Catch up on recent, and past OTAN News.
Join us next week for another informative webinar and find out about Easy Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Projects for Language Practice! Also, have you tried a method or practice that involves technology in an adult education class or program that you would like to share? If so, you're in luck! We have an open Call for Proposals for TDLS 2020. Share your successes and challenges by presenting at the Symposium!
The Great California ShakeOut will take place on Thursday, October 17 at 10:17am in California and other locations around the US and the world. This is the 12th anniversary of the ShakeOut, which started in Southern California in 2008.
October 14 to 18 is Digital Citizenship Week. Although the focus this week is on K-12 students and schools, this week presents many opportunities to think about how we should all be good digital citizens and encourage good online behavior when interacting with others, now and throughout the school year.
Join us for our upcoming OTAN webinars on OERs and Microsoft Office.
Since 2007, Jane Hart from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies in the UK has been compiling an annual Top Tools for Learning List from the results of an open survey of over 2,500 participants from 46 different countries.
Digital Inclusion Week, sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, is an annual event meant to bring attention to solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs, with the goal of closing digital divides that exist in cities and local communities around the country.
Screencastify is a simple, easy-to-use screencasting tool to record a screen while using the Chrome browser or a Chromebook. This OTAN Tech Talk will show how teachers can use Screencastify as an instructional and/or assessment tool.
A new educational technology survey is out from Gallup and the NewSchools Venture Fund entitled Education Technology Use in Schools: Student and Educator Perspectives. The aim of the survey, which polled K-12 students, teachers, principals, and administrators, is to understand how teachers and students are using EdTech products both in the classroom and outside of school and the perception of the effectiveness of EdTech tools.
No matter how small or large your website is, the reality is that your website should be accessible for all users.
During Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, many adult education agencies in California and across the country are sharing information, resources, and success stories via social media.
First proposed by the National Center for Literacy (NCL) in the early 2010s, the National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week this year is September 22 to 28. This week is a great opportunity for adult education programs to promote the many ways they are working to raise adult literacy levels in their local communities and across the country.
As the new school year gets started, we find that there are students in our adult education classrooms who lack basic computer skills. Perhaps they don’t have access to computers, or don’t have any experience using computers, or computers and technology have not been a part of their lives for whatever reasons.
It's been a long time coming, but OTAN is finally launching a brand new, user-friendly website! OTAN staff have been working diligently for many, many months on the new website and are putting the finishing touches on the site in time for Monday's unveiling.
The call for proposals has opened! 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 Thursday, October 31, 2019.
Each year on September 17, we celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the US Constitution on September 17, 1787. Although the day is popularly known as Constitution Day, the day has its origins in celebrating those people who had become American citizens. Over the years, recognition of the signing of the Constitution merged with reminders of the responsibilities of all US citizens to form the focus of the day’s celebrations.
Devices for teachers and students, educational software, and apps are a starting point for integrating technology into your instruction, but how do you know if you are integrating technology in a deep and meaningful way?
It’s likely that you have some new teaching staff on board at the start of the school year, either new to your school site or new to the profession. One of the challenges then is to support those new staff members to ensure that they are successful throughout the year and remain on staff to lessen turnover.
Please join us for OTAN’s next Tech Talk on Friday, September 13 from 1pm to 2pm PST. This month’s Tech Talk is 21Things4Students by Debbie Jensen from Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education.
Technology can help us with these get-to-know-you activities. In her blog post Starting Off the School Year: It’s About the Learners , Jackie Gerstein provides some activities using technology that help her get to know her students (and the students each other) and provide data that she can use to inform her instruction as the class goes on.
Our office will be closed Monday, September 2nd in observance of Labor Day
OTAN organizes a number of special programs and events throughout the school year of interest to the adult education field.
OTAN has a number of teaching tools and resources that adult ed educators can utilize in their instruction. Here are some resources that you should consider as the new year begins.
OTAN has long utilized video to provide information and training and highlight important events in adult education. Moving forward, we hope to provide even more timely information for the field through video posted on our YouTube channel.
In addition to having an OTAN account and receiving periodic emails and communications from OTAN, two of the best ways to stay connected to OTAN throughout the school year are to follow our news items and subscribe to our social media sites.
OTAN offers trainings in both face-to-face and online formats on a variety of educational technology topics throughout the school year. The workshops fit a wide variety of skill levels and can even be customized to meet the respective needs of a program or site. All workshops are free for California adult educators and staff, hosted at WIOA-funded agencies.
This is the first 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.
