Registration Is Open for the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2016

The TDL Symposium is scheduled for March 11–12, 2016 at Fresno Adult School. Registration is open now through March 1, 2016, or until we have reached our capacity of 200. Don't wait and be disappointed. Once we reach our capacity, registration will close. Registration is only $25 and you must be pre-registered to attend as there will be no "on-site" registration.

Adult Ed HSE Survey

New York State currently has the TASC as the only HSE test. The New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy would like to learn more about how the HSE process is going in other states, particularly the experiences of adult education providers with preparing students to take the different tests (GED, HiSET, or TASC), as well as the pros and cons of offering multiple tests as a path to a state high school equivalency diploma.

The New York Coalition for Adult Literacy has developed a 12 question survey to gather input from anyone working in adult education; it is open through 1/8/16. Please help them out by taking the survey now External link opens in new window or tab.

English Literacy & Civics Conferences in January & February

There will be two English Literacy (EL) and Civics Conferences held in the next two months. The first is being held at Cerritos College, in Southern California (CA), on January 29, 2016. The second will serve Northern California, at Mt. Diablo Adult School, on February 26, 2016. Here is a flyer for both (PDF). The cost of the conference is $10, which includes continental breakfast, lunch, and a day of workshops and presentations. A CASAS External link opens in new window or tab account is necessary to register for the conference.

edSurge: A Marketplace for Teachers to Sell, Share and Shine

In her November 2015 article, Patricia Gomes states that “Millions of teachers are avid buyers and sellers in a booming number of marketplaces for teacher-made materials.” Gomes goes on to share that “A recent EdSurge survey identified 9 marketplaces where teachers can sell their creations. Another 6 allow them to share and download resources for free or are open education resources platforms. “

The author explains that “For many teachers working on thin salaries, these online shops offer a source of additional income.” Read more...External link opens in new window or tab

edSurge: Tech for Schools Summits in Riverside

edSurge is offering a free summit day for K-12 educators to "play" with various ed tech products provided by vendors so you can tell them what you think about their products. This year their summit day is in Riverside on Saturday, January 23 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration for teachers is free (but you must use a school email address to register). There is a $10 parking charge, but lunch is complementary. Find out more...External link opens in new window or tab

Accelerating Change: How Education Technology Developers Can Jump-start A New Adult Education Market, A Study by Digital Promise

A new study commissioned by Digital Promise External link opens in new window or tab and conducted by research firm Whiteboard Advisors, “Accelerating Change External link opens in new window or tab,” explores how education technology developers can spur the adult education market for technology with products that are geared toward under-skilled adult learners. The results provide critical insights into how the adult education market is ripe for innovation. Read more...

A report shows School Internet Speeds Improved for 20 Million US Students

On November 18, 2015 The Education Superhighway announced the release of their first annual 2015 State of the States External link opens in new window or tab report on Internet connectivity in America’s K-12 public schools. According to Evan Marwell, “the report shows, in the last two years tremendous progress has been made, an additional 20 million students have been connected. Moreover, 38 governors External link opens in new window or tab across the country have stepped up and committed to finishing the job of connecting the 21 million students who still don’t have the speeds they need.” Continue reading...

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 January!

Slideware Options for Making Great Presentations, Part I

Teacher making a presentation

Microsoft PowerPoint has become ubiquitous as the presentation software (slideware) for presentations from the boardroom to the classroom. However, there are many free alternatives to PowerPoint that teachers and students can use to add variety to the presentation experience, for both the user and viewers, and best practices for using slideshows to accompany presentations. This month's Web-based class activity is Part 1 of a 2-part article on additions to PowerPoint as well as many alternative tools that are available.


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:

Open Educational Resources and AE with Penny Pearson
January 12, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Citizenship Preparation Resources for Adult Education with Jennifer Gagliardi
January 13, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Free Web Tools to Use with Your Students (Updated!) with Kristi Reyes
January 20, 2016 ~ 12 to 1:30 p.m.

Orienting Students to Online Learning with Sharon Ram
January 21, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Create Quick and Easy PowerPoint Slide Shows for Discussion with Barry Bakin
January 22, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Online Curriculum Series, Part 2 hosted by Penny Pearson
January 26, 2016 ~ 3 to 4 p.m.

