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2018 News

What's Here?

Catch up on recent, and past OTAN News.

Thank You Joyce and Congratulations!

Thursday, December 20 is the last day of work for our OTAN Director, Joyce Hinkson, and the start of her retirement. We are sad to see Joyce leave but are excited for the new adventures she has planned in her post-OTAN life!

Overcoming Fears About Social Media

Do you find social media intimidating or overwhelming or a time waster? Are these fears or reservations preventing you from getting started with social media for professional purposes?

Web-based Class Activities on the OTAN Website

Each month, OTAN publishes information about a web-based class activity. These are articles written throughout the year by adult ed teachers in the field on how they use online resources and integrate technology into general topics in their teaching

Making Edtech More Effective

In our push to add more and more technology into our classrooms and schools, we should always be mindful of how to make the most effective use of the technology. It isn’t just having technology for technology’s sake; according to Jack Lynch, the CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, edtech should be purposeful.

Getting Connected and Staying Connected

In addition to providing face-to-face and online training, OTAN attends a number of conferences throughout the year. OTAN is pleased to attend and present at the CATESOL Annual Conference in Anaheim on December 7 and 8.

Computer Science Education Week Begins

December 3 to 9 is Computer Science Education Week, a time to highlight the importance of computer science education and encourage students to take an interest in computer science. The first CSEdWeek was in 2009, and it includes December 9 to honor the birthday of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, one of the pioneers of computer programming who also was a United States Navy rear admiral.

Personalized Learning: The Latest Fad or Here to Stay?

According to a recent survey by the news service Center for Digital Education, personalized learning is currently the No. 1 educational technology priority around the country.

The Continuing Debate: Should Students Be Allowed to Use Cellphones in Class?

A recent article explored teachers’ opinions about student use of cellphones in the classroom, a topic that has been discussed for a few years now and remains contentious

Demand for Accessible Ed Tech is on the Rise

When we hear the term accessibility, we tend to think of making technology available to students with disabilities. However, there are a number of scenarios that can make technology inaccessible to students – for example, in addition to students with disabilities, students whose second language is English, students who do not have access to the Internet or whose access is spotty, and students in classrooms that do not have enough devices for everyone.

The Future Includes Good (Human) Teachers

Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly beginning to change the world we know. China made the news recently when it introduced the world’s first AI “male” newscaster at an Internet conference. The AI newscaster learns from data from live broadcasts that is entered into the AI system.

Mobile Learning and the Changing Face of Education

At the State Education Technology Directors Association 2018 conference, Apple Education executive Jon Landis told attendees that the future of education is mobile learning, and teachers and schools should change their instruction to better align with 21st century mobile learning.

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?

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.

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.

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.

Looking for the Right Tech Tool?

When you are looking for a tech tool or two to use in your classroom with your students, where do you turn for information on the right tool to pick? There is so much information on the Internet that it can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Using Students to Help with Tech Support

As schools incorporate more technology into classrooms and offices, they find that the need for tech support grows as more devices are added, sometimes straining an already overtaxed IT staff. Some schools, though, have looked inward for help to fill the gaps, namely at their student body as a potential solution.

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.

Digital Citizenship Week Celebrated in California

October 15 to 19 is Digital Citizenship Week across the US. According to the website digitalcitizenship.net, there are nine, interrelated elements of digital citizenship:

Curriculum Offers: Focus on NROC

One of the things that OTAN does on behalf of adult education is to negotiate the best free or reduced-cost special offers for online curriculum licenses and professional development resources suggested by our OTAN Advisory Committee and adult educators in the field.

Using Formative Assessment to Check for Understanding

Formative assessment is a practice good teachers use to continually monitor student progress, determine where student misunderstanding is, and make corrections to instruction to address the gaps students face. Formative assessment need not be quizzes and tests; there are a number of alternative assessments teachers can utilize, both simple and more involved, including those that are technology-based.