When we think about assessment, we usually think about the unit test or quiz that gets graded and recorded after instruction. There are other assessments we can use in the class, though, that will also yield useful data to help us determine what our students know and where their understanding falls short. One of those assessments is known as an exit ticket.
We know the importance of digital literacy skills for our adult education students, but a growing number of educators are stressing the need for our students to possess digital literacies.
Technology can be overwhelming. Once we get started using it in the classroom with our students, though, we can begin to see the possibilities.
All of us have grown up in a world dominated by text. It is at the foundation of our communication system. When we think about literacy, we think about a person’s ability to read and write and the importance of being literate, while an illiterate person is one who is deficient in one or both of these abilities and how this deficiency compromises one’s ability to function in society.
One of the latest fun and entertaining pastimes for people of all ages is the escape room, a live-action team-based game where players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time. Teachers have embraced the escape room phenomenon and brought it to the classroom to engage learners in all subjects and at all grade levels.
During the school year, OTAN offers trainings in both face-to-face and online formats on a variety of educational technology topics. These workshops fit a wide variety of skill levels and can even be customized to meet the respective needs of a program or site. All workshops are free for California adult educators and staff.
Please join us for OTAN's next Tech Talk on Friday, August 9 from 1pm to 2pm PST. This month's Tech Talk is Data + Mail Merge = MAGIC! by Penny Pearson, Distance Learning Projects Coordinator at OTAN.
Ideas come and go in education. We probably will hear about some new ideas at upcoming back-to-school events. Although we don't always adopt new ideas or try out new techniques, it is important to have a sense of new concepts and instructional practices, so our teaching doesn't get stuck in an old framework that no longer applies to our current reality and doesn't help our students.
Summer is a great time to explore resources that we never have time for during the busy school year. As teachers plan for back-to-school and the start of a new school year, take a look at some of these websites that teachers use to help students become better writers.
Because students are working outside of the classroom away from other students, it can be hard to stay motivated if the course is not engaging. Boredom that leads to disengagement is one of the challenges we have to overcome if we want our online courses to be successful and impactful.
As educators, we are always thinking about ways to improve our practice. We go to meetings, attend face-to-face and online professional development events such as conferences and webinars, and read and research the latest and greatest. In recent years, educators have turned to social media as another resource to find and share best practices with others locally and globally.
One of the areas in which technology can enhance the learning process is in the realm of homework. A lot of homework is of the worksheet variety, not very inspiring and sometimes seen as busywork or assigned for the sake of giving homework.
Pearson, the largest education company in the world, recently announced that it will adopt a “digital-first” approach to publishing textbooks in the higher education market. This is its most significant move to date over the last few years as the company shifts its business model from print to digital in a textbook publishing field that has been significantly challenged by technology.
USA Learns has launched a new beginning high / intermediate low course: English 1 Plus. As the name suggests, this course builds on USA Learns’ 1st English Course. It gives students the opportunity for more vocabulary, listening, and grammar practice before they move on to the 2nd English Course, addressing a long-time need for a bridge between the two levels. If your learners know how to navigate other USA Learns courses, English 1 Plus will be a snap.
As the need to integrate more technology into our schools and instruction for the benefit of our students increases, much of the burden falls on teachers to make this transformation happen. Some teachers are up for the challenge, but the majority of teachers will need some sort of support.
As the EdTech world continues to expand and more and more classroom technology options become available, it can be daunting selecting the "right" tech. These days, it is almost mandatory to have a strategy in place for selecting EdTech that meets various criteria, including ease of use and effectiveness for students and their learning.
Competency-based education, or CBE, has been around for a while in adult education, but a new report from the California EDGE Coalition suggests renewed interest in CBE as a way to help low-skilled and low-wage earning workers get the education and training they need to move up the economic ladder.
Technology gives us the ability to communicate with others in a variety of ways. Yet when it comes to our schools, are we making the most of technology to reach students, staff, and the larger community?
Please join us for OTAN's next Tech Talk on Friday, July 12 from 1pm to 2pm. This month's Tech Talk is on Blended Learning Across Platforms by Kimberly Guppy from LA City College.
Our office will be closed Thursday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day
Among the hot topics discussed at last week's ISTE Conference, one that drew a lot of attention was student voice. The Glossary of Education Reform External link opens in new window or tab says that student voice "...refers to the values, opinions, beliefs, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds of individual students and groups of students in a school, and to instructional approaches and techniques that are based on student choices, interests, passions, and ambitions."
Summertime is a great time to rethink how you present content to students and learn some new tricks and techniques in time for the start of fall classes.
