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OTAN Digest #87
November 2016


Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance

Over the past decade, society has witnessed massive changes in the way media and technology intersect with how we work and live. Devices are more mobile, functional, and seemingly indispensable. What are the human costs of an "always connected" lifestyle, especially for our learners' children? This brief examines the latest scientific research about problematic media use, articulating its pervasiveness, forms, and possible impacts on youth's well-being and development, yielding some surprising findings and raising many more questions. Here's a link to the key findings of the report. [PDF] It is definitely an interesting read.

Financial Workshop Kits by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)

Financial Workshop Kits is a program of the National Endowment for Financial Education ® (NEFE®) External link opens in new window or tab which provides financial education and practical information to people at all financial stages. NEFE believes that regardless of background or income level, more financially informed individuals are better able to take control of their circumstances, improve their quality of life, and ensure a more stable future for themselves and their families.

Financial Workshop Kits is designed to help educators and others to effectively teach money management skills to those they serve in your community. More information...

Employability Skills Resource Toolkit

The National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium, Inc. recently acknowledged the work of the North Carolina Community College System for curriculum development that addresses the importance of teaching employability skills.

As part of the North Carolina Community College System's Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project, the committee identified eight employability competencies for integration across the curriculum and created an Employability Skills Resource ToolkitExternal link opens in new window or tab

OTAN Welcomes Participants in the Digital Leadership Academy 2016-2018

Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) has a long history of providing professional development, resource and technical support to adult education agencies and educators for over 25 years. In keeping with changing technologies, new research and advances in professional development, and in an effort to ensure our adult educators have access to quality professional growth, OTAN announced a new opportunity for adult education agencies, including their administrators and teachers, through the Digital Leadership Academy (DLAC). This new program will combine OTAN's previous Academies... Read more...

National Coalition for Literacy 2016 Awards

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) is proud to have witnessed the Literacy Leadership Award given by the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) to the Acting Assistant Secretary Johan E. Uvin on September 27, 2016. The ceremony is held in honor of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week External link opens in new window or tab, which is celebrated at events in communities across the country to help raise awareness about this issue. Complete article...

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 916-228-2580 or e-mail lswanson@otan.us for more details!

November's New Web-based Class Activity!

Helping Students with Mathematics—In Class and at Home

an algebraic expression

Many of our adult learners struggle with math. They often carry fears and frustration and will declare with emphasis, “I hate math! I can’t do it!” My greatest joy is when students leave my math class realizing they can do it and it is fun!

This month's Web-based class activity will introduce you to three of Debbie Jensen's favorite sites that you can use in your class on Monday and send your students home to continue their practice that night. Then she will discuss ways to incorporate student context to apply to math, group learning, and to give them practice in applying the skills to real life.

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Professional Development

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Online Workshops & Webinars:

OTAN offers short, online workshops to meet the demands of busy adult educators. We are currently working on our line up for this year, so stay tuned and check the California Adult Education Professional Development calendar so you won't miss any!

Online Curriculum Series, Part 1  moderated by Penny Pearson
November 15, 2016 ~ 12 to 1 p.m.

Google Tools and Drive with Melinda Holt
December 8, 2016 ~ 12 to 1 p.m.

Online Curriculum Series, Part 2 moderated by Penny Pearson
February 7, 2017 ~ 12 to 1 p.m.

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 year! We will do most of the work for you. We just need your available computer lab.

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":

MakeBeliefsComix Printables External link opens in new window or tab
Make Beliefs Comix has been around for a while as a place where students could use the online comic creation tool for a fun writing exercise. But now, they offer pre-made printables (great for sites with limited Internet capabilities) that encourage writing and thinking in a quick and fun way. A student's efforts to complete the printable can then become the first step in writing longer essays, poems, or stories on the same subject. The printables also can be used with students enrolled in literacy and English-As-Second Language (ESL, ESOL) programs and provide an educational resource for teaching language arts.

Healthy Roads Media External link opens in new window or tab
A source of quality videos and handouts with health information in many languages and multiple formats. Many are free, but a few have a small cost associated. In addition to standard health topics, they also cover many emergency topics such as blackouts, emergency preparedness, downed power lines, fire safety, evacuations, heat waves and many other emergency topics.

Civics It Up! External link opens in new window or tab from the Virginia Commonwealth University
This is an instructional tool for teachers of Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE). The purpose of the site is to help teachers plan and implement instructional units and lessons that integrate language learning with rights and responsibilities of citizenship, civic participation, and workforce training. Here is a short video explaining how to use the site External link opens in new window or tab. The site offers curriculum on three life skills (health, consumerism, and employment), which are further broken down into subtopics.

Thomas Jefferson Adult & Career Education External link opens in new window or tab
The Thomas Jefferson Adult & Career Education site holds curriculum for ESoL-Civics, Health, and Naturalization. You will find it under the Publications section.

The ESoL curriculum External link opens in new window or tab includes Language Skills (Grammar, Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing), Civics (which has lesson plans by ESL Level on a variety of topics including Thanksgiving), and Life Skills External link opens in new window or tab (at literacy, beginning and intermediate levels in each of the CASAS Competency areas).

The Health curriculum External link opens in new window or tab is an eight-unit multi-level health curriculum intended for ESL students with a CASAS score of 190 and above and also for students seeking their GED. It includes a list of Web resources.

The Naturalization curriculum External link opens in new window or tab is designed to prepare students for the naturalization interview and test. 

Izzit External link opens in new window or tab
What is izzit.org? It’s entertaining, informative, and educational videos and support materials for educators to use with students (or for anyone who’s interested in learning new things). You can stream their videos from their Web site or from YouTube and Vimeo. They also offer daily Current Events Lessons. You will need to register for an account, but it's free. Recommended by the people at GED Testing Service as a good resource.

Free Public Domain e-Books
If your students are looking for more books to read freely from the Internet, then consider these Web sites that host free classic literature that is in public domain.

Common Core Sheets External link opens in new window or tab
Common Core sheets has taken the work out of preparing mostly math, but also worksheets on a few other subjects such as social studies, science, language arts, writing, and spelling. You can either use their sheets as presented or you can customize them to meet your needs. The math worksheets are mostly elementary levels, but a few of the Algebra worksheets go up into the middle school levels. Great for extra practice in ABE math programs.

Tech Tips and Information

Google Chrome - Auto Fill
If you have Chrome's Autofill feature turned on, have you ever filled in a field incorrectly and Chrome continues to "autofill" similar fields incorrectly? I have, and it's annoying. So what can you do? You can delete the incorrect entry. Here's how. When you start to fill in a field and you get the list of possible entries, just select the incorrect entry and on a Windows PC, hold the Shift key while pressing the Delete key and voilá, it's gone!

Google Chrome - Password Remember Feature
Here's another tip for the Chrome browser. I know passwords are the bane of our existence, but no matter how hard they are to remember, it's probably not good practice to save passwords on a computer that belongs to the school, even if it isn't currently used by anyone else. Someday it may be, and you would not want your passwords getting into the hands of an unknown person. To turn off this feature, go to Chrome Settings, scroll to the bottom of the page and select "Show advanced settings." Under "'Passwords and forms," uncheck the Enable Autofill and Offer to save passwords. You will be glad you did. :-)

Interesting Idea

Student YouTube Channels - For Any Level
This article from the Tech Tips for Teachers site which, by the way, was created using Weebly, discusses how to go about having students create their own YouTube Channels for the purpose of interacting and collaborating on projects. Take a peek at this one if you want a new way to use tech in the educational process.


"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." 

~ Gertrude Stein