CUE 2015 Fall Conference

Computer Using Educators has a fall conference in Napa, CA. It is a great opportunity to connect and learn from other educational technology enthusiasts. CUE has added an option for Adult Education registration for all affiliated conferences. (The national conference being held in the spring in Palm Springs will also have an Adult Ed strand.) Learn more about this conference at their Web site.External link opens in new window or tab

Teaching Channel: Literacy in the Digital Age: Five Sites With High-Quality Informational Text

"One of the most exciting shifts in the Common Core State Standards is the increased use of content-rich, informational text," writes Steve Figurelli and Natalie Franzi at Tchers' Voice External link opens in new window or tab.

"As professionals, how often do we read texts that are outside of our comfort zone?" they continue. "Perhaps it was a legal document, a lengthy contract, or 16th Century prose. A lot of time, no doubt, was spent trying to decode the language used. Our human brain only has a finite amount of working memory available at any given time. And when we are reading, our brain is either decoding or comprehending. It can not do both well. The process is uncomfortable. And yet, many of us ask this of our students on a daily basis. It's no wonder they struggle!"

"Preparing our students to be college- and career-ready is our priority. We must help students build the skills necessary to unpack informational texts. A key to this is providing engaging texts that are motivating and meaningful. We must remember the task of teaching informational reading skills does not just rest on the shoulders of ELA teachers. ALL educators are teachers of reading."

The Tchers' Voice External link opens in new window or tab blog and Student Achievement Partners External link opens in new window or tab share five sites that will help you find these texts with ease and even differentiate the same article for the different learners in your room.

Healthy Family Habits - NCFL's Newest Family-learning Resource

National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) announced the launch of Healthy Family Habits External link opens in new window or tab, an online resource dedicated to providing families with real-world ways to establish and hone healthy habits. This new (and completely free) set of materials offers step-by-step guides and downloadable resources for community organizations seeking support in planning and hosting health-literacy events for families.

Healthy Family Habits also includes interactive features designed to help families facilitate at-home conversations about health and generate ideas for implementing healthful activities. [All resources are available in English and Spanish.] Read more...

Connected Educator Month 2015

Connected Educator Month launched on October 1! The CEM Web site External link opens in new window or tab is putting up weekly posts with highlighted events you will want to check out for the coming week.

The Connected Educator Month Starter Kit External link opens in new window or tab - created by Powerful Learning Practice External link opens in new window or tab - has 31 days of connected activities, giving you one simple way to get more connected every day.

Sign up to get all the latest CEM news External link opens in new window or tab and follow the blog External link opens in new window or tab to keep up with Connected Educator Month events. Join the brainstorming and all the action at #ce15 on TwitterExternal link opens in new window or tab, too!

The California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar Offers Many Opportunities for Professional Development

If you have never visited the California Adult Ed PD Calendar External link opens in new window or tab, we would like to encourage you to visit soon. All three leadership projects, OTAN, CALPRO, and CASAS, use this calendar to list their upcoming workshops. We are confident you will find a topic of interest.

Save Money - Offer Professional Development On-site

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 you would like to participate, call us at 800-894-3113 or e-mail for more details!

New Web-based Class Activity for October!

A screenshot of a FlashDecks flashcard

Teaching Study Strategies: Flashcards for Making Class Content "Stick"

If you were a typical college student, you probably pulled all-nighters cramming for big tests by reading and rereading lecture notes and textbooks. But how long did you retain all that content? According to some research, probably not long using these study techniques. This month's Web-based class activity addresses a couple of key points from this research and introduces you to several online flashcard tools to overcome learning and retention issues.


Professional Development


Online Workshops & Webinars:

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

Licensing Your Creations (Copyright & Creative Commons)  with Penny Pearson
October 13, 2015 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

OTAN's Teaching with Technology Search Tool is for You! with Bethany Ely
October 14, 2015 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Creating a Course Web Site (2 hours) (Updated!) with Blair Roy
October 14, 2015 ~ 3 to 5:00 p.m.

Moodle v2: Create and Host Online Meetings (2 hours) with Francisca Wentworth
October 15, 2015 ~ 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Moodle Courses for ABE/ASE with Debbie Jensen
October 16, 2015 ~ 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Moodle v2: Adding Audio in Your Course (New!) with Blair Roy
October 20, 2015 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Apple TV + iPad = Interactive White Board with Francisco Pinedo
October 26, 2015 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Paper (Tests) to Pixels: Lessons Learned from One Technology Project with Anthony Burik
October 28, 2015 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Create Quick and Easy PowerPoint Slide Shows for Discussion with Barry Bakin
October 29, 2015 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Online Curriculum Series, Part 1 hosted by Penny Pearson
October 29, 2015 ~ 3 to 4 p.m.

Educational Technology Sharing through Alumni Online Meetings  hosted by Branka Marceta (with multiple presenters)
October 30, 2015 ~ 2 to 3 p.m.

Data + Mail Merge = Magic! with Penny Pearson
November 10, 2015 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Getting the Most out of the Gradebook with Francisca Wentworth
November 18, 2015 ~ 1:30 to 3 p.m.

