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OTAN Digest #84
June 2016


John Fleischman Retires After 26 Years with OTAN

If you have only been in adult education for a few years, you may not know John, but under his leadership technology has become an everyday part of the adult education programs in California. John and a few others wrote the original grant establishing OTAN back in 1989, back when desktop computers computers were physically huge, and the Graphical User Interface (GUI) was just beginning. In technology years, it was a lifetime ago. The Internet was in its infancy and OTAN served as "the" Internet service provider for adult education agencies all over the state.

For a "flashback in time," be sure to read John's final Director's Article in the Spring issue of OTAN's Online Connection (PDF) newsletter (pages 4-5). It's worth a read. And John, we wish you all the best and appreciate your many contributions to California adult education, always encouraging the use of technology in the educational process. You will be missed!

Parent Engagement Strategies for English Language Learners

In the March 16, 2016 article External link opens in new window or tab, Meriwynn Mansori, Manager of Curriculum at VIF International Education, states that research shows External link opens in new window or tab that parental engagement pays off for all students. Regardless of family income or background, students with engaged parents are more likely to: Read more...

Academic Preparedness of Low-Income Students

Low-income students score significantly below national averages on meeting college readiness benchmarks, according to ACT’s recent report,The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015: Students from Low-Income Families (PDF). Equally disturbing is the fact that this pattern of under-achievement is persistent. For the sixth consecutive year, low-income students performed well below the national averages. Continue reading...

OTAN Celebrates 160 Years of Adult Education History by Refreshing the History Site

Adult education has been an important part of California's education system since the early years of statehood. The first recorded adult school was sponsored by the San Francisco Board of Education in 1856. Adult education in California grew with the expanding population of the state and was particularly responsive to the needs of immigrant populations. Through the years, California adult educators have provided leadership to the nation in the development of innovative instructional practices and creative educational solutions.

In 2006, as commissioned by California Department of Education, Adult Education Office, OTAN created a book, a Web site and multimedia to celebrate 150 years of adult education in California. In this 160th year, OTAN celebrates by refreshing the same Web site with updated programming and media. We welcome you to revisit or visit for the first time, this valuable resource External link opens in new window or tab for adult education.

Family Literacy Activities from Dollar General

Dollar General takes literacy seriously. So seriously that they have partnered with Discovery Education to improve youth literacy by providing some Family Literacy Activities that parents and family members can use with children to support literacy development. There are currently 10 activities families can enjoy together.

New Reentry Toolkit and Education Framework

The U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, has just awarded four prisoner reentry grants totaling $5.7 million. It has also issued a new reentry toolkit External link opens in new window or tab of resources to improve outcomes for students formerly incarcerated. The grants have gone to Portland Community College (OR), Saint Paul Public Schools (MN), Shelby County Board of Education (TN), and the School District of Philadelphia (PA). They focus on career and technical education, reentry services, and student job training activities that build on existing efforts of the four grantees to improve youth reentry. Read more...

Career Pathways Leading Improved Services

Ensuring that everyone in this nation is equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed is crucial in our competitive, global economy. One key part of this effort is ensuring that young people and adults of all skill levels who are transitioning to new careers or looking to enhance their careers receive the supports they need to do so. Too often, though, our systems for helping hard-working Americans acquire marketable and in-demand skills can be complex and difficult to navigate for students, job seekers, and employers alike. The good news is that career pathways are a promising solution to that challenge. Continue reading...

How Workforce Can Partner with Adult Education

A recent episode of the Workforce Central External link opens in new window or tab podcast features an interview with Jeff Carter, the Executive Director of The National Council of State Directors of Adult Education. Jeff discusses the biggest misconceptions about literacy and adult learning, how workforce can partner with the literacy system External link opens in new window or tab to achieve better outcomes, and the top things for workforce directors to keep in mind when it comes to literacy and adult education.

TDLS 2017 - Save the Date!

Next year, March 10-11, 2017, North Orange County Community College will be hosting OTAN's Technology and Distance Learning Symposium. So save the date and we will see you there!

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 lswanson@otan.us for more details!

June's New Web-based Class Activity!

High School Equivalency Test Preparation

Summer is here and free online test prep resources are a great way to keep your students engaged and learning outside the classroom. Mometrix Academy External link opens in new window or tab offers numerous free practice test questions and videos lessons you can use to prepare your students for the high school equivalency (HSE) exam of their choice. Many sites offer practice tests, but few offer the student instruction in areas of deficiency.

Professional Development

Boot clipart

Online Workshops & Webinars:

OTAN Online Boot Camp - Be sure to use the links below to register for several of the many workshops being offered June 6 - 17 for our second workshop boot camp.

Social Media for Adult Education with Branka Marceta
June 6, 2016 ~ 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Customizing Google Tools!  with Melinda Holt
June 6, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle Courses for ABE/ASE
with Debbie Jensen
June 6, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Privacy, Practice, Presence, and You with Branka Marceta
June 7, 2016 ~ 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Easy to Make Quizzes for Web Sites and Blogs with Barry Bakin
June 7, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Creating a Course Web Site (2 hrs) with Blair Roy
June 7, 2016 ~ 3 to 5 p.m.

Easy to Make Quizzes and Flashcards for Tablets and Mobile Phones Part 1
with Barry Bakin
June 8, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Create a Learning Journey with Thinglink (2 hrs) with Susan Gaer
June 8, 2016 ~ 3 to 5 p.m.

