Distance and Blended Learning Webinars and Forums

On April 24th, OTAN has scheduled the first in a series of webinars on various distance and blended learning topics. The first features Barbara Treacy, Director of EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO) who will conduct a lively discussion around using online and blended teaching practices for professional development. Read more about this webinar and register for it if it meets your needs.

OTAN Webinars - Online Curriculum Series

OTAN is offering a series of three webinars, each focused on different online curriculum suggested by our OTAN Advisory Committee members. The first webinar occurred on March 26th, but there are still two more, one on April 9th and one on May 9th, that you may be interested in. Read more and register...

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Millions More in Microsoft Technology Funds Available to California Schools from 2003 Settlement

More than 8,000 California public schools and districts are eligible to share $188.4 million in Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program funds, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today. Continue reading...

Another Successful Technology and Distance Learning Symposium

March 8, 2014 was the culmination of another successful OTAN Technology and Distance Learning Symposium (TDLS). The event was held on the beautiful campus of Baldwin Park Adult School. Participants from Sacramento to San Bernardino were able to select from over 30 Symposium workshops, covering a variety of technology topics related to online, distance and blended learning, social media, and educational resources on the Web. Read more about the event...

State Board of Education Approves High School Equivalency Tests

The State Board of Education (SBE External link opens in new window or tab) approved high school equivalency tests by three vendors at their March 13, 2014 meeting. The recommendation to approve the tests came from the California Department of Education (CDE External link opens in new window or tab) in response to a request for information (RFI External link opens in new window or tab) issued earlier in the year. Continue reading...

Federal Funding In Decline for Adult Literacy and Basic Education Programs

A new survey of ProLiteracy External link opens in new window or tab adult literacy and basic education member organizations finds that federal funding for these programs continues to shrink—falling 1 percentage point over last year and falling 10 percentage points since 2006. Complete article...

CALPRO Accepting Applications for 2014 PLC Institute

The Adult Education Office External link opens in new window or tab of the California Department of Education and California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project (CALPRO External link opens in new window or tab) are pleased to announce the opening of the application period for the 2014 CALPRO Professional Learning Communities Institute (the PLC Institute). Applications External link opens in new window or tab are due by April 15, 2014.

New and Updated Features Available in LINCS Refreshed Web Site

The LINCS Community External link opens in new window or tab has been updated with new features to help members communicate more easily. The refreshed design allows for quicker access to featured events and resources from the home page, and users will be able to follow and participate in discussions with greater ease.

New features include a "like" button in the form of a thumbs up graphic to show enthusiasm for your favorite content. Polls will allow users to register their opinions. Each group will have a dedicated space for setting personal e-mail preferences. An updated Groups page makes navigation to group sections easier.

Special Discussion: Using Polar Sciences in Adult Basic Education Programs

The LINCS Community is pleased to host a special online discussion in the Science group in April: Using Polar Sciences in Adult Basic Education Programs. From April 7 – 17, join guest polar scientists and educators in an online discussion on how science, particularly polar science, can be used as the context for teaching adult basic skills. Read more... External link opens in new window or tab

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 for April!

Google Drive: How to Make It Work in Your Classroom

Google Drive logo

There is a lot of talk about using Google Drive (formerly thought of as Google Docs) in our classrooms.  It is great for students preparing to go to college (preparation for online collaboration as well as preparing documents to upload into online courses). But the other half of the equation is also important to address. That is the ‘teacher’ half.  This article will look at both elements, teacher and student, and how a teacher can use it to their advantage in reviewing/grading student assignments.


Professional Development

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:


Online Curriculum Series, Part 2  Vendors include Ascend Math, Burlington English, and Cyber High
April 9, 2014 ~ 4 to 5 p.m.

Social Media for Adult Education with Branka Marceta
April 9, 2014 ~ Noon to 2 p.m.

Orienting Students to Online Learning with Penny Pearson
April 15, 2014 ~ 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Create a Course Web Site with Blair Roy
April 16, 2014 ~ Noon to 2 p.m.

Moodle v2: Communication in Your Online Course with Evelyn Lenton
April 17, 2014 ~ 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Simple Free Web Tools to Use with Your Students with Kristi Reyes
April 18, 2014 — 1 to 2:30 p.m.

An Online Presence for Teachers with Linda Swanson
April 23, 2014 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Distance/Blended Learning - Guest Speaker, Barbara Treacy 
April 24, 2014 ~ Noon to 1 p.m.