The 2019 ISTE Conference has come and gone, and we at OTAN have gathered a lot of ideas and resources to explore further as we come up on a new school year.
Hello again from the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia! Today we want to discuss a topic getting a lot of attention at the conference – Gamification.
Hello from the ISTE 2019 Conference in Philadelphia! OTAN is here at this four-day conference to see the latest in educational technology from presenters, organizations, and companies all over the US and the world. This week, we will take a look at some of the topics and trends we are following during the conference that we hope to share with our adult education colleagues in California in the coming months.
Are you planning on completing any professional development training this summer, and if so, will you get a shiny new certificate, micro-credential, or digital badge at the end?
Earlier this year, WebAIM conducted an accessibility evaluation of the homepages of the top 1,000,000 websites, and the results were not promising. On average, WebAIM detected 59.6 accessibility errors per homepage and estimated that a user with disabilities would encounter an accessibility error on one of every 13 elements with which they engage.
If it is not immediately obvious by now, we are in the midst of a digital revolution that is transforming our economic, political, and social systems around the world. Much of our education system, though, is still designed to train a 20th century workforce suited for manual, repetitive work with little technology integration.
This week, the US Census Bureau announced that it will conduct a 2019 Census Test with 480,000 household units across the US that will include a much-debated citizenship question to determine the operational effects of including this question. This Test is in anticipation of the 2020 Census that will officially begin next April 1.
Summer is often the season for educators to catch their breath after a long school year and take some time to learn and build up their skills for the next school year. We might have a pile of print and digital books and papers just waiting to be read. A popular way to continue our learning, not just for teachers but for other professionals, is through the medium of podcasts.
The 2018-2019 school year is coming to a close, but OTAN’s June calendar is still busy with events we are attending.
Please join us for OTAN's next Tech Talk on Friday, June 14 from 1pm to 2pm. This month's Tech Talk is on the Multiple Uses of Quizlet by Diana Vera Alba from San Diego CCD Continuing Education and OTAN Subject Matter Expert.
Remember MOOCs from the early 2010s? Massive Open Online Courses caught the attention of many around the world who could suddenly enroll in courses offered by top professors from world-class colleges and universities on a wide variety of topics, either for free or a small fee, often with the promise of a certificate or credential at the end of completing the course. It was not uncommon for tens of thousands of people from many different countries to enroll in a course, depending on the topic and/or the instructor.
We have written some articles recently on the value of social media for professional development and building professional networks to grow as educators.
After celebrating adult education teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week and classified staff during Classified School Employee Week, it seems only fitting that we conclude the month of May with a celebration of our students who are graduating and completing adult ed programs.
Many of us use social media to stay connected to people in our personal lives, but how many of us use social media as a way to build a professional learning network (PLN) and keep learning and growing as educators?
For teachers new to online teaching, and even those who have been at it for a while, communication between the teacher and students and among the students themselves can be one of the greatest challenges and can make or break the course. Since there may be little to no face-to-face communication between course participants, it is important to approach online communication differently to keep everyone informed and a part of the course from start to finish.
Our office will be closed Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day
As we plan for technology use in our instruction and classrooms, we always want to think about the impact of technology on our adult education students.
Each month, OTAN publishes information about a web-based class activity. These articles are 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.
With the widespread popularity of video games, a concept that has caught on recently in education is gamification.
Please join us for an OTAN webinar on Friday, May 24 from 2:00 to 3:30. The topic is Putting English to Work in Moodle, presented by Paul Yung from LAUSD Division of Adult and Career Education.
Today is the 8th Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD is celebrated the third Thursday in May and according to the organizers, the purpose of GAAD is ”to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.”
OTAN's two-year Digital Leadership Academy (DLAC) assists adult education agencies in meeting their technology integration, distance learning, or blended teaching goals.
The Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition challenges communities and organizations across the country to empower adults with low literacy skills to download and use a free, effective, convenient, and private mobile learning tool.
With so many tech tools out there, with new ones being introduced while others are shut down, it’s hard to make sense of what tools are best for your students. Add to that privacy concerns over the sharing of data with nameless, faceless companies that may not have your students’ best interests at heart, and making technology choices that best protect your students can become daunting.
Today is the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week 2019, traditionally celebrated during the first full week of May. Teacher Appreciation Day is the Tuesday of the week, which this year is May 7. This week is an opportunity to thank teachers everywhere for the hard work that they do every single day of the school year.
Please join us for OTAN's next Tech Talk on Friday, May 10 from 1pm to 2pm. This month's Tech Talk is on Free Adult Education Apps and Resources by Francisco Pinedo, Lead Adult Education Instructor at Soledad Adult School and OTAN Subject Matter Expert.