OTAN Tech Talk on Using Learn360 in Your Classroom Coming Up!

Please join us for OTAN’s next Tech Talk on Friday, October 12 from 1:00-2:00. This month’s Tech Talk is on Enhancing the Learning Experience with Learn360 by Susan Coulter, ABE/ASE Instructor at Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education. Learn360 offers more than 160,000 videos, interactive, and maps to enhance your lessons.

AB 2098 Immigrant Integration Framework Passes!

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2098 (McCarty and Thurmond) into law! AB 2098 adds “immigrant integration” to the list of existing outcomes, mainly centered around college and career transitions, that may be reported by the 71 California adult education consortia.

Students Say Thanks to Adult Education

This week, the LAUSD Division of Adult and Career Education shared the story of Jen Atkin, a professional hairstylist, who returned to the Abram Friedman Occupational Center to thank her former instructor, Alma Blanco.

Strengthening Family Literacy Throughout the School Year

Even though we are celebrating Adult Education and Family Literacy Week for one week in the second half of September, the work of strengthening family literacy continues throughout the school year.

2018 Adult Education and Family Literacy Week Begins with Award-Winning Advice

As we begin Adult Education and Family Literacy Week in California and across the US, we want to congratulate one of our colleagues for a recent recognition.

Student-Created Videos in the Classroom

As the use of video continues to make inroads into instruction, teachers are shifting from students as consumers exclusively to a mix of students as consumers and producers. Video provides another means for students to demonstrate learning and a deeper comprehension and understanding of the material. Students can use video to create a variety of products that provide assessment results to the teacher.

September Digests and Web-Based Class Activity Are Now Available

Now that the school year has begun, OTAN is working hard to keep the field informed of the latest news and tools that you can use in the classroom and at your agency.

Getting Ready for Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

The week of September 24 to 29 is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week across the US. This is a great opportunity to highlight the substantial work that is being done at adult education agencies across California to benefit students and communities.

Three Kinds of Jobs that Will Thrive as Automation Advances

Are you worried about a machine taking your job some day?

OER Initiatives Help Lower College Textbook Costs

Two recent articles point to the success that open education resource (OER) initiatives across the country have had in lowering the costs of college textbooks.An article from Diverse: Issues in Education details OpenStax, a nonprofit initiative started by Rice University in 2012.

Back-to-School Series: OTAN Teaching Tools and Resources

This is the fifth and final in a series of news items that will provide information about essential features of OTAN for you to know as you and your colleagues begin the new school year.

Back-to-School Series: OTAN YouTube Channel

This is the fourth in a series of news items that will provide information about essential features of OTAN for you to know as you and your colleagues begin the new school year.

Back-to-School Series: OTAN News Items and Social Media Sites

This is the third in a series of news items that will provide information about essential features of OTAN for you to know as you and your colleagues begin the new school year.

Four Ways Augmented and Virtual Reality Can Transform Your Lesson Plan

Our personal and professional lives are becoming intertwined with the digital environment that is evolving around us. So, it makes sense that educators are working to bring technology into classrooms and schools that mirrors our everyday lives. The latest technology focus is on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications for the classroom, immersive technology that can engages students more with the educational content. Here are some ways that AR and VR can transform the learning that goes on in your classroom with your students.

Can Online Courses Help Fix Teacher Professional Development?

Back-to-school for teachers usually means back-to-school meetings, meant to rally and inspire the staff for the start of a new school year and the return of the students to campus.

Survey: Video Makes Students Happier with Learning

Most people in education believe that video usage on campus increases student satisfaction with their learning experiences; more than nine in 10 respondents (92 percent) said just that to a recent research project on the topic.

Education Group Fights Misinformation Via Wiki

Newspapers may have their own printing presses, but at a time when credibility of online information is increasingly questioned, it’s important for hometown publications to have a Wikipedia page, too.

