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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

2024 News

What's Here?

Catch up on recent, and past Adult Education News.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of July 15

Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information.

Tech & Learning Announces Winners of Best of Show at ISTE2024

This year’s ISTE 24 Conference hosted in Denver, Colorado showcased “hundreds of new products and services.” Judges evaluated nominated products on the show floor with the following criteria: “ease of use, value, uniqueness in the market, and proof the product helped make teachers’ lives easier and supported student achievement.”

National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled

The National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent ow vision, blindness, or a physical, perceptual, or reading disability that prevents them from using regular print materials. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille or audio formats, that are instantly downloadable to a personal device or delivered by mail free of charge.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of July 8

Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information.

Building Educator Digital Capacity

Going beyond access to devices and technology is the high level of quality professional learning critical to a technology initiative. Whether in a rural, urban or suburb, the condition of success in any agency is a culture of collaborative inquiry.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of July 1

Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information. OTAN will be closed July 4th to celebrate Independence Day!

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of June 24

Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information. This Upcoming Week’s Professional Development

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of June 17

OTAN will be closed June 19th to celebrate Juneteenth - Freedom Day. OTAN presentations at CASAS link. Find your favorite OTAN presenters and we look forward to seeing you!

The New Jim Code? Race and Discriminatory Design

This podcast/article can be heard or read using this full article link. Ruha Benjamin, associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of the book, Race After Technology discusses exploring the “role of technology in education.” She refers to “discriminatory design and her concept of The New Jim Code in reference to the highly racist Jim Crow era.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of June 10

Visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information.

What do we Gain and Lose when Students use AI to Write?

“If a student uses AI to write and nobody notices, does it matter?” Writer Tony Wan explains the evolution of technology from cursive writing to the typewriter to speech to text functions. “When groundbreaking technologies enter schools, old skills and habits make way for new ones. Some we may not miss much, like cursive handwriting. Other conveniences come at a cost.” Will AI replace the need to both learn to read and write?

ProLiteracy's Mobile Learning Fund - Solutions for Online Learning Resources

One of the resources available from our friends at ProLiteracy is grant funding through its Mobile Learning Fund. Grants provided through the Mobile Learning Fund give adult literacy programs access to free, easy-to-use subscriptions and licenses for distance- and blended-learning. Mobile Learning Fund grants may be used for digital materials from providers such as New Readers Press, Learning Upgrade, EnGen, Leamos, and News for You Online.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of June 3

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information. Canvas with OTAN: Sign-ups and renewals occurring now!

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of May 27

OTAN will be closed for Memorial Day to remember and honor our fallen on May 27, 2024. For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information. Canvas with OTAN: Sign-ups and renewals occurring now!

Organizing your Canvas Account For Account Administrators

With summer here, a Canvas Account reorganization may already be on your to-do list. There might be some courses which need dropping, subaccounts which need cleaning up, and new features to be considered...like New Quizzes. As an administrator, you may want to update or create your agency’s theme. Perhaps a motivated staff member would like to blueprint some courses for their colleagues and needs your administrative magic. Maybe you’ve been gifted the job of Canvas Administrator and do not know where to begin or your agency is new to the Canvas project. Whatever the case, support is here.

Memorial Day Message

OTAN is closed Monday, May 27th in memory of those who gave their lives while serving the United States.

Myths and Facts about People with Disabilities

The Easterseals website offers practical support and education about people living with a disability. With stereotypes leading to misinformation about the “barriers people with disabilities face,” this myth and facts sheet educates us on healthy ways to think about people with disabilities.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of May 20

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information.

California’s Digital Equity Plan Accepted

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) accepted California’s Digital Equity Plan reported April 2, 2024. President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda establishes three grant programs promoting digital equity and inclusion spending over $2.75 billion dollars.

Foundational Policies for AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Education

TeachAI is an initiative uniting education and technology leaders to assist governments and education authorities in teaching with and about AI. It is led by Code.org, ETS, the International Society for Technology in Education, Khan Academy, and the World Economic Forum. It is advised by a diverse group of 100+ organizations, governments, and individuals. TeachAI’s goals include providing policy guidance, increasing awareness, and building community and capacity.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of May 13

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. OTAN can customize to suit your agency’s needs. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information.

When you can’t read a medicine bottle: California immigrants struggle with low English literacy

“In California, an estimated 28% of adults have such poor literacy in English that they struggle to do anything more complicated than filling out a basic form or reading a short text," according to a survey from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). "California’s rate is worse than any other state except New Mexico, where the estimated rate is 29%.” These results require immediate attention and adult education has addressed this issue despite a lack of funding. This article published by EdSurge features an interactive US map highlighting statistics by each state with a click denoting both California's rich cultural diversity and robust immigrant population.