Citizenship Prep: EdTech and Other Resources for Adult Ed with Jennifer Gagliardi
June 9, 2016 ~ 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Easy to Make Quizzes and Flashcards for Tablets and Mobile Phones Part 2 with Barry Bakin
June 9, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Nearpod for Interactive Classrooms (2 hrs)
with Susan Gaer
June 9, 2016 ~ 3 to 5 p.m.

Let's Go to the Cloud with Office 365:OneDrive, Word, and Excel with Farzana Cassim
June 10, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Using the Quiz Activity to Assess Students with Susan Coulter
June 10, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

iPads in Adult Education with Francisco Xavier Pinedo
June 13, 2016 ~ 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Customizing Google Tools! with Melinda Holt
June 13, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle Courses for ESL with Debbie Jensen
June 13, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Creating Accessible Documents (New!) with Penny Pearson
June 14, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

So You Want to Teach Online? with Anthony Burik
June 14, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Free Web Tools to Use with Your Students with Kristi Reyes
June 15, 2016 ~ 9:30 to 11 a.m.

iPads in Adult Education with Francisco Xavier Pinedo
June 15, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Licensing Your Creations (Copyright & Creative Commons) (New!) with Penny Pearson
June 15, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Digital Badges in Adult Education with Blair Roy
June 16, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Excel Tips with Farzana Cassim
June 17, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Integrate Learn360 Media into Moodle with Susan Coulter
June 17, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Educational Technology Sharing through Alumni Online Meetings hosted by Branka Marceta
June 24, 2016 ~ 2 to 3 p.m.

If a workshop appears to be closed and you would like to participate, call us (916-228-2580).

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

Face-to-Face Workshops:

Contact us at 916-228-2580 or e-mail support@otan.us to schedule one of our workshops at your school this summer or fall! We will do most of the work for you. We just need your available computer lab.

Face to face workshop


If you would like to see your school on our list of Face-to-Face workshops, just contact us and we would be delighted to work with you to offer our free professional development.

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":

EDU Hashtags for Education External link opens in new window or tab
While this probably is not a complete list of educational hashtags and many are for K-12, I thought it would be somewhere to start for those interested in using Twitter more, both in and out of the classroom.

Quizalize External link opens in new window or tab
This is a formative assessment tool, much like Kahoot it!, Socrative, or Quizizz, but it has some unique features. It is played as a team, which motivates students to do well for the team as well as for themselves, creating a double motivation. There is no download or setup. Students can play on any Internet connected device such as laptop, tablet, or smartphone. There are some free quizzes made by other teachers available, or you can create your own with a free account. Like Quizizz, you can play this in class or assign as homework. Students go to quiz.al External link opens in new window or tab and enter the class code that you will give them. Here's a link to a great overview of Quizalize External link opens in new window or tab to get you started.

Listen Current External link opens in new window or tab
This site presents engaging material in the form of podcasts, many of which are done by NPR, that will help your students develop their understanding of English. The current events section keeps things relevant for students, and the lessons state whether they are at Middle or High School level. In addition, the lessons offer comprehension questions as well as discussion questions. Some also offer a link to a Socrative quiz you can import if you have a Socrative account. You might pick out a listening lesson each week and lead debates and discussions about that particular topic. It will encourage student participation, and it helps them acquire both academic and real-world language skills. As with many sites these days, they offer a free and a premium edition.

Bozeman Science External link opens in new window or tab
Paul Andersen is an educational consultant and YouTube creator living in Bozeman, MT.  Paul is an experienced educator having taught science in Montana for 20 years.  Paul was the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year, and was also one of four finalists for the 2011 National Teacher of the Year.  In addition to teaching Paul has created hundreds of YouTube science tutorials External link opens in new window or tab.  In 2012 Paul was selected by YouTube as one of ten YouTube Edu Gurus External link opens in new window or tab. So if science isn't your cup of tea, but you must teach it as part of a high school diploma or high school equivalency program, these videos could be a life saver or great for flipping your class. Just select Videos in the header on the main page.

TED-Ed on the Human Body External link opens in new window or tab
TED-Ed External link opens in new window or tab offers a variety of videos on science topics External link opens in new window or tab. Free Technology for Teachers External link opens in new window or tab blogger Richard Byrne has created a playlist of 13 videos gleaned from TED-Ed on the topic of the human body. Very informative and great for health or science classes..

ReadWorks External link opens in new window or tab
With a free ReadWorks account you can search the library for lessons and reading passages by grade level, Lexile score, reading skill, subject area, and text type (fiction or non-fiction). In your ReadWorks account you can create digital binders of the lesson plans and reading passages that you want to use. If it's not too late, they also offer reading packs that can provide you with some good material to send home with your students this summer. You will also want to explore this one if you teach ABE, ASE or Advanced ESL classes.

VideoNot.es External link opens in new window or tab
If your school uses Google Drive (and even if you don't) this tool called VideoNotes is a great tool students can use to take notes on videos they have watched as part of a class assignment. VideoNotes allows them to load any YouTube video on the left site of the screen and then type your notes on the right side of the screen. It integrates with their Google Drive account, which will then allow them to share notes or collaborate on projects, just as they do with any Google Drive document. Not only that, but if they want to take notes on a new video, all they need do is go to Google Drive, select New > More > and VideoNot.es is on the list of new documents they can create. Simple integration.