to do some minutes or some hours of literacy learning.

Does ALTA Online have a teacher?

No. ALTA Online uses video, audio and pictures to teach followed by interactive activities and games to practise what was taught.

Do I need internet access?

Yes, internet or wifi access is required.

What is the cost of ALTA Online?

It’s $600 a book. When you do three books, you complete a literacy level.

I heard that ALTA is free, so why do I have to pay for ALTA Online?

While ALTA community classes taught by volunteer tutors are free, ALTA Online replaces the paid instruction offered at workplaces and through sponsored projects.

Now we ask you: Would you or someone you know benefit from improved literacy skills on your own schedule and at your own pace? If yes, ALTA Online is the answer.

Individual subscription packages are now available for purchase.

Contact us at 341-8668 or altaarima@alta-tt.org to get started.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining an ALTA-V class, enhancing their literacy through ALTA Online Level 1 or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email altapos.tt@gmail.com.

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

A Godsend

i Jun 17th No Comments by

ALTA Online, Level 1 is here and ready for the young and not-so-young to sign up! Individual subscription packages of ALTA Online for users aged 10 and over are now available for purchase. Contact us at 341-8668 or altaarima@alta-tt.org to get started.

For the school
population, this is just in time for the two-month vacation. Even in non-Covid
times, literacy skills are known to deteriorate during the long break from
school.

ALTA Online presents parents with a new opportunity to get their children ready for the school year, especially for children whose schooling has been inconsistent due to Covid and who have difficulty with reading and spelling.

ALTA Online teaches and practises reading and spelling skills, which are the foundation for all schooling. At a cost of $600 for each online book, ALTA Online Book 1 & 2 (total $1,200) can help teens and pre-teens meet their reading and spelling goals. Our pilot has shown that two online books can be completed comfortably within two months.

The Assessment for Placement in ALTA Online is free. Student assessments begin on 1 July, but registration is already open.

This article features feedback on ALTA Online from Faaida James, a trained ALTA tutor and Senior Special Education Instructor with Student Support Services. Below she shares her sentiments on the learning platform and its application for the students she serves.

Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education provides psycho-social support services to students which include specialised services for children with moderate and severe Special Educational needs, behavioural issues, clinical issues and career guidance. A number of ALTA Online’s pilot students were referred via SSSD.

Faaida James

Senior Special Education Instructor,
Student Support Services

As a senior Special Education
Instructor, working with students in the Laventille-Movant school project, I
have encountered over 65% of students needing literacy intervention. These
students were in both in the primary and secondary school system.

Being one individual with a large population of students to service, the ALTA Online programme was ideal, especially for the secondary school students.

The ALTA Online programme gave children the confidence, motivation, and encouragement to keep on trying. What is also great about this programme, is that it is a self-paced one wherein the student can sign on anytime of the day or night that he or she chooses.

What is very valuable is that this programme allows students to do their online classes with their teachers to complete the physical packages sent to them, and in their downtime they can login to ALTA Online – all in the comfort of their home.

In addition to the wonderful work that ALTA is doing with this online programme as it reaches many more students than one individual can reach, I admire their support desk. That is one integral part of ALTA programme, wherein they have a support desk that eliminates all the potential problems students might experience while engaging with the technology. So that is one other aspect of this programme that makes it work so well. Once glitches are identified they are rectified in quick time.

The ALTA Online programme is one of the best programmes out there, and I would recommend it to schools across Trinidad and Tobago for students who are struggling with literacy.

Keep up the good job ALTA. You are a Godsend!

If you or someone you know is interested in joining an ALTA-V class, enhancing their literacy through ALTA Online Level 1 or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email altapos.tt@gmail.com.

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

ALTA Online: Here we Grow Again

i Jun 10th No Comments by

Our June articles continue to explore ALTA’s new offering – ALTA Online. This web-based programme of literacy instruction is built around Caribbean life skills content and designed for independent use by persons aged 10 and over who have low level reading and spelling skills.

In the first phase of the ALTA Online pilot, support from the UWI Campus Office of Planning and Institutional Research allowed for the creation of a Survey Monkey survey through which students were able to provide pointed feedback. This showed ALTA Online was well received by users.

Some key findings included 100% felt improved reading and spelling skills and are interested in continuing once more content becomes available. Over 90% would recommend ALTA Online to others to improve their reading. Specific pluses found were the ability to work from home, at their own pace and the ability to re-do activities.

