November 2018 (Vol. 9, No.11)
Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2019 Call for Proposals Closing Soon!
Plans are underway for OTAN’s Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2019, scheduled for March 1 and 2 at Hacienda La Puente Adult Education - Willow Center.
The call for proposals is still open for two more weeks. You are invited to present and share your favorite technology tools and/or best practices with your adult education colleagues. Have you tried a method or practice that involves technology in an adult education class or a program? Share your successes and challenges by presenting at the Symposium! The call for proposals is open until Friday, November 16, 2018.
OTAN is looking for presentations that highlight technology, how it enhances the learner experience, extends the classroom to learners, and how technology integration helps adult education programs be more effective and efficient. If you would like more ideas on possible presentation topics, view last year’s sessions in the TDLS 2018 program booklet on the OTAN website.
OTAN looks forward to seeing you at the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium at Hacienda La Puente Adult Education - Willow Center on March 1 and 2, 2019! If you have questions, contact Neda Anasseri (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Penny Pearson (email@example.com). You can also visit the TDLS page on the OTAN website: https:/tdls.otan.us (Please note that registration for TDLS will open on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.)
The Work of the Future Relies on Technology
Every year, we see articles about employment trends, hot jobs, and predictions for the future of work. A recent article reporting on data collected by CareerBuilder says that the hottest job in the next five years will be home health aide, followed by other healthcare positions in addition to customer service positions across a number of industries.
CTE programs in adult education are well-suited to provide students the kind of training needed to get these positions and begin careers in in-demand industries. There’s another component to this training, though, that demands attention. From the article:
“What we see across industries…is that most professionals are becoming tech workers in some capacity,” Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder, told Yahoo Finance in an email.
With technology continuing to evolve, skills that employees will need are being redefined as well. Novoselsky noted that most of the fastest-growing occupations include some kind of technological component.
As we provide the training to get students a foot in the door, are we also arming them with the tech skills they will need to succeed and advance in their careers?
The mission of OTAN is to help adult educators integrate technology into their instruction, for the benefit of our adult ed students. We here have been working on updating our trainings to match the interest we see in the field for the kind of tech skills teachers want to pass along to their students. We invite you to take a look at the descriptions for our face-to-face and online workshops on our website and contact us if you would like OTAN to assist with technology training. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 916-228-2580 for more information.
Preparing Educators to Teach Tech Skills
A recent survey regarding technology in K-12 schools asked the question: are we preparing our kids for the jobs of tomorrow? Although the report surveyed over 2,000 K-12 educators, the findings give those of us in adult education an opportunity to step back and reflect on our own efforts to equip adult education teachers with the technology training necessary to impart tech skills to our students.
According to the survey based on a previous PwC and Business-Higher Education Forum report, 77% of all jobs by 2020 will require some degree of tech skills. There is a need, then, to determine the digital skills that business leaders want future employees to possess and the ability of schools to teach students those skills. After surveying the K-12 educators, six trends were identified:
- Most K-12 teachers are not confident teaching higher-level tech skills, like data analytics, computer programming languages, website design/creation, and robotics.
- Tech-related courses are offered to high school students, but more schools need to offer data analytics and app design/creation courses to high school students.
- Students do not spend much time in school actively practicing the higher-level tech skills needed for job readiness.
- Teachers want more support from their districts.
- Even though tech in schools is on the rise, students’ lack of access to devices and the Internet at home makes it challenging for teachers to integrate tech in the classroom.
- Students in underserved schools are even more likely to lack access to tech at home.
Given these findings, where can schools start to close the gap?
- One of the statistics in the survey is that students spend a majority of time (60%) consuming – e.g., watching videos – and only about a third of the time creating – e.g., producing videos. Obviously, in order for students to acquire and strengthen tech skills, this statistic need to flip.
- Schools can also consider offering more tech-related training for teacher professional development, either through technology workshops, or asking how technology can be integrated into curricular or instructional workshops.
- Schools can periodically survey students to determine how much access students have to technology outside of the school, and consider ways to extend the learning by beginning to blend instruction by adding an online component to the face-to-face classroom.
As a reminder, the Technology and Distance Learning Plan is a WIOA deliverable that agencies use to lay out their tech-related goals for the year (due January 31, 2019). The process of creating the Tech Plan is helpful for agencies to think long-term about how to address this student tech skills gap, through professional development, technology purchases, and student use of technology. Through this process, agencies can strategize on how to continuously work on developing the tech skills of educators for the benefit of students.
