October is Connected Educator Month

The Department of Education will be supporting another Connected Educator Month (CEM) in October 2013. The mission of the Connected Educators initiative is to help educators thrive in a connected world. Such environments are envisioned in the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan External link opens in new window or tab and are soon to become the norm due to efforts such as ConnectED External link opens in new window or tab. Complete article

Digital Citizenship Week

Every day, your students are tested with each post, search, chat, text message, file download, and profile update. Do they connect with like minds or spill too much information? Do they behave creatively or borrow ideas recklessly? Do they respect relationships or inadvertently damage reputations?

Join other educators for Digital Citizenship Week, October 21-25, 2013, and engage students, teachers and families in your community in thinking critically, behaving safely, and participating responsibly online. It is a great way to celebrate Connected Educators Month External link opens in new window or tab, so dive into the suggested activities and resources. Explore resources by Common Sense Media External link opens in new window or tab.

Adult Education Regional Consortia Addressed in AEO and OTAN Newsletters

The fall issues of two popular newsletters, Adult Education Matters External link opens in new window or tab, from the California Department of Education (CDE) Adult Education Office (AEO), and our own OTAN Online Connection (PDF) are now available. In both newsletters you will find important information about adult education in California, training opportunities and stories highlighting students and educators. Read more. . .

Petitioning for a Digital Literacy Policy

A newly formed advocacy group, It'sEasierThanYouThink External link opens in new window or tab, wants to push digital literacy into the national consciousness as a social and economic imperative and kick the issue up the ladder of governmental priorities. Read more . . .

Aspirations Toolkit by The National College Transition Network

The Aspirations Toolkit is a set of counseling and instructional practices and tools contributed by adult educators around the country. Contributors implement these lessons and activities with adult learners in various class types (e.g. ESOL or GED) and at a range of skill levels to foster aspirations, goal setting habits and to inspire them to begin planning for next steps along their education and career pathway. The development of the Aspirations Toolkit is partially funded through a grant from the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation External link opens in new window or tab with matching funds provided by World Education, Inc External link opens in new window or tab. We continue to add tools to this collection. The National College Transition Network invites adult education practitioners to contribute External link opens in new window or tab to the toolkit. Complete article . . .

Support for State Implementation of Content Standards in Adult Education – Video by OVAE

On August 14, 2013 the US Department of Education posted a video on the official YouTube channel External link opens in new window or tab in which Cheryl Keenan, Director of the Division of Adult Education and Literacy, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), discusses OVAE's most recent training efforts in the area of assisting States to implement standards based education. Efforts include the Standards-in-Action training activities and a next generation project to assist states in implementing college and career readiness standards in adult education programs.

9-Year-Old Student Creates Backyard Summer Learning Program in Los Angeles

Like cookouts and hot weather, summer school is a typical part of the season.

But there was nothing common about a Los Angeles program started in 2012 in the back yard of an inner-city neighborhood. The creator and teacher was a nine-year-old Toyota Family Literacy Program (TFLP) student named Jose Escobedo, who spent six weeks of his summer teaching 13 children ages two to 11 as well as four mothers.

Jose put into practice the things he learned while attending the family literacy program with his mother, Rosalba, who finished all three levels of ESL in her adult class. Continue reading this inspirational story . . .

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 Activity!

Teaching the Basics in Writing Using Moodle

writing on a tablet

OTAN sponsors online courses using Moodle (an open source Learning Management System) for you to use with your students. While these courses are not designed as short activities, which is what we typically offer in this column, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to another way to use the Web in your classroom. Using these courses in a blended model, with some in class instruction and some online, offers more practice for your students. Doing some course work in an online environment will also prepare students for online college classes they may take in the future.


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!


Be Productive and Create Classroom Activities Using Word 2007 (or 2010)
Friday, October 11, 2013 — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Fremont Adult & Cont. Education
4700 Calaveras Avenue
Fremont, CA 94538

Internet Resources for ESL/EL Civics Teachers 
Friday, October 18, 2013 — 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Glendale Community College - Garfield Campus
1122 East Garfield
Glendale, CA 91205

Google Tools and Drive
Monday, October 28, 2013 — 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Downey Adult School
12340 Woodruff Avenue
Downey, CA 90241

Creating Web Pages with Weebly
Friday, January 24, 2013 — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Fremont Adult & Cont. Education
4700 Calaveras Avenue
Fremont, CA 94538

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.

Online Workshops & Webinars:

OTAN also offers short, online workshops to meet the demands of busy adult educators. Here is a list of a few of the upcoming workshops:


Moodle v2: Glossaries: More Than Just Definitions! with Donna Edwards-Brown
October 10, 2013 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

iPads in the Adult Ed Classroom: An Affordable Teacher Resource  with Peggy Raun-Linde
October 11, 2013 — 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Creating Rubrics for Criteria-based Assessment with Debbie Jensen
October 11, 2013 — 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Creating Web Sites - Wix and Google Sites with Melinda Holt
October 15, 2013 — 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Apps for Administrators & Teachers: How Your Phone or Tablet Can Make You More Productive with Marian Thacher
October 18, 2013 — 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Technology Skills for the 2014 GED Exam with Evelyn Lenton
November 1, 2013 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Interactive Whiteboards - Creating Student Activities  with Francisco Pinedo
November 6, 2013 — 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mobile Devices Part 1: Basics to Use in the Classroom with Susan Gaer
November 8, 2013 — 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Create a Course Web Site  with Blair Roy
November 12, 2013 — 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Moodle v2: Creating Workshops for Peer Assessment with Donna Edwards-Brown
November 13, 2013 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Google Tools and Drive with Melinda Holt
November 14, 2013 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Integrate Learn360 Media into Moodle with Susan Coulter
November 14, 2013 — 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

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

Teaching Resources

Resent sightings on the Internet that may be useful to you and/or your students:

Wiktionary in Simple English External link opens in new window or tab
Wiktionary is an online dictionary that uses simpler words so it is easier to understand. Many of the entries include audio pronunciations, synonyms, related words, and images. You and your students could also add entries to the wiki-dictionary by finding a word not in the dictionary and creating a simple definition to add to the dictionary. Good class project.

Forvo External link opens in new window or tab
For students learning English or any of a great number of languages from Abkhazian to Zulu, Forvo is a very large pronunciation guide.  A site based on user contributions, users can ask for the word, and if it is not already listed, another user will provide the pronunciation. Possibly another good class project to get your students to pronounce some of the words being requested in their native tongue.

Hotel T.E.A.C.H Project Curriculum External link opens in new window or tab
The Hotel TEACH (Teaching English and Careers in Hospitality) Curriculum was created to address the needs of immigrant adults employed in “back of the house” jobs in hotels. Without better knowledge of the language and the necessary customer service and soft skills needed in this service industry, workers with limited proficiency in English are stuck at the lowest rungs of the career ladder with little chance of advancement. This curriculum represents between 160-190 hours of classroom instruction. (High Int. - Advanced ESL)

Many Books External link opens in new window or tab
Boasts more than 23,000 free book titles. All are older and in public domain. Books are downloadable in a variety of formats from PDF, Kindle, HTML, iPod, MP3, etc. Great resource for the classic books which can even be downloaded to Smartphones.

Teach About Copyright: A list of Resources from Creative Commons External link opens in new window or tab
Several agency's are drafting curriculum to teach kids (which could be adapted for adults) in California, that copying is wrong. This site currently lists a variety of resources from activities to lesson plans to short videos that could be used to instruct students about acceptable use of copyrighted resources.