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

OTAN Digest - August 2023

Digest #30
August 2023

Message from the Director

Welcome to Program Year 2023-2034 and the start of a new school year! We at OTAN hope you’ve had a chance to take time for yourself this summer, doing whatever makes you happy, healthy, and ready for the new year! I’m eager to share some of the new companion tools that OTAN has created to enhance the California Adult Education Digital Learning Guidance (DLG) that was released in September 2022. We’ve been fortunate to present the content of the DLG at several conferences. This fall, in addition to the recently updated DLG webpages, we will release

  • A series of 6 animated videos providing a brief overview of each of the DLG chapters
  • Reading guides introducing each of the 6 DLG chapters
  • A Facilitator’s Guide to help digital leaders provide professional development around the DLG
  • And a companion Canvas course that invites adult education staff to actively implement some of the recommended best practices for digital learning

So much of what we do as practitioners incorporates digital learning. OTAN is intentionally connecting our digital learning practices to the guidance and hope you will consider doing the same. OTAN is available to train staff at your site with the latest digital learning research and practice. We’re also here to train digital leaders to train your own staff through Training of Trainers (TOT) opportunities. Don’t hesitate to reach out to OTAN at All of our presentations, workshops, coaching, and support are available at no cost to agencies. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Keep checking our website for the soon-to-be-released companion materials!

All the best as your students return to campus!

Renee Collins
-Renee Collins
Director, Adult Education


Accessibility Resources

OTAN is committed to sharing information about accessibility with the adult education field. On our Accessibility Resources, you will find OTAN-developed resources as well as resources you can use to learn more about accessibility and create your own accessible content.

Web-Based Class Activities Banner


Using Accessibility Features to Help ALL of Our Students Improve Their Learning
by Debbie Jensen

Over the past years I have focused on what we as educators must do to make our documents/presentations etc. accessible to our learners with disabilities. Along the way I discovered that as I made needed changes to my materials, I also increased the usability for my able-bodied learners. On this journey, I discovered that some of those accessibility features helped me as well. This article is to inform and motivate us all to know about accessibility features that will help our learners.


Genially Lives Up to Its Name
by Kristi Reyes

How many different technology tools do you use? Are you looking for a way to consolidate your online teaching and learning activities? Genially is a free web tool that combines the functions of tools like PowerPoint and Google Slides or Prezi, Quizziz, Quizlet, Thinglink, Adobe Express, and more. Think Canva but with 1000 templates for more interactive learning activities specifically for education.


ChatGPT: Risks, Challenges, and the Future
by Susan Gaer

Many people think that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is new, but translation services, speech recognition, personalized learning with language learning apps, and grammar/spelling checkers are all forms of AI that we have become accustomed to.

Spotlight On...

TDLC banner

If you would like to revisit or access the TDLS 23 presentations on video, then they are ready to go on OTAN’s website. Topics including Canvas, Orientations, HyFlex, Adults with Disabilities, and Accessibility are just a few of the many choices.

  • To view them, go first to the OTAN website linked here
  • Select Video Presentations from the menu
  • Choose the TDLS option from the dropdown menu

Professional Development Idea

These video presentations can be used as a faculty choice board for professional development. An administrator can choose 6 different video presentations from the menu either around a theme or randomly. Prior to the meeting, Staff members can choose one-of-the-six to watch and review. Sometime during the next staff meeting, the administrator facilitates small group collaboration for staff to share a verbal review. These reviews can be charted for others to reference.

For more on choice boards:
Choice Boards: Made for Adult Education written by Debbie Jensen, OTAN SME
Remote Learning Templates presented by Stacey Campo, Education to Career Network

Clear your calendars for TDLS2024, March 1 and 2, 2024, at the Fremont Adult and Continuing Education, 4700 Calaveras Avenue, Fremont, CA. More information to follow soon about Presenter Proposals and Registration.

OTAN August and September Events

Date/Time Event Location
Friday, August 04
01:00 PM - 02:30 PM
Ramp Up Safety and Security!  
Tuesday, August 08
08:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Canvas: Basics  
Tuesday, August 08
08:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Canvas: Advanced and Beyond  
Thursday, August 10
12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Course Approval System Updates and Training  
Monday, August 14
08:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Google - Customized!  
Wednesday, August 23
09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Canvas: Basics  
Thursday, August 24
12:00 PM - 03:00 PM
HyFlex: Simultaneous Instruction  
Friday, August 25
01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Torrance: Canvas Administrator Training Overview  
Monday, August 28
12:00 PM - 01:30 PM
Canvas Mini-Sessions  
Monday, August 28
12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lunch Break  
Wednesday, August 30
01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Using an ESL App to Drive CASAS & TABE Growth  
Wednesday, September 06
01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Teach Digital Literacy and Work Life Skills With an App-Based Course  
Friday, September 08
01:00 PM - 02:30 PM
BEST Course Orientation (Fall)  
Monday, September 11
12:00 PM - 01:30 PM
Canvas Mini-Sessions  
Monday, September 25
12:00 PM - 01:30 PM
Canvas Mini-Sessions  
Monday, September 25
12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lunch Break  

OTAN training events are OPEN to Adult Education staff.
★ = CLOSED, In-Service Training

Professional Development - Plan Ahead!

Did you know OTAN provides FREE professional development workshops to help Adult Educators integrate technology?

Think about scheduling OTAN Professional Development in the 2023-2024 school year. With a wide variety of technology topics from which to choose, OTAN training staff can provide in-person workshops or presentations at any approved California adult education agency or professional development event, either online or face-to-face with a computer lab or devices connected to the Internet.

All OTAN's workshops are provided at no cost!

Each session is hands-on - everyone will learn new skills related to technology or using technology that they can use in their adult education class or program. And all OTAN online or face-to-face workshops can be tailored to fit the needs of the requesting program. Select the links to see a list of the current online or face-to-face workshops and descriptions. If you don't see a workshop that is exactly what you need, contact OTAN - we'll work together to create a training that's best for you and your staff!

Need more information? Contact OTAN training staff anytime by phone at (916) 228-2580, or by email at

To view workshops already scheduled, visit the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar and search for workshops sponsored by OTAN. Don't miss out!

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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.