What Online Teachers Have Learned from Teaching Online
Online teaching has been around for a while now, stretching back to the 1990s. Given the first 20 or so years of online teaching, what are the lessons learned for others in the field who are looking to get started, still relatively new, or interested in getting better?
In an article from Inside Higher Ed, veteran instructors were asked to provide their thoughts on what has and has not worked over the years teaching online. Here are some of their insights:
- Course design should allow for flexibility, to allow faster students to work through the material quicker and other learners who run into life’s challenges to still be able to complete the work.
- Also, for students who need more assistance, produce short screencasts to target gaps in instruction and host webinars, but allow students to view them synchronously or asynchronously
- Connect student goals and interests to the course content
- Weave OER (open educational resources) into the online course, saving students money on textbooks and other course materials
- Incorporate video and voice interactions in the course to make the course less text-based
- Understand that there is a range of tech skills ability and access to devices in the course, and make adjustments to accommodate all learners while also developing digital literacy skills
- Build a solid communications system in the course that encourages interaction and keeps the instructor connected to the students
These insights and more are available in the original article. Contact us if you would like more information or training on getting started with online teaching and learning.
Using Different Types of Engaging Visuals in the Classroom
Content delivery these days is not limited to textbooks and handouts. With technology comes the ability to create content easily and in a variety of ways. It also gives students the ability to become more involved in content creation, helping them develop 21st century skills for the workplace, school, and beyond.
One of the most noteworthy entries in the content field is infographics. Infographics convey information in a visual, graphical way. They make content more engaging. A growing body of research is demonstrating that presenting information visually has a significant impact. As opposed to plain text, visual content gets processed faster and it is remembered for longer periods of time. Infographics can help students learn more effectively and even make learning more enjoyable as they consume and create more engaging content.
The article “Help Students Learn Better With Different Types of Engaging Visuals” by Jeilan Devanesan has some ideas about the types of infographics teachers and students can create and use in the classroom:
- Process infographics – help students understand the steps involved in completing tasks or activities
- Information infographics – help students by providing background information on a topic
- List infographics – support students with the related items they need to remember on a topic
- Comparison infographics – highlight the similarities and differences of things for students
- Research reports – show students how to restructure important text-based information in a visual way
- Lesson plans – use color and graphics to bring a text-based lesson plan to life
- Mind maps – help students understand how concepts and subjects are interconnected
- Progress reports – help students understand their progress in a more visual way
- Charts and graphs – help students visualize data rather than only poring over numbers
- Posters – help students stay up-to-date with school and other events with beautiful and engaging posters
The exciting part of infographics is the ability for students to create them! As easy as it is for teachers to make them, this is a great way to integrate technology into the life of the classroom and give students practice using technology to learn and demonstrate their understanding of subjects. It open up assessment options by allowing students to show mastery in a variety of formats. Some of the more popular tech tools for creating infographics are Canva, Piktochart, and Venngage. Take time to explore one or more of these tools and consider weaving them into your instruction.
The Work of Adult Education in California State Prisons
If you are considering work in the adult education field, take a look at job opportunities in the corrections system. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Office of Correctional Education offers various academic programs to inmates in the state’s prison facilities to provide education and career training in order to reduce recidivism and increase public safety. OCE offers ABE, HSD and HSE, and CTE programs, similar to those found at adult education agencies across the state.
OCE has developed a webpage with information on teacher, vocational instructor, and librarian positions within the system. Resources are also available for those not familiar with the work environment. Contrary to the way prison life is portrayed in the media, prison facilities are carefully organized and the safety of employees is paramount. The OCE webpage with employment information is here: https://sites.cdcr.ca.gov/rehabilitation/hiring/
One of the particular challenges with prison life is the use of technology or lack thereof, given the restrictions on technology devices that would enable inmates to connect with others outside the prison facility. Technology that is becoming commonplace in adult ed agencies is nonexistent in prisons or its use is tightly restricted. Education providers are exploring ways, though, to bring technology into prisons, and some uses of technology, including eReaders and law library kiosks, are described on this CDCR Technology Solutions webpage: https://sites.cdcr.ca.gov/rehabilitation/technology/
There are also devices like RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) that can be loaded with content found on popular, well-traveled Internet websites and brought into prisons so inmates have access to up-to-date information in their classes. OTAN has created a training on RACHEL if you would like to learn more about this device. In our upcoming OTAN fall newsletter, we also will be profiling some innovative programs happening in correctional facilities across the state.
Adult education is needed in all corners of California, including among incarcerated populations. Consider the job possibilities in our state prisons to make a difference.