May is a busy month when it comes to observations and celebrations. In addition to Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, May is also National Mental Health Month.
According to the 2018 report Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States , distance education student enrollments in higher education have increased for the 14th straight year (from 2002 to 2016).
Despite the laudable effort to increase its Bookshare library of over 700,000 digital books that are accessible to readers with learning or physical disabilities or other impairments and stay current, Benetech is facing a numbers dilemma.
On Thursday, April 11, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), along with nine co-sponsors, introduced the Digital Equity Act of 2019.
The primary charge for adult education in California in 2019 is to prepare adults for postsecondary education and workforce opportunities. In the workforce realm, one of the great resources of adult education is the range of short-term training programs available that can quickly transition students into work or combine education and job training. But does the average adult school teacher know what preparation is needed for a student who expresses an interest in one of the skilled trades?
Over the years, researchers have tried to make sense of how and why teachers have used technology in the classroom. Less understood in the research is the type of teacher who uses (or doesn't use) technology.
As we integrate more technology into our instruction, we need to be aware of barriers that we unintentionally create that make it difficult for students to learn, both in the face-to-face classroom and in the online learning environment. And it may not be just students with disabilities, but other students in the class as well, who face obstacles to learning that can be overcome when we look at how accessible the learning materials are and make the necessary changes.
In an effort to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America, the US Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program) starting on April 29. You can learn more about the program and the application process through the ReConnect website at reconnect.usda.gov
During Adult Education Week, adult schools across California plan events to celebrate the work being done at their locations and the success of their adult students who have overcome difficulties to achieve their goals and dreams.
This week is Adult Education Week. This is a time to highlight the vital work being done across California to help adults in a number of realms: teaching English to second language learners and preparing them to obtain citizenship, helping an adult student obtain a high school equivalency certificate or complete their high school diploma program, training students in short-term certificate programs such as medical or dental assistant, transitioning adults to post-secondary and employment opportunities, and so much more.
Please join us for OTAN’s next Tech Talk on Friday, April 12 from 1pm to 2pm. This month’s Tech Talk is on the Excelsior Online Writing Lab by Francesco Crocco, Director of the Online Writing Lab at Excelsior College in Albany, NY.
Using technology in class evokes a whole range of emotions among teachers. Some teachers are tech enthusiasts, constantly thinking about how to use tech with students and the latest tech tools that can be integrated into their practice. Other teachers shy away from technology use, either because they don't feel comfortable using technology, or they have had bad experiences trying to use technology, or they don't know how to use tech effectively and find the transition from print to digital daunting.
April is Financial Literacy Month! Some of our adult education students will be moving on to new and exciting adventures in the next few months after graduation, and our adults can always use money management tips, so now is a great time to share some financial literacy resources with our students.
Friday, March 29 is the last day of work for our Database Projects Coordinator, Randi Knutson, and the start of her long-awaited retirement. We are sad to see Randi leave but are excited for the new adventures she has planned in her post-OTAN life!
OTAN has recently posted several news items regarding virtual reality to explore the world. Here is another great resource that you can start using in your classroom today!
Each year, adult education agencies across California promote their programs and the great work being done by their students and staff during Adult Education Week. This year, Adult Education Week will be April 8 to 12. There are many ways to let your stakeholders know about the important work your agency is doing to serve the community and its members.
You still have just over three weeks to nominate an adult education learner who is successful as a result of the education received at a California WIOA-funded adult education agency for the 2019 Adult Education Students Succeed Program. This is a great way to recognize the hard work that an outstanding student has completed in the pursuit of their personal, academic, and professional goals and aspirations.
Each of us can probably remember a day as a student (and maybe as a teacher) when the entire class period was spent watching a movie. Whether it was a reward or a punishment (depending on the movie), the general consensus nowadays is that this is not the best use of instructional time. So, if you want to use video in class, what would be a better use of video?
In this age of social media, students are coming face-to-face with a whole host of issues related to free speech, privacy, copyright, and freedom of expression. In response to the questions that students have, the Michigan State University College of Law, with the generous financial support of Michigan attorney Richard McLellan, has created the McLellan Online Free Speech Library to provide some guidance on these thorny topics.
We have two online events coming up that may be of interest to you and your colleagues!
One of the most popular ways to blend face-to-face and online learning is to create a flipped classroom. Flipped learning has been around for a number of years, but many teachers are not familiar with how it works. As Catlin Tucker explains in a recent blog post, "The flipped classroom model shifts the transfer of information online and moves practice and application into the classroom."
