Project I-DEA

The Education Department at Tacoma Community House launched a pilot program, Project I-DEA, with the intent to increase digital, career and college-readiness skills of adult English students. The Integrated Digital English Acceleration (I-DEA) Program targets adult learners in the lowest levels in English as a Second Language classes.  Supported by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, TCH is in the third year of the program in collaboration with all community and technical colleges.

Students have access to new laptops and technology – enhanced resources thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ELA (English Language Acquisition) students are learning through a flipped model, where they do pre-work before coming to class to practice their skills. Lessons are broken into modules and students do about eight hours of one-on-one time a week – with an additional eight hours of work at home.

Even though we are in the first quarter of a three-quarter pilot, students seem to be enjoying the class. Amy Diehr, Education Services Director says, “We are all learning this quarter.  Students are learning how to use a computer and learn English while staff are learning how to wrap lessons with pre-work rather than homework.”

Project I-DEA already shows great promise. By the end of the program, I-DEA learners will increase their English language, digital skills and progress along career and college pathways toward family-wage jobs.

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