Looking for Online Course Content for ESL?
OTAN is offering two shared courses using the Moodle course management system. They can be placed on an agency or district Moodle server, or be hosted and supported by OTAN. These courses are licensed under Creative Commons and provided at no cost to California Adult Education agencies receiving Workforce Investment Act Title II funding. Complete article. . .

New Report Published: Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research
The National Academies Press has published an expansive report, Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research. Siting recent research that estimates that "more than 90 million U.S. adults lack adequate literacy" and that "only 38 percent of U.S. twelfth graders are at or above the proficient level in reading," the comprehensive 594-page report seeks to synthesize "research on literacy and learning to improve literacy instruction in the United States" with the ultimate aim of recommending the development of a "systemic approach to research, practice and policy." Complete article . . .

Adult Education and the WIBs: An Opportunity for Partnerships
Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will require local workplace investment boards (WIBs) to channel at least one quarter of their funding towards programs that will teach the unemployed the new skills needed for the changing US economy and job market. Currently, California receives up to $500 million in federal funding every year. In 2016, the percentage of mandatory funding for job training will increase from 25% to 30% annually. Complete article . . .

The State Budget and Cuts to Education
The current state budget contains a provision to implement further budget cuts if state revenues do not meet the targets assumed by the current budget. The following information is provided by Dan Garcia of the California Council on Adult Education. How will additional budget cuts be triggered, and what will they be? Complete article. . .

Chancellor's Office Report Legislation enacted last September instructed the Community College Board of Governors to convene a task force to look at ways to improve student outcomes in the community college system. A draft of their report, Refocusing California Community Colleges toward Student Success, is now posted in draft form.

Among the many draft recommendations by the task force is a chapter on improving the education of basic skills students. Complete article . . ..

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 gives you some tools to help students develop reading fluency.

woman reading

Web Site and Tools for Developing Reading Fluency

To be fluent readers, students need to be able to decode accurately and read quickly while still understanding what they have read. Two techniques for helping students gain reading fluency are guided oral reading and frequent independent reading. Students may reread a text repeatedly, recording their words correct per minute, until their speed increases. Including reading fluency activities will help students spend less time on decoding a text and more time on comprehending meaning. Here are some sites that may help.


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

The deadline to register for most Face-to-Face workshops is two weeks before the workshop, so register early to avoid disappointment!


Moodle: Create a Course Web Site 
Friday, January 27, 2012 — 9:00a - 12:00p
Fremont Adult and Cont. Education, 4700 Calaveras Ave., Fremont, CA

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:

OTAN offers short, online workshops to meet the demands of busy adult educators. This year workshops will be offered both separately and as a series, allowing participants to register for several sessions at once. All of the workshops shown below can be part of our series. See below for the Online Series Offerings.

Cell Phone Activities Using Voice and Camera with Susan Gaer
Friday, November 4, 2011 — 9:30a - 11:00a

Moodle: Using the Quiz Activity to Assess Students with Susan Coulter
Friday, November 4, 2011 — 1:00p - 2:30p

USA Learns: A Web Based Tool for ESL Learners with Evelyn Fella
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 — 3:30p - 5:00p

An Online Presence for Teachers with Linda Swanson
Thursday, November 10, 2011 — 10:00a - 11:30a

Orientation to the "USA Learns 2nd Course Moodle Wrap Around" Shared Course with Katherine Crawford
Thursday, November 10, 2011 — 3:00p - 4:30p

Moodle: Create A Course Web Site with Blair Roy
Monday, November 14, 2011 — 3:00p - 5:00p

Moodle: Customizing Your Course and Grade Book with Blair Roy
Thursday, November 17, 2011 — 3:00p - 4:30p

Moodle: Using the Lesson Activity with Penny Pearson
Friday, November 18, 2011 — 4:00p - 5:30p

Simple Free Web Tools to Use with Your Students with Kristi Reyes
Friday, November 18, 2011 — 10:00a - 11:30p

