Final Call for Technology Mentor Academy Applications - Due May 9
You may have heard about TIMAC, but do you know what it entails? Read on, and it may just prove to be a solution for your school's technology-related staff training needs.

The Technology Integration Mentor Academy (TIMAC) is a peer-mentoring-based professional development initiative with the goal of supporting individuals at adult education agencies to become the technology mentor for their program(s) and thereby increase the effective use of technology in adult education classrooms. Projects range from gaining skills to effectively use technology equipment to creating instructional materials and student projects to establishing and maintaining an online presence related to teaching and learning. Read more . . .

Keys to Safety: Literacy Activities to Promote Fire Safety
Every year in the United States, at least 3,000 lose their lives as a result of residential fires and thousands more are injured. Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented through education and attention to basic fire safety measures. But many adults with limited literacy find it difficult to read or understand critical fire safety information. Without this information, these adults and their families are at a greater risk for loss, injury, or death due to fire. Read more . . .

Update on the GED Exam
The American Council on Education (ACE), which runs the current GED Testing Service, is now partnering with Pearson in a public-private partnership. The goal of the partnership, building on the GED 21st Century Initiative, is to develop a new GED test aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and to assure that Read more. . .

Online Teaching Academy (OTAC)
The application for the second year of the Online Teaching Academy (OTAC) is set to open in early May. Watch the OTAN Web site for the full announcement. If your agency is looking to develop or expand your current distance learning opportunities for your students, consider sending one of your teachers to the Academy. Participants receive continuous professional development on the principles of online teaching, standards for a quality online course and quality online teaching, and an assigned online teaching mentor to help them develop their own online learning project. Participants will be able to choose online curriculum for ESL, GED, and VESL health occupations, in addition to receiving training on how to develop their own learning activities through our Moodle course management system.

Moodle Sharable Courses - Available Fall 2011
OTAN's distance learning project developed two Moodle sharable courses for ESL. One, USA Learns 2nd Course Moodle wrap-around is a course of supplemental materials. Students can practice vocabulary, complete writing assignments and assessments directly aligned with the topics and units of the intermediate course. The second course, Advanced-Level ESL, was designed for adult education students. It can be used as a stand alone online course or as an addition to a class that meets face-to-face. Each unit has activities that include listening, reading, writing, vocabulary development, and grammar practice. Contact Penny Pearson , if you are interested in using a copy of these courses.

Save Money - Offer Professional Development Onsite
We are looking for adult schools that are willing to take a leadership role in providing Professional Development involving the use of technology to teachers in their region. We will provide the training. You just provide the computer lab. If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, contact us at 800-894-3113 or for more details!

This month's Web-Based Class Activity is all about Women's History..


Online Tool for Problem Solving: Pro/Con Lists

Students and teachers alike often encounter difficult decisions and problems that need solving. Can you turn to technology for help? The answer is "Yes!" Take this Web site for a "spin" and see if it helps. And if you just want to teach critical thinking using controversial issues, you might look at, which is a non-partisan site that presents the pros and cons of a number of controversial issues we face as Americans. Then you could do a writing exercise where the students state their conclusion after weighing both sides. Have fun!


Professional Development

Face-to-Face Workshops:

Contact us to schedule one of our workshops at your school! We will do most of the work for you. We just need your available computer lab. 800-894-3113


Currently we have no open face-to-face workshops scheduled. Call or email us to schedule one at your school.

OTAN offers a wide variety of no-cost, hands-on, three-hour workshops. We will come to your school if you have at least 10 interested participants and an approved lab. If you have a smaller school and need more participants, consider coordinating with other small schools in your area to fill your workshop. Here are some of our workshop titles:

Visit our Web site to see the complete list including descriptions and prerequisites for each, then call Linda Swanson at 800-894-3113 or email her at to schedule a workshop.

Upcoming Online Workshops:

Participating in our online workshops is very easy! Whether you are updating your skills for employability or wanting to teach your students about new technologies available to them for learning, there will be something here for you. Don't delay and be disappointed. Sign-up today before the workshop fills up!