Second Chances: Education and Justice Involved Students

“Research demonstrates that people who obtain their high school equivalencies while in prison increase their earnings by 24-29% within the first year of release, and those who participate in correctional education programs are 13% less likely to recidivate than those who do not.”

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of May 6

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. OTAN can customize to suit your agency’s needs. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage and then email support@otan.us for more information.

Why Neuroscience and Technology are Key to Helping Us Rethink How Students Learn

For years, teachers studied learning modalities to best meet the instructional needs of all learners. The VARK learning theory first introduced by Neil Fleming in 1987 suggests knowledge acceleration occurs “via one of four core learning styles: visual (V), aural (A), read/write (R), or kinesthetic (K).” Teacher education programs advocate if “we cater to natural learning styles” then every individual will learn. Today, there’s uncertainty about “it’s overall effectiveness when it comes to learning outcomes.”

Confronting Ableism on the way to Justice

“Being Black and a child with cerebral palsy, or ‘crippled’ as I was called, neither I nor my classmates were expected to put forth any effort to learn. So, little effort was spent on teaching us. The simple act of requesting that actual math be taught got me sent to the principal’s office.” Article Writer, Keith Jones explained in this Magazine article featured in Learning for Justice. Jones’ takeaway message inspires educators to look beyond the barrier to learning and the intersection of race or gender, for example, and have high expectations as well allow them voice and agency.

The New N-400 Application for Naturalization

On April 1, 2024, USCIS released a new fee rule (G-1055 effective immediately) and the updated N-400 Application for Naturalization (N-400 2024). The new fee rule edition of Form N-400 incorporates a request for a reduced fee based on household income. Certain applicants may be eligible to submit Form I-912 Request for Fee Waiver when they apply for naturalization. Use the Fee Calculator Tool to pay the correct amount.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of April 29

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar.

Understanding and Countering Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Schools

This article written by Rachael Fugardi, Jaci Jones, Caleb Kieffer, and Alon Milwicki from the Learning for Justice website presents facts about both Islamophobia and Antisemitism. With the conflict occurring in the Middle East, the rise in both is also taking place in our schools. The purpose of sharing this article is to “nurture...interest in understanding and engaging with what is happening in and beyond [our] communities... And we must do so in ways that reject bigotry.”

Adult Learner Variability Network

When working with any person, especially adults, an educator must first understand what impacts our students for them to fully engage in school. While we may empathize with obstacles which impact our students, we may not know how to strategically support them...until ALVN. The Adult Learner Variability Network (ALVN) offers classroom strategies, research and resources for particular Adult Learner Factors.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of April 22

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. OTAN can customize to suit your agency’s needs. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage.

The English Learner Family Toolkit

The U.S. Educational system can be difficult to navigate especially for people new to it. This helpful resource for educators, administrators, school staff, community organizations and families assist with learning about the educational system. Downloadable in four languages, English, Arabic, Chinese and Spanish, this toolkit is organized into six chapters with five sections. Chapter topics include:

Beyond the Box Applied to Adult Education

“Education has been shown to reduce recidivism by 48 percent.” This report was first published in 2016 and again with an updated version in April 2023, making educators aware of what “formerly incarcerated students face both during the admissions process and while enrolled” in higher education. Upon inspection, the recommendations in this report tailored to higher education also apply to our adult education agencies. This article intends to relay some pertinent information about things to consider when a formerly incarcerated adult enrolls in our programs.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of April 15

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Schedule your Professional Development with OTAN today. OTAN can customize to suit your agency’s needs. For more ideas consult What OTAN Offers webpage.

3 Essential ChatGPT Prompting Skills for ESL Teachers

While many people fear that A.I. “undermines the quality of education and allows students to cheat their way through assignments,” this technology, if used correctly, can also enhance many learning experiences. A.I. can assist language teachers with ideas about simulating conversations, role playing, and creating interactive stories. This article summarizes three additional ways AI can benefit the ESL student.

Ventura County Digital Upskilling Training Program

Ventura County developed this Digital Upskilling Training program “to increase the digital skills of job seekers, current workers, and small business operators within their county.” Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin developed this project idea and secured $5 million in state general funding for this pilot project. Recently, the county’s goal is to make it replicable

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of April 8

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Interested in participating in Canvas with OTAN? Sign-ups and renewals occurring now! Drop-in Canvas Administrator trainings: No need to register access schedule here.