If a workshop appears to be closed and you would like to participate, call us (800-894-3113).

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 this fall or winter! We will do most of the work for you. We just need your available computer lab. 800-894-3113

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

Face to face workshop

Mobile Devices in Adult Education - Part 2
Friday, Oct 16, 2015 ~ 12 noon to 3p.m.
Glendale Community College - Garfield Campus
1122 East Garfield
Glendale, CA 91205

Mobile Devices in Adult Education - Part 2
Friday, Jan 15, 2016 ~ 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Alameda Adult School
401 Pacific
Alameda, Ca 94501

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

Web "Sitings":

Saylor Academy External link opens in new window or tab
Free open source learning is what Saylor Academy is all about. They use OER to create courses that students can take and although they are not accredited, it is a great place for students to work at their own pace to learn what they need to learn to succeed in school. As a teacher in an adult school, you might want to use the site for a "flipped classroom" where students will do their studying from home and then enter into discussions the next day in class. In that way, you can check for comprehension of the material presented. There are courses in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and some particularly useful generic courses such as Try College 101 (under Study Skills) that could be useful in a transitions course of study, and some job hunting and job skills courses (under Professional Development) for those looking to start a career.

The Easy Essay External link opens in new window or tab
Easy Essay can teach almost anyone how to logically organize a proof format (essay, speech, business memo) for any fact, concept, or idea in five minutes. This online tool uses an automated, fill-in-the-blanks information organization program to help users of any age develop and write an essay, speech, or report in the "Say it. Prove it. Say you have proven it." format. It is free.

Teach with Movies External link opens in new window or tab
Apparently this site used to charge for it's lesson ideas, but now they are offering them for free. And you don't even have to join unless you want to receive their newsletter. Their lessons are nicely indexed by school subject and age appropriateness. There are Learning Guides to each recommended film describing the benefits of the movie, possible problems, and helpful background. They also have an article on how to set up for a substitute using a movie or parts of a movie along with appropriate readings and other handouts. Then keep it in your back pocket for the inevitable time when you will need it.

Touchspin External link opens in new window or tab
This Web site offers the following interactive tools for students: For Chemistry there is an Interactive Periodic Table, a Triple Beam Balance, a Two Pan Balance, a Spring Scale, an applet demonstrating structure and melting/boiling points of alkanes, and an Electron Pyramid. In the Biology section, there are pictures taken through a microscope of many plants, animals, bacteria, etc. as well as an interactive pie chart showing the relative proportions of the various animals and non-animals on the earth. Under Math there is a coin counter (could be good for ESL), and two infographics on the big and small powers of 10.

World Geography Games External link opens in new window or tab
This is a fun, interactive site to teach students about US and World geography. Games included are: Countries, Capitals, Flags, Continents, Earth, Atmosphere, Oceans, US States, Seas, Lakes, Rivers, Islands, Regions, Straits, Metropolitan Areas, Mountain Ranges, Mountains, Volcanoes, and Deserts. Great for drill and practice or as a competitive class game.

OpenEd External link opens in new window or tab
OpenEd offers textbook lesson plans & individual resources per student, and rebuilt quizzes and homework for every CC standard, with remedial resources attached to each question. Students take quizzes, then watch videos or play games to address knowledge gaps whenever they miss a question. You can track your students' progress, receive detailed results, and assign recommended resources tailored to their areas of need. They have many free resources and some premium (paid) resources as well.

TeacherTube Math Videos External link opens in new window or tab
Have you been looking for another resource for math videos to help those struggling students? TeacherTube could be that resource. They have hundreds of videos explaining math concepts from basic math to calculus. Just look through their playlists and send your students the link to any videos that will reinforce or present new concepts.

Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals External link opens in new window or tab
Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals contains a series of movie segments and activities to assess or practice grammar points through fun, challenging exercises. There you will find the movie segments, the lesson plans, printable worksheets with answer key for each activity, and the tips to develop your own grammar activities with the DVDs you have at home. New activities are posted regularly. Teaching grammar with movie segments is inspiring and highly motivating.

Tech Tips and Information

Facebook Chat
Have you ever been on Facebook, but did not want to be disturbed by friends who were also online? If so, you can turn off 'chat' completely and they will not know you are actively online. Here is how:

  • Log into your Facebook account.
  • Select the gear icon at the bottom right of the chat panel. (You may have to mouse over the chat panel to see the gear icon.) You will see some options and one is "Turn Off Chat." Select it.
  • After you select that option you will see three choices. Select who you want to hide from and select Okay.

Hide Text and Show Hidden Text in Word
Have you ever wanted to put some text in a document, but then print it without that text? Use this tutorial to show you how to do it.

How to Open a File Explorer Window Fast on a PC
Here is a shortcut you may not know about, but which could save you a lot of time when you want to move files from one folder or drive to another. Just use the Windows key+E to open an Explorer window. To open two, just press the E key twice. Wasn't that easy? Now moving those files is a snap.