11 Online Education Trends Institutions Should Track

According to a report tracking online learning trends, career aspirations continue to drive students’ decisions to enroll in online programs. The report  surveyed 295 online program administrators and 1,500 students, including prospective, current, and past students, to gauge their experiences in online education programs. Trends identified in the survey can guide institutions as they tailor their online learning programs to best suit students’ needs:

People with More Education Have a More Positive View of the Internet

The share of online adults who say the internet has been good for society is on the decline. While 76 percent in 2014 said the internet has been "mostly" good, by 2018, the proportion sharing that sentiment had dropped to 70 percent. Among older adults, those 65 and older, the shift was starkest, dropping from 78 percent in 2014 to 64 percent this year. Young people — ages 18 to 29 — were slightly more upbeat; 79 percent said the internet has been mostly good for society in 2014 compared to 74 percent in 2018.

16 Tools to Promote Inventiveness in the Classroom

Invention is the creation of a product or the introduction of a process for the first time, while innovation occurs if someone improves on an existing product or process. The link between those two, educational technologist Kathy Schrock says, is inventiveness–the ability to brainstorm, to be flexible, to elaborate, and to see original ideas come to fruition. Inventiveness–the bridge between inventions and innovations–gives students license to use their creative imagination. And today’s classrooms need more of it.

Report: Smartphones Swing Up Following Recent Decline

Worldwide shipments of smartphones grew 1.3 percent, year over year, in the first quarter of 2018 following a decline in sales the previous quarter, according to a report from Gartner .Smartphones made up 84 percent of the total mobile phone market, accounting for nearly 384 million of the 455 million units sold. Much of that good news came at the low end of the market, however.

Will Virtual Reality Drive Deeper Learning?

Though no hard numbers are available yet on how many classrooms are using virtual or augmented reality, new estimates suggest the technology could reach 15 million students by 2025 . Many people, though, still aren't sure exactly what virtual reality (VR) is, and the definition is continually evolving.For VR advocates, the technology is rapidly ch

Most Teachers Say Tech Tools Improve Teaching and Learning

Eighty-two percent of teachers in a recent survey say they believe tech tools have enhanced teaching and learning, and most say they have access to the tools they want.

House Appropriations Committee Passes 2019 Labor, Health, Education Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday approved its 2019 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.The vote marked a critical step forward as lawmakers race to get all 12 appropriations bills through the full Congress before the next government funding deadline at the end of September.

Renewing Media Literacy Education

If you read any news story in the past year and a half about fake news, then you likely also saw a reference to media literacy. There is a tremendous interest now in providing teachers with media literacy training and students with media literacy skills.

Using Technology to Increase Participation for Introverts

We know students learn in different ways and are working to develop in their zone of proximal development . Teachers regularly differentiate and personalize learning for students’ dispositions, abilities, interests, backgrounds, and personality types. But it has taken the education community quite a long time to consider introverts.

Social Media: Users and Where to Find Them

As adult education agencies do more with social media, it’s important to spend time analyzing the latest trends in social media usage. You want to target the right audience on the platform where you’re apt to find them.

Integrating Technology and Pedagogy: A Starting Point

Continuing the theme of confronting the challenges of implementing technology in schools, Cisco has published two documents that can help those thinking about how to successfully marry technology and pedagogy and transform their institution.

How to Gain Staff Support for New Classroom Initiatives

Have you tried to implement a new technology initiative at your school, to little or no avail?

Making the Most of Visual Aids

Visual aids encourage students to make associations between pieces of information, soak up chunks of course content quickly, and function as a memory aid. Here are three strategies for using visual aids without sacrificing course content.

Digital Shift in Education is Escalating

Currently, 29 states have defined instructional materials to include digital versions; 30 allow the implementation; and six have required the use of digital curriculum.

Research: People Remember Information Better Through Virtual Reality

A study from the University of Maryland found that people recall information better when it is presented to them in a virtual environment, as opposed to a desktop computer.