This positive feedback shows that ALTA is on the right track, and we expect even more happy students as we continue to enhance the features of ALTA Online. In addition to adding Book 2 of Level 1, ALTA has added a game at the end of each lesson. These are modelled on the modified card games we have used successfully for years in our community classes.

Terry Ann Dickinson, one of our teen users, says that ALTA Online sparked her interest in learning. “ALTA helped me. I never really liked to read and the whole learning to read process used to make me kind of upset, but ALTA Online made reading fun to learn and the little games it had in between the videos made me interested in wanting to learn more, so I’m actually way better than I was before in my reading. I would really like to continue to improve even more!”

ALTA Online is expanding its support to students, continuing to make learning fun for them just as it has been for Terry Ann. ALTA has used the lessons learnt during the pilot to shape on-site implementation when schools and public spaces reopen, as well as continued individual home-based use.

ALTA now has a trained user support specialist to guide on-site mentors and directly assist students with sign up and log in, as well as act as a first point of contact for troubleshooting and linking to the development team.

But ALTA Online is intended for independent use, so ALTA has produced “How to Use ALTA Online” videos. These are sent by WhatsApp to users and have proved effective.

The ALTA Online Assessment Book, a tool developed to be used by prospective students to determine their starting level in ALTA Online, was successfully piloted with 128 users. This pilot confirmed:

  • Prospective students were able to use the Assessment Book independently with the aid of the ‘How to Use’ ALTA Online video
  • The Assessment Book efficiently places prospective students in the three ALTA literacy levels – Beginner (not offered by ALTA Online), Level 1 or Level 2 (2022).

ALTA Online is ready for school students to get their literacy skills up to par for the new academic year. As students continue to grapple with screen fatigue from the last year of remote learning, and in the continued absence of in-person schooling, ALTA Online would be best received during the July-August vacation.

Our next article will give details of the vacation plan for ALTA Online to reach school students.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining an ALTA-V class, enhancing their literacy through ALTA Online Level 1 or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email altapos.tt@gmail.com.

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

ALTA Online – tried and tested

i Jun 3rd No Comments by

From May 2020 to April 2021, ALTA piloted its new signature initiative, ALTA Online. This web-based programme of literacy instruction is built around Caribbean life skills content and designed for independent use by persons aged 10 and over who have low level reading and spelling skills.

Sponsored by NGC as part of ALTA’s Above and Beyond Award, ALTA Online’s pilots 1 and 2 allowed real end users to test the robustness of the programme and to provide feedback for further development of the application and its public roll-out. Once the ALTA Online Readiness survey determined the project’s feasibility in terms of users’ access to a web-enabled PC, pilot 1 was underway.

A diverse group of users, both adults and children, representing a wide geographic spread, put ALTA Online to the test. Pilot 1 (May-August 2020) paired users with ALTA-trained mentor tutors who helped transition users into the online world and to garner their feedback. Pilot 2 (October 2020-March 2021) formalised ALTA Online User Support processes and brought new resources into ALTA Online to liaise directly with users, as well as offering Book 2 of Level 1.

ALTA intentionally split the ALTA Online pilot users fairly evenly between adults and teens/pre-teens. The majority of students in ALTA free community classes, including ALTA-V, are mature persons. It has always been difficult to persuade younger people in their 20s and 30s to face exposure of their ‘secret’ by joining a class. ALTA Online is designed to appeal to the younger age group so they can enter the workforce equipped with literacy.

One of our young pilot participants, Shakem Jack, was certainly pleased with the application, as he said: “The ALTA Online programme did help me. It’s kind of like a game – it was fun! I thank you for that.”

142 students improving their literacy through ALTA Online

The pandemic and its related physical distancing restrictions meant that schools and community centres have been closed throughout the project, so ALTA had to rely on students having access to their own laptops/PCs as these are required to access ALTA Online.

ALTA had to double or triple efforts to find persons with literacy needs who also had web-enabled home computers, and seek new partners, such as children’s homes with in-house computers and internet access where children were resident.

That said, 142 pilot participants is a major achievement given that this project was to be delivered onsite in schools and community centres using the computers and internet freely available there.

In next week’s article, look out for the results of our survey of pilot users with details of pilot user feedback. With the two phases of the pilot successfully completed, ALTA is ready to roll out to a range of subscribers starting in July.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining an ALTA-V class, enhancing their literacy through ALTA Online Level 1 or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email altapos.tt@gmail.com

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT