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Digital Promise is working to improve digital learning opportunities for underserved adults in the United States. They connect entrepreneurs, educators, and researchers to support and advance the development and use of educational technology that expands career pathways and improves the quality of life for these learners.

Trying something new, adjusting, and trying again are key to finding, developing, and implementing the right ed-tech products for your specific adult learners.

Patti Constantakis, Director of Adult Education Initiatives hosted a Webinar with with Community Action, Inc. CAI External link opens in new window or tab and the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy External link opens in new window or tab in Philadelphia, where they shared their stories of determining the best design and use of ed-tech in their programs.

To learn more about this experiment and iterate process, watch the recorded webinar on the Digital Promise blog.

Source: Digital Promise Blog post External link opens in new window or tab on September 1, 2016

Registration and hotel accommodations are now available for the National Advancing Equity in Adult, Community College, and Career and Technical Education Symposium.

The National Advancing Equity in Adult, Community College, and Career and Technical Education Symposium will be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 31. This is ED’s first convening of external stakeholders around equity in adult, community college, and career and technical education.

The symposium will focus on the following five equity pillars: leadership and policy, performance accountability research and evaluation, innovation and improvement, social/cultural competency, and advocacy and awareness. Thought leaders in secondary, postsecondary, and adult education will engage to advance solutions on the issues of equity and access. Additionally, this symposium will provide an opportunity to inform more responsive policies and programs in career, technical, and adult education and at community colleges.

The Advancing Equity community of practice has been established to share experiences, best practices, events, and other relevant information related to advancing equity in education. (See below for information on how to access the group.) Secondary, postsecondary, and adult education practitioners can collaborate virtually to promote increased access, opportunity, and success for all learners.

Registration Information

For information on registration, meeting information, and other details, please visit the symposium website at External link opens in new window or tab.

Registration deadline: Oct. 21, 2016

Source: OCTAE Connection Flash Edition, October 4 2016 External link opens in new window or tab

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The California Department of Education Adult Education Office in collaboration with the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento is presenting an opportunity to join the growing number of agencies offering an innovative program called Plazas ComunitariasExternal link opens in new window or tab. This educational program provides Mexican nationals who are living in the United States an opportunity to earn a Mexican High School Certificate. It began as a Memorandum of Understanding between Mexican and the United States governments dated November 10, 2004. Plazas Comunitarias serve as transitional programs that help individuals move into English and adult basic education classes.

An informational session will be held in Los Angeles on October 12, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Applied Technology Center. The Center is part of the Montebello Unified School District and is located at 1200 Mines Ave., Montebello, CA 90604. No reservation is required. In March of this year an information session was held in Sacramento, and additional sessions will be held in the Bay Area, San Diego, and the Central Valley in 2017.

Source: CDE AOE External link opens in new window or tab

Earning a postsecondary degree or credential has become a prerequisite for the growing jobs of the new economy. President Obama has challenged every American to commit to at least one year of higher education or postsecondary training to better prepare themselves for the challenges they will face in the ever-evolving workforce. OCTAE is committed to supporting community college students and, in turn, strengthening the coordination and alignment between adult education and developmental education programs at community college campuses to better prepare students for the 21st century job market. The Supporting Student Success: Adult Education and Remedial Education Reform in Community Colleges initiative is a technical assistance activity, funded by OCTAE to support the President and the Department’s goals.

As part of Supporting Student Success, OCTAE, through the support of the Manhattan Strategy Group is hosting three Community of Practice (CoP) discussions this fall. The CoPs will be hosted on the LINCS online platform. To comment in the discussions, free membership to LINCS is required External link opens in new window or tab , but no membership is necessary to read the discussion. Make sure you are subscribed to Postsecondary Completion LINCS Community of Practice External link opens in new window or tab group for more information. Learn more about LINCS here External link opens in new window or tab. We highly encourage you to join the CoPs by signing up prior to the start of the discussion.

Get involved! The CoP discussion of best practices listed below will be led by current practitioners of adult education and developmental education programming.

  • Building Bridges Between Adult Basic Education and Developmental Education: October 17-21, 2016
    • This discussion is designed to present strategies and models for collaboration and communication between Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Developmental Education (Dev Ed) programs based on work being done at Amarillo (TX) College and Gateway (CT) Community College.
  • Intensive Skill and College Readiness Programs at Community Colleges: November 7-11, 2016
    • This discussion will lead with the presentation of two programs, St. Louis (MO) Community College’s Academic Academy and Gateway Community College’s Academic Bootcamp. They will provide information about their opportunities surrounding skill development, college and work readiness competency development, and career guidance.
  • Re-Visioning Student Instruction and Support: December 1-8, 2016
    • This discussion is designed to present national programming which incorporates intensive support services. Individuals from St. Louis Community College and Amarillo College will begin by sharing some of their practices which include, but is not limited to: face-to-face advising, online media instruction, and community based supports integrated into training.

Source: OCTAE Blog post External link opens in new window or tab by Erin Berg on August 29, 2016

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In October 2015, in a Testing Action Plan, President Obama called for a new approach to testing and assessment to better serve students. The plan outlines a set of principles to reduce the time spent on standardized tests, and improve the quality and usefulness of tests for students and educators, including building new and more innovative technological-based assessment tools. More recently, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released its proposed regulations on assessments under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which the President signed in December 2015, to clarify how states can utilize a number of innovative approaches to assessment, including better integration of technology. ED also published draft regulations for public comment on the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority under Title I part B of the ESSA, which will allow states to pilot new approaches in a subset of districts as an alternative to statewide tests as they work to scale innovative tests statewide.

These steps by Congress and the Administration are creating conditions whereby educational technology can help transform how tests are delivered while reducing the amount of classroom time spent on assessment. With the emergence of next-generation web- and app-based assessments, students are now engaging in activities and games that measure knowledge and performance in real time and provide immediate results. These new forms of technology regularly track progress toward mastery of grade level content, adapt and support learning to meet individual needs, and generate teacher reports to inform instruction. The best learning games allow students to play through hard, complex challenges and demonstrate mastery by succeeding at the game itself, making assessment engaging and rewarding.

The Small Business Innovation Research program at ED’s Institute of Education Sciences provides funding to entrepreneurs to create commercially viable technology products and learning games, including assessments. The program emphasizes a rapid research and development (R&D) process, with rigorous research informing iterative development and pilot studies at project end to evaluate the promise of products for improving student outcomes. Recent advances under the President’s ConnectED initiative are helping bring high-speed internet access and devices to schools across the country to take advantage of these emerging tools, and making it all the more important robust research is conducted on the effective use and impact of educational technology.

In the past three years, ED/IES SBIR has provided awards for many projects that are building innovative assessment approaches. Read a brief description External link opens in new window or tab of eight of the assessment projects currently in development at ED/IES SBIR on the White House Web site.

Source: White House Blog post External link opens in new window or tab on July 27, 2016