Online Technology BootCamp Coming to You from OTAN!

During the busy school year, it's sometimes hard to get to our workshops. So we have set aside two full weeks to offer our online workshops so you can attend this summer. Hold June 17-28, 2013 open and plan to attend some of these workshops. We hope to have the full schedule available by mid-May, so check the California Adult Education Professional Development calendar for the latest updates!

California Digital Citizenship Month — May 2013

Kids, and adult learners, today are creating, learning, and socializing through digital media. Will they connect with like minds or spill too much information to the wrong people? Will they behave ethically or borrow ideas recklessly? Will they create positive online communities or simply standby when they see bullying? Complete article . . .

State Senate Bill Would Protect Adult Education While Extending Local Control

A bill (SB 223 External link opens in new window or tab) authored by Senator Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) will allow school districts to continue to have discretion over how to spend billions of dollars in categorical funds. It repeals current operation of categorical flexibility "Tier III" as of June 30, 2015, and replaces it with . . . the rest of the article . . .

California Becomes 38th State to Offer GED® Test on Computer

On February 27, when six students took portions of the GED® test at Ventura Adult School, California became the 38th state to offer the current exam on the computer. A few days later, four students at Antelope Valley Adult School in Lancaster also took the computer-based exam. As more test centers make the transition to computer-based testing, GED® teachers need to prepare students with both the academic and computer skills needed to be successful. To read more . . .

College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education

After a nine-month process that examined the Common Core State Standards from the perspective of adult education, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE External link opens in new window or tab) has released College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for Adult Education. This 150-page work is the result of a nine-month process and was funded to provide a set of manageable yet significant CCR standards . . . Complete article

Wikispaces Introduces Wikispaces Classroom

Wikispaces Classroom, a brand new product designed exclusively for teachers and students. Over the years, they have distilled what they do and why they do it down to the one simple thing: help teachers help students. Wikispaces Classroom takes this to a new level by focusing on simplicity, engagement, and student outcomes. Complete article External link opens in new window or tab

Get Your Job Search and Training Tools via Your Mobile Browser

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA External link opens in new window or tab) has a variety of online tools to help individuals search for employment or access new skills from training providers in their local communities. During the past year, over 40 million individuals across the country have accessed these tools from their desktops. However, with advances and increases in the use of technology, more people are using mobile phone-based browsers to conduct their Web searches. Complete article. . .

The California Endowment Announces $90 Million Investment in Strategies to Increase California's Health Care Workforce

The California Endowment (TCE) External link opens in new window or tab announced a $90 million, multi-year plan to increase the capacity of the state's existing health care delivery system to accommodate newly enrolled Californians under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The investment is part of the Health Happens Here campaign and 10-year plan for Building Healthy Communities by improving employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy food and more. Complete article . . .

Save Money - Offer Professional Development Onsite

Now is the time to schedule professional development activities. 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. There is no charge for this service. If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, contact us at 800-894-3113 or for more details!

New Web-based Class Activities!

More and more of our students have cellphones and tablets. Make good use of them by employing an online tool called Socrative.

Socrative: A BYOD Audience Response System for Formative Assessment

cell and tablet devices

In order to provide students with feedback on their performance and progress in courses, instructors most often use summative assessments, which can range from written assignments, to projects, to traditioinal pencil and paper tests. However, formative assessment—or the use of less formal in-class techniques and tasks—have the purpose of informing teachers of their effectiveness in imparting course content through their lessons and determining whether to proceed with the next lesson or whether students need further review and practice of previously-taught content. Since students bring their devices (cellphones and tablets) to class and use them whether we like it or not, why not put their mobile devices to good use? How? As handy gadgets for formative assessment!

Special Days and Events in May
Teaching those new to America or those who have grown up here but aren't sure how various holidays began, can be fun and informative. Take a look at some of these May holidays. There are also some dates that have been set aside by congressional or presidential proclamation as National Days of _______. Hopefully one will spark some interest and generate some topics for conversation. Some are appropriate for ABE, ASE, ESL or Older Adults.


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


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. If there is a technology topic not listed that your staff needs assistance with, let us know and we will discuss creating a new workshop to meet that need. 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 e-mail 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.