How Podcasts Can Improve Literacy

Studies such as that conducted by Emma Rodero , confirm that a story told through dialogue “stimulates listeners’ attention” more than a traditional narration, or as one learner put it, “Listening to the words puts the visualization in my head.”

Has Video Killed the Red Grading Pen?

Teachers are experimenting with video feedback as a replacement for traditional written mark-ups.Feedback is a funny beast. We all need pointers on our performance, but giving and receiving feedback can be fraught with misunderstanding. Take red pens. Social psychologists and sociologists have found that, as opposed to blue ink, grading in crimson can lead to more aggressive critique . The recipients of these mark-ups, meanwhile, may see their teacher as less approachable .

Four Digital Tools for Teacher Mentors

Remember how nerve wracking your first day, week, month or year of teaching was? If you could only go back and share what you know.Unfortunately, we can't go back in time. We can, however, provide better assistance to new teachers, thanks to a number of digital tools now available. These technologies make mentoring first-year teachers a smoother, more efficient, and beneficial process. They support better communicating, demonstrating and critiquing, both synchronously and asynchronously. Here are four teacher-tested favorites:

Google Science Journal: A lab in your pocket

Sometimes an app truly demonstrates the power of mobile. Google’s Science Journal  app transforms your mobile device into a little science laboratory, encouraging students to conduct authentic experiments, collect and visualize data and record observations from the world around them. Use it to enhance learning in your classrooms and in the field, and to facilitate the development of your own citizen scientists.

The New California Adult Education Website Has Launched!

The new AEBG website has just launched with a whole new look and feel that is easy to navigate. The site address is www.CalAdultEd.org .

Newsela PRO Offers a Great Licensing Deal for WIOA-funded Adult Education Agencies (Pssst: It is a 50% savings!)

Over the past year, OTAN has partnered with Newsela to provide a pilot for WIOA-funded adult education agencies to use Newsela PRO for a full year. During that time, over 175 teachers signed up for the pilot project.

How to Buy AV: 6 Keys to Consider

Today’s presentation displays are far more high-tech than the overhead projectors and transparencies of the past. And while this technology seems to be moving at light speed, it is imperative for school administrators to step back and review their classroom needs to ensure the technology they purchase today works well? for both students and teachers and takes into consideration for unique classroom environments.

Tips for Getting Started with Blended Learning

The key word that people miss in blended Learning is “blended.” Technology will not replace the great work you already do in your classroom. It should reduce the mundane, repeatable tasks that bog down your class time. Technology helps us become better teachers by identifying needs instantaneously and reducing wait time for valuable academic feedback.

The latest brain hack to get ahead in Silicon Valley

Eager to keep up with the pace of change, some Silicon Valley researchers are embracing a grade-school technique to enhance their cognition and memory.

The Teachers Who Inspire Teachers

As we conclude Teacher Appreciation Week, it’s a good time to stop and remember the teachers who inspired us to become teachers and work in education.

Thank You Teachers!

Today is the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week, traditionally celebrated during the first full week of May. This is an opportunity to thank teachers everywhere for the hard work that they do every single day of the school year.

Welcome to the Post-Text Future

I’ll make this short: The thing you’re doing now, reading prose on a screen, is going out of fashion.

Report: It’s Time for Ed Tech to Tackle the Adult Learner

A new report funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education and produced by Luminary Labs explores how technology could make an impact for adult learners. The intent is to push investors to fund development of technology that could be used by the adult learner community. Five "opportunity areas" are covered in the report:

Top Tips for Financial Literacy Month

April is Financial Literacy Month. There’s still time to share these top tips with your students that they can use all year round. These tips come from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information.

Four Ways to Get More for Your EdTech Dollar

Finding the budget and time to do large technology refreshes will always be stressful, but there are a few ways IT directors can lessen the burden and get more for available dollars.