If you are in search of resources for your teaching and your classroom, look no further! We want to let you know (and remind you) about some great resources that are now available.
Open educational resources (OERs) are one of the best kept secrets in the world of educational technology, and a movement known as #GoOpen is starting to gain traction to make OERs better understood in general and more widely available in particular to school districts and states that have pledged to #GoOpen.
With the proliferation of technology devices and applications in our schools, it is incumbent upon us as users to have a basic understanding of cybersecurity issues. Successful cyberattacks compromise data in school information systems and exact a financial cost, and sometimes human error by those who work in the schools is to blame. The more we know about cybersecurity practices and the more we put those to work, therefore, the more we lessen our exposure to deadly cyberattacks.
For many students who enter post-secondary institutions, time and money are two huge factors that spell success or failure. To address these issues, some schools are starting to leverage technology to help keep students on track and minimize the negative effects of students spending too much time and money while they are enrolled.
n 2019, we are going to hear a lot more about 5G. 5G is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications, soon to succeed 4G that we have become accustomed to with our mobile devices. 5G promises to seriously ramp up our digital lives. 5G will be up to 1000 times faster than 4G and will decrease latency (the term for how long it takes for the signal to go to the source and come back – imagine asking Alexa or Siri a question and getting an answer) from 10 milliseconds to 1 millisecond.
Artificial intelligence (AI) may seem like the stuff of the future (and it has been in the world of science fiction for many years), but AI is already making inroads into our daily lives, in especially compelling ways for people with disabilities.
The next wave of technology that is making its way into education is virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Merriam-Webster defines virtual reality as "an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one's actions partially determine what happens in the environment," while augmented reality is "an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera)." With everyday smartphones plus a few purchased items (like VR goggles) and free apps such as Google Expeditions and YouTube 360, it's never been easier to bring VR and AR into the classroom.
In their recent annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates reflected on surprises they learned in 2018 and what the future might hold for 2019. One of the surprises has to do with the state of textbooks – that textbooks are becoming obsolete.
Our HSD and HSE adult ed teachers are working hard with students to help them earn their high school diplomas and equivalency certificates to move onto college and post-secondary opportunities. The academic environment that these students are transitioning to, however, is changing in response to the shifting landscape of work and training, which is creating a conundrum for this generation of college students.
Recently, the winners of the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE were announced. Congratulations go to the two winning teams that will share the $3 million grand prize: Learning Upgrade based in San Diego, and People ForWords based in Dallas, TX.
Did you know that up to 20% of the population is potentially excluded if your website is not fully accessible?
Please join us for OTAN’s next Tech Talk on Friday, February 8 from 1pm to 2pm. This month’s Tech Talk is on LinkedIn for Adult Education by Karla Frizler, an OTAN Subject Matter Expert. In this OTAN Tech Talk, adult educators will explore how to maximize LinkedIn to showcase professional expertise.
One of the important impacts of technology in schools is how tech has changed and continues to change instructional practices. (Going, going...) Gone are the days of the “sage on the stage” who relied on a lecture-based format to impart knowledge in favor of a new style of “guide on the side” that allows students to take more ownership of the learning process.
The i-Pathways project (a web based high school equivalency prep curriculum) is pleased to partner with OTAN to provide California adult education agencies receiving WIOA Title II: Adult Education and Family Literacy Act supplemental funds access to this online curriculum. The modules include Basic Writing, Basic Math, Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Consumer Education. Programs will be able to use the i-Pathways project with students in a variety of ways: classroom supplement, hybrid, or at a distance. Users will have access to the i-Pathways technical support desk and professional development at no cost to the programs.
The Technology and Distance Learning Plan, or TDLP, is an annual deliverable due to the California Department of Education on Thursday, January 31. Hopefully, your agency is close to finishing the TDLP in time for submission next week. If you have any questions about your TDLP, please contact us at 916-228-2580 or email email@example.com for more assistance.
The start of 2019 brings with it lists for the new year. One such list comes from LinkedIn in the form of in-demand soft and hard skills that employers desire most in current and potential employees. According to the LinkedIn data, here are the top five soft skills bosses are looking for
OTAN is excited to present at the upcoming EL Civics Conferences that will take place across California in January, February, and March.
Please join us for an OTAN webinar on Tuesday, January 8 from 1:00 to 2:00. The topic is SMART Goals for the Technology and Distance Learning Plan, presented by Karla Frizler. SMART goals are defined as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. In this webinar, participants will learn how to create effective SMART goals for inclusion in their agency's Technology and Distance Learning Plan (TDLP), which is due January 31, 2019.