Adult Education Week April 7th – April 13th

Each year, adult education agencies across California promote their programs and the great work being done by their students and staff during Adult Education Week. This year, Adult Education Week will be April 7th to 13th. There are many ways to communicate the important work your agency is doing to serve your community.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of April 1 (no fooling!)

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Interested in participating in Canvas with OTAN? Sign-ups and renewals occurring now! Drop-in Canvas Administrator trainings: No need to register access schedule here. Accepting DLAC Applications April 1st!

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of March 25

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Interested in participating in Canvas with OTAN? Sign-ups and renewals occurring now!

OTAN Canvas Happenings this Spring

New or Renewing OTAN Canvas Licenses? OTAN is happy to announce some positive changes to how we process Canvas Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs). The Canvas 2024-25 MOU is now designated as evergreen, meaning, once processed, it will remain in effect for five years or until either your AGENCY or OTAN opts not to renew it.

Blended Learning in the Math Classroom

Many of us grew up with the traditional math model. It was a Traditional One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Math. Each class followed this lesson structure: 1. Homework check or warm up problem 2. Whole Class Mini-lesson 3. Independent Practice and Review

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of March 18

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar.

Assistive & Accessible Technology

Webpage: Assistive & Accessible Technology This webpage explores the differences between assistive and accessible technology. To summarize: Assistive technology is a piece of software or hardware designed to perform a specific task. These are some examples:

The Three Es for Your AI Learning Strategy: Equity, Ethics, and Educators

There is much to talk about when it comes to Artificial Intelligence in not just our society, but in Education. With this new technology, there’s a “growing demand for AI literacy” which has increased opportunities for “equitable, evidence-based, innovative solutions in digital skills education, teacher professional development and ... implementation.”

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of March 11

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar.

What Does It Mean to Belong?

This article written by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey explores perspectives about belonging. Standard thinking among adult educators is the relationship building which must occur before academics can truly begin. As we know, the adult learner votes with their feet. Attendance is one measurement of whether a student feels like they belong in your classroom. Some educators also report the difficulty of working with a leader who does not connect or offer a sense of continued belonging. Stanford researcher Geoffrey Cohen (2022) defines belonging as the following: “Belonging is the feeling that we’re part of a larger group that values, respects, and cares for us – and to which we feel we have something to contribute.”

10 simple steps to creating a content calendar for your brand

It’s challenging to understand what is effective to and not to post. Many people who are new to posting consider the 10 simple steps presented in this infographic by Giraffe Social.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of March 4

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Nominations accepted until March 15 for the California Students Succeed Awards #CAESS

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of February 26

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. Nominations accepted until March 15 for the California Students Succeed Awards #CAESS

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of February 19

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. OTAN will be closed Monday, February 19 to commemorate President George Washington’s birthday. Nominations accepted until March 15 for the California Students Succeed Awards #CAESS Deadline to register for Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2024 #TDLS2024 is February 23.

How AI Reduces the World to Stereotypes

This compelling article written by Victoria Turk on October 10, 2023, highlights that “bias occurs in many algorithms and AI systems- from sexist to racist search results to facial recognition systems that perform worse on Black faces.“ Bloomberg analyzed 5000 generative AI faces and found “images associated with higher-paying job titles featured people with lighter skin tones, and that results for most professional roles were male-dominated.” The article further demonstrates how AI prompts diminishes and flattens representation of a broad spectrum of people from several different countries.

A SkillRise Resource Collection: An ISTE Initiative

With technology constantly changing work and commerce, to thrive in this digital era, “all adults need to develop the digital competencies needed in today’s workplace.” SkillRise’s mission is to empower Adult Learners and Workforce Organizations. Take a minute to investigate some of their robust materials and resources listed below.

Designing Technology for Adult Learners

Educators realize the extent to which technology can assist with “personalized pathways for learners with special needs and mixed profiles.” Yet, online learning requires self-regulation and discipline. “Adult learners will achieve the most when using digital learning tools if they have additional support and scaffolding.” Research indicates five principles for instructional creators to consider when designing for the adult basic learner.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of February 12

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. OTAN will be closed Monday, February 12 to commemorate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Nominations accepted until March 15 for the California Students Succeed Awards #CAESS Deadline to register for Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2024 #TDLS2024 is February 23.

OTAN will be closed to commemorate President Lincoln's Birthday

OTAN is closed today, February 12th, in remembrance of the heroic President Lincoln. OTAN will reopen February 13th.

The Upshot for Marketers as Social Media Platforms Evolve in 2024

Tips for making the most of social media marketing trends across seven key platforms. If you are the social marketing “guru” for your agency, read on for some updated 2024 trends summarized below. Click here for the full article.