National Library Service Offers Free Braille and Talking Book Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

National Library Service (NLS) is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries , NLS offers books in braille or audio that are mailed for free or instantly downloadable.

Tips for Launching OER in Schools

It has been almost three years since the launch of the United States Department of Education’s #GoOpen movement - the commitment to expand and accelerate the use of openly-licensed educational resources in schools across the country.

How is Technology Changing the Role of the Teacher?

Advances in technology have meant a world of change in schools. Yes, proponents of “disruption” tend to argue that students are basically sitting in time capsules from the industrial era, but technology has made schools look and run very differently, both on the operations side and the instructional side.

Keys to Creating the Ultimate School Culture

The best administrators know that a positive school culture is based upon the overall satisfaction and safety of the students, staff, and community members–and they also know that if they don’t intentionally lead the shaping of the school culture, others will! So how can you build a culture where everyone is beating down the doors to get in?

3D Printing to Grow by Double Digits Through 2021

Spending on 3D printing will reach nearly $12 billion this year, up 19.9 percent over 2017, according to a new report from International Data Corp . (IDC). Looking further out, the market research firm predicts that growth will continue at a 20.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2021, when spending will reach $20 billion.

Differentiated Instruction: Extending the Silence

Several studies have looked into the effect that the amount of time teachers pause after asking a question has on learners. For example pausing for three or more seconds showed a noticeable positive impact on learning.

How to Help Learners Remember What They Read

Learners sometimes complain that they don’t remember what they read. When asked about reading practices they often recounted that they would get to the bottom of a page of text and realize they had no clue about what they had just read. Here is a strategy that uses Post-It Notes.to address this issue.

Steps Students Can Apply to Fact-check Information

These days, statements of all stripes are bombarding us via broadcast and social media. The trick is classifying them correctly before we swallow them ourselves, much less before we hit “Like,” “Share” or “Retweet.” And that’s the goal of an educational initiative that will be adopted by 10 universities across the country this coming spring.

Librarians Leading the Way During Times of Rapid Social Change

2017 was a lively year for libraries.National issues and trends impacted our nation’s libraries, and librarians rose to the challenge, promoting media literacy, protecting the freedom to read, advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion and responding to the needs of their patrons.

Open Educational Resources Set to Become an Essential Teaching Tool in 2018

Open educational resources (OER) have long been touted as “the next big thing” in higher education, but the drawn-out hype has led many educators and administrators to wonder if it would ever live up to its expectations. Those days are over.

California Could Introduce an Online-Only State Community College

California has 114 community colleges across the state, but Gov. Jerry Brown wants one more, and he wants it completely online. Inside Higher Ed reports  that the purpose of the college would be to reach unemployed and underemployed adults who California Community College officials say the system isn’t reaching at its brick-and-mortar institutions.

How to Use Universal Design to Create Inclusive Classrooms

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principals for curriculum development that aims to provide all students an equal opportunity to learn. It can be used by educators at any grade level or subject area. According to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning , “UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone—not a single, one-size-fits-all solution, but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.”

Report: Internet of Things (IoT) to Tip 41 Trillion by 2020

The “Internet of Things” refers to the increasing number of Internet-connected devices with Wi-Fi capabilities and built-in sensors. Connected items can include anything that has an on and off switch: cellphones, coffee makers, headphones, lighting fixtures, washing machines, personal wearable devices and machine components. The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” than communicate with each other.

Getting Started with Video Coaching

Video coaching is no longer a professional development buzzword or novelty, in part because of the accessibility of devices in today’s world makes it a convenient choice for educators looking to improve their practice. Today all it takes is a smartphone with a high-quality camera to get started.

Jobs of the Future will Focus on Intellectual Capitalism

“The jobs of the future will be those that focus on intellectual capitalism, not commodity capitalism,” said Futurist, Physicist and Bestselling Author Michio Kaku during the recent 2017 EDUCAUSE conference keynote, held in Philadelphia, PA.

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN180031 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.