Using Moodle to Create a Course Web Site with Penny Pearson
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 — 4:00p - 6:00p

Online Documents: Share, Review and Collaborate! with Melinda Holt
Thursday, May 12, 2011 — 2:00p - 3:30p

Moodle: Creating Assignments with Penny Pearson
Thursday, May 19, 2011 — 4:00p -5:30p

Student Activities with Interactive Whiteboards (Promethean) with Blair Roy
Thursday, May 19, 2011 — 2:00p -3:30p

Using Picture Dictionaries in the Multilevel ESL Classroom with Jayme Goldstein
Friday, May 20, 2011 — 2:00p - 3:30p

Moodle: Using the Lesson Activity with Penny Pearson
Friday, May 27, 2011 — 4:00p -5:30p

Online Forms - Collecting, Analyzing and Sharing Data with Melinda Holt
Thursday, June 9, 2011 — 2:00p - 3:30p

Teaching Critical Thinking for the Internet with Branka Marceta
Friday, June 10, 2011 — 2:00p - 3:30p

Teaching Resources

This month we have a wide variety of new resources. We hope you will try some of these with your students.

LINCS - Health Literacy Materials and Instruction Guide
The materials presented here are specifically intended for Beginning ABE and ESL learners, and the strategies they employ to develop and strengthen the components of the reading process are those proven effective with these groups. Find the link to the Intermediate Level ABE and ESL version in the left navigation bar. Materials include vocabulary, reading and comprehension, supplemental activities, and ESL activities. Covers 42 hours of instruction.

BBC - Science: Human Body & Mind
Find out about your brain, organs, nervous system, muscles and skeleton and get to know yourself better with this site's psychological tests. Students can use the site to interpret and apply medical terminology.

Novel Games
This site offers a variety of games to help with: keyboarding skills, learning body parts (ESL), basic math. Could also be useful for parents working with children.

Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center - Building Basics
The curriculum Building Basics: ESOL Toolkit for General Construction, Landscaping, Painting, and Plumbing was created by the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center to address the need for lessons and vocabulary specific to the building industry. There are teaching guides and student handouts for each of these vocations. They are in PDF format, so you will need the Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader. Appropriate for VESL & VABE programs.

Illinois Early Learning Project
The Illinois Early Learning Project has a variety of evidence-based resources of interest to parent ed teachers and parents of young children. There are printable "tip sheets", videos to help parents overcome obstacles to learning and development, and under "Find Resources" there are many links to other sites with useful information on early care and education, including Web materials, IEL resources, and listings of relevant articles and books. Great for Family Literacy and Parent Education programs.

Web Anatomy
From the University of Minnesota students can test their knowledge of anatomy with online quizzes. Using elegantly simple drawings and and a list of possible answers, they choose answers and score their quiz.

Net Lingo
Ever wonder what some technology terms mean or what text shorthand represents in texts, tweets, or emails? Net Lingo seems to be a "one stop shop" for all tech terms and tech shorthand. You can browse their dictionary, you can look by category, they have a "word of the day" feature, and even an iPhone app for 0.99. Very useful tool in keeping up with technology for you and your students.

ProLiteracy Courses
ProLiteracy has a number of professional development, online courses. They are all free and can be completed in your own time. Topics all have something to do with literacy, but here are a couple of their current titles:

  • Literacy and Home Safety: Partnering to Save Lives
  • Overcoming Poverty Through Action-based Literacy
  • Learning to Use Laubach Way to Reading, Laubach Way to English, and Focus on Phonics
  • Creating a Volunteer Program in the ABE/ESL Classroom
  • Using Volunteers in Your Adult Education Classroom

English Vocabulary Exercises
The site has over 500 exercises broken down by into two main categories - General Vocabulary and Academic Vocabulary. Under General you will find subcategories of: Arts, Literature & Entertainment; Crime & the Law; Feelings, Qualities and States; Food & Eating; Health & the Body; World of Money & Work; Natural World; Phrasal Verbs; the Political World; Basic Science & Academia; the Social World; Structures, Places & Objects; Transitions; Verbs, War, Violence & Conflict.