Understanding Teacher Engagement in Blended Learning Environments

The direct relationship between a highly engaged student is a highly engaged teacher. “When teacher engagement dips, it has a negative effect on student engagement. When teacher engagement is high, it positively impacts both student engagement and academic achievement.” It makes sense this is true. Student engagement is “a highly researched topic in education,” in contrast, there is far less research about teacher engagement. This OTAN news item summarizes Dr. Catlin Tucker’s e-book Understanding Teacher Engagement in Blended Learning Environments External Link Icon opens in new window or tab, so leaders can best lead an engaged educator & support staff. This e-book has reflection questions which can easily be adopted into a staff meeting or discussion.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of February 5

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. TDLS'24 Registration now open! Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2024 is an annual conference featuring engaging, interactive presentations and vibrant discussions. Join us! California Adult Education Students Succeed CAESS Nomination is open today until March 15, 2024. Nominate the deserving student in your classroom.

Advocating for Digital Equity

The Transforming Immigrant Digital Equity (TIDE) has “designed and piloted an ecosystem model for equitable English language learning and digital resilience,” for immigrants and refugees advocating efforts around the Digital Equity Act of 2021. For there to be an equitable digital resilience ecosystem with people learning English as an additional language, “we must center the experiences...of adult immigrants and refugees,” and recognize them not only as “recipients of services, but also co-designers, subject matter experts, community advocates, and .... agents of change.”

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of January 29

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. TDLS'24 Registration now open! Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2024 is an annual conference featuring engaging, interactive presentations and vibrant discussions. Join us!

National Educational Technology Plan

The U.S. Department of Education released the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP): A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design and Use Divides. First released in 2000, the plan has been updated multiple times. While past NETPs have “largely served as surveys of the state of the field,” this one focuses on three key divides which include:

The California Digital Equity Plan Draft is Now Available

The California Department of Technology (CDT) has released the state's draft Digital Equity Plan. CDT has developed an HTML version of the draft California Digital Equity Plan to be available in over 100 languages and compatible with assistive technology.

Upcoming OTAN Activities Week of January 22

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar.

5 Key Policy Considerations for Regulating AI in Classrooms

With new AI tools emerging daily, it is difficult to grapple with how these tools impact the classroom and faculty office. Both the U.S. Department of Education and California's Learning With AI, Learning About AI have published AI guidance for schools which consider equity and privacy issues to name a few.

4 Lessons from California's Teaching with AI Guidance

California and Oregon first released statewide guidelines for teaching and learning with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Katherine Goyette, Computer Science Coordinator for the California Department of Education and co-author of The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Supporting Digital Learning, helped write this guidance, titled Learning With AI, Learning About AI.

Upcoming OTAN Activities Week of January 15

Monday, January 15 OTAN will be closed to celebrate the life of a Great American Civil Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. TDLS'24 Registration now open! Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2024 is an annual conference featuring engaging, interactive presentations and vibrant discussions. Join us!

King's Birthday

Today, we celebrate the life of a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. OTAN’s office is closed today, January 15, 2024, to honor his birthday.

What Great Principals Really Do

It’s difficult to quantify the impact of a principal on students, instructors, support staff and the entire school community. However, it is common sense that a leader can influence how often a student or teacher is absent or “how likely an instructor is to” work in that school another year. This linked research study transudes the impact of effective principals and “what makes them different.” Summarized below are a few key ideas.

3 Ways to Support an Effective Digital Learning Environment

Nudging classrooms forward is technology. Whether it the first chalkboard to the whiteboard to Smart Boards. “With the emergence of AI Chatbots like ChatGPT,” there is an increased anxiety about “technology use in the classroom.” With each new tool, there is a teacher distraction with every new introduction.

ASCD's Most Popular Blog Posts of 2023

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Most Popular Blog Posts of 2023 If you didn’t have a moment to catch up on your educational blog posts in 2023, this article links and summarizes the top 10 in one place.

Upcoming OTAN Activities - Week of January 8

For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Develoment Calendar TDLS '24 Registration now open! Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2024 is an annual conference featuring engaging, interactive presentations and vibrant discussions. Join us!

Affordable Connectivity Program

The U.S. government sponsored Affordable Connectivity Program’s aim is to connect qualified people with affordable or free internet dependent upon income. Visit the program’s website to

Upcoming OTAN Activities - January 9-17, 2024

All times PST For up-to-date upcoming professional development from OTAN and others, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar. OTAN will be closed December 25-January 1st for the holidays.

Our Office Will Be Closed for New Year's Day

Our office will be closed beginning Monday, December 25th and returning Tuesday, January 2nd.

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.