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
    • Mobile Devices Part 1: Basics to Use in the Classroom
    • Mobile Devices Part 2: Activities Using Voice and Camera
    • Mobile Devices Part 3: Smartphone Applications to Use in the Classroom
  • Create and Collaborate in the Cloud
    • Online Documents: Create, Share, 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 v2: Create Online Interactive Activities
    • Moodle v2: Creating Assignments
    • Moodle v2: Using Audio to Enhance Teaching and Learning
    • Moodle v2: Using the Lesson Activity
    • Moodle v2: Using the Quiz Activity to Assess Students
  • Social Media and Online Presence for Adult Education
    • Social Networking for Adult Education (Mostly Facebook)
    • Three Fun Online Activities for Students
    • An Online Presence for Teachers
  • Online Technology
    • Creating A High Quality Online Course
    • So You Want to Teach Online?
    • Orienting Students to Online Learning

Most of the workshops shown below are part of our series.


"Advanced ESL" Shared Moodle Course Orientation with Francisca Wentworth
May 6, 2013 — 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

USA Learns: A Web Based Tool for ESL Learners with Evelyn Fella
May 7, 2013 — 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Moodle v2: Create a Course Web Site with Blair Roy
May 8, 2013 — 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Moodle v2: Customizing Your Course and Grade Book with Blair Roy
May 15, 2013 — 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Using the Lesson Activity with Blair Roy
May 22, 2013 — 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Teaching Critical Thinking for the Internet with Branka Marceta
May 29, 2013 — 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Other workshops are also available, so keep checking the Professional Development Calendar for the latest workshop additions.

Teaching Resources

Recent additions to our new "Teaching with Technology" section may be of interest to you. We have highlighted a few below. To find these resources, search by program, level, and subject, then look on the resulting list which is alphabetical.:

Money Management International
ABE Levels: All
ABE Subjects: none
ABE Standards: Consumer Economics 1.5, 1.6, and 1.8
Money Management International has a dedicated site for Financial Literacy month, encouraging sound use of one’s finances throughout the year with Thirty Steps to Financial Wellness, structured much like a Webquest, which includes several resources and worksheets to get organized and make a plan, such as:

  • Income Worksheet
  • Expense Worksheet
  • Net Worth Worksheet
  • Debt Load Worksheet
  • Financial Priorities Worksheet
  • Financial Goal Worksheet
  • Record of Daily Expenditures
  • Goal Certificate.

Users of the site can also increase their financial knowledge with free webinars, Webcasts, and workshops. Excellent material.

Azar Grammar Series: Understanding & Using English Grammar
ESL Levels: Advanced
ESL Subject: Grammar
Use these PowerPoint® presentations as visual aids to present some of the chapters in Azar's Understanding & Using English Grammar. Each of the 10 presentations is designed as a beyond-the-book activity based on a thematic reading embedded with the target grammar structures. They are intended to be used AFTER the chapter has been studied in class.

Editors note: If you are not comfortable with using and creating PowerPoints, we have a 3-hour face-to-face workshop that could help you gain the necessary comfort level. Invite us to your school. It's free. :-)

Tech Tips and Information

Technology is an ever moving target and it is hard to stay on top of new things. But many have still not mastered some basics. So sometimes I will be using this space to provide "Tech Tips and Information" that might be helpful to you in your daily work and life. I hope they are useful.

Quick and Easy Posters
Have you ever wanted to make a poster larger than 8.5" x 11" but had no way to do it because your printer only prints on standard sized paper? Well now Blockposters provides you a way.

  • Go to external link and upload your image.
  • Decide on the size of your poster. The site will create multiple printable PDF pages with a portion of the image on each one. (Think puzzle)
  • Then you could mount your pieces on foam core or poster board and voila, instant poster.

Recent Phone Scams That Could Affect You
We had a report of someone calling a staff member saying they were monitoring their computer and noticed there were errors when downloading files. They then requested information from the employee in order to "fix" the problem. Their caller ID was blocked and they had a heavy accent. They hung up once they found out that they had called a place of work instead of someone's home.

This is a scam to get as much personal information about you as possible and possibly even trick you into downloading and installing malware on your computer. If you receive a call like this just hang up on them.

Be very careful when it comes to your home computers, as that is what they are really targeting. Their purpose is most likely to get your computer infected with malware so they can scan it for credit card numbers, personal information, etc., so feel free to pass this info onto family members or friends so they do not get caught by this scam.