Mobile Devices in Adult Education Part 2: Mobile Apps with Susan Gaer
May 2, 2014 ~ 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Data + Mail Merge = Magic! with Penny Pearson
May 6, 2014 ~ 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Speak Up Online! with Blair Roy
May 7, 2014 ~ 3 to 4 p.m.

iPads in the Adult Ed Classroom: An Affordable Teacher Resource with Peggy Raun-Linde
May 9, 2014 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Online Curriculum Series, Part 3 
Vendors include Career Ready 101, McGraw-Hill, and the Write Stuff
May 9, 2014 ~ Noon to 1 p.m.

Other workshops are also available, so keep checking the Professional Development Calendar External link opens in new window or tab for the latest workshop additions.

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!

Face to face workshop

Internet Resources for ESL/EL Civics Teachers
Thursday, April 10, 2014 ~ 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Santa Barbara City College, Wake Campus
300 N. Turnpike Road, Room 5
Santa Barbara, CA

Moodle: Create a Course Web Site
Friday, May 2, 2014 ~ Noon to 3 p.m.
Los Angeles USD - Puente Learning Center
501 S. Boyle Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Interactive Whiteboards - Creating Student Activities
Thursday, June 5, 2014 ~ 9 a.m. to Noon
Monterey Adult School - Martin Luther King Jr. Campus
1713 Broadway Avenue
Seaside, CA 93955

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.

Teaching Resources

App Sightings:

Knowmia App External link opens in new window or tab
Knowmia Teach is a free lesson planning and recording tool for teachers and their students. It helps you create short video lessons on any subject and publish them on so students, other teachers and the public can find them. Knowmia Teach makes it easy to bring in visual aids from multiple sources, organize them in steps (like slides in a presentation) and use your own voice and fingers to bring your lesson to life. You can design each step in the lesson, record illustrations as you draw them, and create sophisticated animation sequences with a simple stroke of a finger. They also give you the ability to describe your lesson in a way that makes it simple for anyone who is interested in the subject to find your video.

You can also use lesson videos created by other teachers External link opens in new window or tab if you do not have the time or inclination to do one of your own. Great for independent study and/or "flipping" the classroom. Each video has HTML embed code which allows you to embed the player into your Web site for easy access by students. Knowmia App is for iPad and requires iOS 6.0 or later but their videos can be seen on most devices which can access the Internet..

Smithsonian Mobile External link opens in new window or tab
Smithsonian Mobile is your digital mobile guide to the Smithsonian, built collaboratively with their visitors. Find out what is on where, discover highlights, search their collections, access tours, podcasts and other apps. Add tips and photos from your visit for other visitors, or share your experiences and photos with Twitter and Facebook followers and friends. For iPhone/iPad External link opens in new window or tab, Android External link opens in new window or tab devices and it is free.

Fun Easy Learn External link opens in new window or tab
Simple and intuitively designed, Fun Easy Learn helps with learning English as a second language. It seems like a good choice both for those who learn better visually and for those who are more responsive to auditive learning. The app is available totally free of charge. You have unrestricted access to the entire 6,000-word vocabulary, which is logically categorized into more than 140 thematic topics. For Android External link opens in new window or tab devices.

Other Great Resources:

Common Sense Media External link opens in new window or tab
Commonsense Media has created a Web site and Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum External link opens in new window or tab to help teachers in guiding students and their families to act responsibly, safely, and ethically online. The resources include video reviews, professional development videos, lesson plans for the classroom, suggested activities, handouts for parents and family workshop activities, media reviews, and much more. Specific videos that may be useful to show your students include:

The iBooks Textbook titled "Digital Literacy & Citizenship," External link opens in new window or tab comes in both a Teacher Edition and Student Edition for various grade levels. For adult education the Grades 9-12 edition would probably be the most appropriate. You need to have an iTunes account to see and download the books, even though they are free. The printable curriculum External link opens in new window or tab which include lesson plans on the topic is called Scope and Sequence. Very valuable resource.

Another free service offered by Common Sense Media is called Graphite External link opens in new window or tabwhich reviews hundreds of digital apps, games, and Web sites for their usefulness as teaching tools. This year the nonprofit organization announced a new feature within Graphite that helps users find resources for teaching to specific Common Core standards. The tool called "Common Core Explorer" External link opens in new window or tablet's you search for apps, games, and Web sites by standard. The sites are rated and reviewed by teachers.