Creating Open Educational Resources with Penny Pearson
February 2, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Using Badges to Celebrate Achievement
 with Sharon Ram
February 4, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Easy to Make Quizzes for Web Sites and Blogs
with Barry Bakin
February 5, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Integrate Learn360 Media into Moodle with Susan Coulter
February 10, 2016 ~ 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Educational Technology Sharing through Alumni Online Meetings hosted by Branka Marceta
February 12, 2016 ~ 2 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 at 800-894-3113 or e-mail to schedule one of our workshops at your school this winter or spring! We will do most of the work for you. We just need your available computer lab.

Face to face workshop

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

Mobile Devices in Adult Education -
Part 2

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 ~ 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Alameda Adult School
401 Pacific
Alameda, Ca 94501

Mobile Devices in Adult Education -
Part 2

Friday, Jan 29, 2016 ~ 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pasadena City College - Community Education Center
3035 East Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107

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.

Teaching Resources

Web "Sitings":

Martin Luther King, Jr Day Resources
The OTAN Web site offers access to several resources that can be used for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Here are a few:

Amara External link opens in new window or tab
Amara is a site that allows you to caption and/or translate videos you create in order to make them accessible. The nonprofit that built Amara has hopes of reducing barriers to communication and fostering a more democratic media ecosystem. By using Amara to caption your videos, you are making video more globally accessible.

Teaching World War One History Through Food External link opens in new window or tab
This resource, from the American Historical Association, provides links to five videos that explore the history of World War One through food. The site is intended as a teaching resource to deepen students' knowledge and understanding of Americans' experience of World War One and to offer history teachers materials for their classroom use. There are many other teaching resources on historical topics available.

English Central External link opens in new window or tab
If you are looking for short video clips for listening exercises for your students, this may prove to be a good resource. The nice thing about it is there are interactive captions. A student can select any word in the caption to see the definition of the word before proceeding through the movie. Great for expanding vocabulary. The free part of the site allows a student to complete other vocabulary, spelling and speaking exercises for only 2 videos, but they can watch as many as they want to gain more practice listening and building vocabulary, so I think the free version is beneficial. You can always create your own exercises if you want. iOS and Android apps are available.

PhET Interactive Simulations External link opens in new window or tab
PhET offers science and math simulations (physics, biology, chemistry, earth science and math), either online or downloaded. They can be browsed by topic or grade level (elementary - university). There are even some teacher created activities, using the simulations, that are free to use at the site. This is a "must see" for ABE and ASE teachers. (You will need your OTAN login to see this one.) External link opens in new window or tab is, and always will be, free according to the information at their site.. Unlimited students, unlimited classes, unlimited teachers.  The Teacher Portal provides all the necessary tools to grade, report on, and manage your students & classes. So if some of your students still struggle with keyboarding skills, this may be a big help.

Quizizz External link opens in new window or tab
Quizizz is like Kahoot It! but students can do this at home as a homework assignment. They compete with each other answering quiz questions, either pre-created quizzes or ones you make up for them. There are a number of public quizzes you can browse through on a variety of topics. On this page you will find teacher resources and links to some YouTube videos to learn how to use the tool.

Tech Tips and Information

Google Drive: Launch a New Doc
Some "shortcuts" are more useful than others. This one is a time saver if you use Google Drive in your class. To launch a new Doc(ument) from Google Drive, just use Shift + T to quickly start a new document in a new tab.

Google Drive: Views
Have you always had your Google Drive account in a particular files view, just because you used the default view? You can change how you see your files, list or thumbnail, just by selecting the icon just to the left of the AZ sort options icon on the Drive toolbar. Or you can memorize the shortcut to switch views, which is just "v". Easy peasy. :-)

Get Rid of Those Desktop Icons -- Quick!
So, you are getting ready to present, either in the classroom or online, and you really don't want everyone to see your messy Windows Desktop. What can you do? Well you can take the time to delete or move everything into one desktop folder, but an even faster way to clean that Desktop is to right-click on your Desktop, go to View and un-check "Show Desktop Icons." Poof! They're gone! To retrieve them, do the same. It works like a toggle switch.

Interesting Quote

Technology in Society
"We have more media than ever and more technology in our lives. It's supposed to help us communicate, but it has the opposite effect of isolating us."
~ Tracy Chapman