Teaching Critical Thinking for the Internet with Branka Marceta
Monday, December 5, 2011 — 3:00 - 4:30p

Social Networking for Adult Education (Mostly Facebook) with Branka Marceta
Thursday, January 12, 2012 — 12:00p - 1:30p

Online Documents: Create, Share, and Collaborate! with Melinda Holt
Friday, January 13, 2012 — 10:00a - 11:30a

Each series is accompanied by additional online resources and support through a facilitated Moodle course, providing participants with the benefit and support of an online learning community. The workshop series are designed on the theory that continued and sustained support improves learning outcomes. Here is the list of the series:

Online Series Offerings:

  • Mobile Technology in Adult Education
    • Getting to Know Your Cell Phone: Features, Etiquette, and Texting
    • Cell Phone Activities Using Voice and Camera
  • Create and Collaborate in the Cloud
    • Online Documents: Share, Review, and Collaborate
    • 10 Activities Using Google Search for You and Your Students
  • Moodle: Foundations in Moodle Course Management
    • Moodle: Create a Course Web Site
    • Moodle: Customizing Your Course and Grade Book
  • Moodle: Activities Series
    • Moodle: Using the Quiz Activity to Assess Students
    • Moodle: Creating Assignments
    • Moodle: Create Online Interactive Activities (New!)
    • Moodle: Using Audio to Enhance Teaching and Learning (New!)
  • Social Media and Online Presence for Adult Education
    • Social Networking and Online Presence for Adult Ed
    • Three Fun Online Activities for Students
    • An Online Presence for Teachers

Teaching Resources

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has educational resources to help your students learn more about money and banking, economics, and personal finance, as well as a concise and interactive tool to explore the Fed's history and responsibilities. The site offers an interesting Fed Chairman simulation game for students to test their ability.

Choose My Plate from the United States Dept. of Agriculture
This site from the USDA promotes dietary guidelines using a healthy eating index and food plans. They have several interactive tools to create a personalized eating plan based on various age and stage of life conditions. There is also a food tracker to help students track their food intake vs. their physical activity. There are also audio and video podcasts on a variety of health related topics.

Pronunciation and Vocabulary Building Curriculum from Nevada Adult Education
This curriculum offers 32 lessons on pronunciation and 27 on vocabulary building for low level students. Includes a teacher's guide on teaching methods. Includes examples of student handouts, but the instructor with have to actually produce them for the students.

CK-12 FlexBooks
Customizable, standards-align, free digital textbooks for K-12. They have a number of math and science textbooks, as well as a couple of high school level engineering books.

Curriki is a K-12 open curricula community allowing its members to add and share lesson plans, activities, interactive objects, video, and podcasts in many subject areas. It is free to join.

ThinkQuest: A Journey Through the Renaissance
This Web site offers a multi-media overview and exploration of the Renaissance period of history. When you get to the site, you can choose to “Begin the Journey” or enter the “Market Place.” The Market Place explains how to use the site and contains all the resources used in the online presentation. You will find activities from quizzes to crosswords, downloadable resources, and links for further learning.

United States Geological Survey and Science Education
The U.S. Geological Survey provides scientific information intended to help educate students about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data, and issues that affect our quality of life. Discover selected online resources, including lesson plans, data, maps, and more, to support teaching, learning, education (K-12), and university-level inquiry and research. Selecting "Educational Videos and Animations" or "Photo and Image collections" will lead you to an extensive collection of both pictures and videos. There is a 46 minute video on the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and earthquake activity in the region since.

Study Spanish
Study Spanish offers a beginning Spanish course with pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and verb drills. There is a cost to continue to the Intermediate or Advanced levels.

List of Mobile Apps for Adult Literacy
The Central Coast Children’s Foundation, in preparation for the annual Monterey County adult literacy conference, put together the attached list of mobile and tablet apps useful to adult literacy programs. They are mostly for Apple's "i" products.