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2019 News

What's Here?

Catch up on recent, and past OTAN News.

OTAN Online Events Coming Up!

Join us for our upcoming OTAN events!

Many Things Google

It’s no secret that Google is one of the top tech companies in the world, building on the success of its search feature and the ability to “just Google it” to find answers to so many questions we have. As busy people, though, are we taking advantage of search tips and tricks to quickly find the information we need?

How Technology is Changing Work

We see more and more technology that touches all parts of our classrooms and schools, and this is a microcosm of how technology is working itself into all parts of life, especially the world of work.

Our office will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday

Our office will be closed beginning Wednesday, November 27th and returning Monday, December 2nd in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Future of Sharing

There were two news items from last week that are interesting to consider when it comes to the future of sharing educational materials and resources online.

Using Data to Drive Decision-Making

A lot of tech tools, especially those that give the teacher the ability to do formative assessment at the start, in the middle, or at the end of class, also generate quantitative and qualitative data, sometimes scored if the assessment is created that way. The question to ask is, do teachers and administrators know what to do with the data to better student and program performance?

Learning More About Apprenticeships

National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity to learn more about apprenticeships so we can provide adult education students with information about pursuing this option as a means to bettering their lives.

Registration for OTAN’s Technology and Distance Learning Symposium is Now Open!

OTAN’s annual Technology and Distance Learning Symposium (TDLS) will take place March 6 and 7, 2020 at the Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center in Sacramento, and registration for TDLS is now open!

OTAN Webinars Coming Up!

Join us for some more great OTAN webinars!

Use a Backchannel Tool to Increase Student Participation

Consider using a backchannel tool in your class to increase student participation and check for understanding.

Evaluating Technology Use with the Triple E Framework

As you integrate more technology into your instruction, it becomes important to evaluate the effectiveness of technology use in the classroom and whether it skims the surface of effectiveness or makes an impact in a deep and meaningful way.

Our office will be closed Monday, November 11th in observance of Veterans Day

Our office will be closed Monday, November 11th in observance of Veterans Day

Apply to Be a Part of the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program

WES Global Talent Bridge is pleased to announce a new round of applications for the third year of its innovative Skilled Immigrant Integration Program (SIIP).

OTAN Curriculum Offers to Consider for Your Instruction

During National Distance Learning Week, we focus on ways that we can incorporate more online learning and distance education into our classrooms and adult education programs.

National Distance Learning Week 2019 Begins

The purpose of National Distance Learning Week is “...to generate greater awareness and appreciation for distance learning, including K-12, Higher Education, Corporate and Military, while recognizing leaders and best practices in the field;” the goal during the week is “for schools, colleges, and corporations to conduct local events during NDLW to celebrate and promote the field of online learning.”

OTAN Tech Talk on HyperDocs and Rescheduled OERs Webinar Coming Up!

Join us for our upcoming Tech Talk and Webinar! Learn some helpful information about HyperDocs and OER's!

A Framework for Understanding Extended Reality

We are beginning to see the integration of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), collectively known as extended reality (XR), into the education space. As XR makes inroads into the realm of education, it’s helpful to have a framework to understand how XR might be introduced and used in the classroom by teachers and students.

Different Ways that Students Can Demonstrate Learning

All too often, the quick and easy way to see if students have learned something is to give them a quiz or test, score it, and pass it back. Formal assessments like these are definitely one way to see if and what students have learned, but there are many other ways for students to demonstrate their learning that are richer and more creative and exciting than always taking tests.

Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2020 Call for Proposals is Closing Soon!

OTAN’s Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2020 is scheduled for Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 at the Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center in Sacramento. If you are interested in presenting at TDLS, the call for proposals is closing soon!

Spotlight on Census 2020 Materials

Now is a great time to become familiar with a variety of census materials to help students, staff, and community members learn more about the census and its importance.

Making Your Own Instructional Videos

At OTAN, we get questions from teachers from time to time on how to make videos for students or how to add video to a teacher’s class. Now comes a new resource with ideas on how to get started with making instructional videos, especially for those who have never done so before or have limited experience with creating video.

OTAN Webinar Coming Up and a Reminder about TDLS 2020

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!

Are You Ready for the Great California ShakeOut?

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.

Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week 2019

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.

Two OTAN Webinars Coming Up + A Reminder about TDLS 2020

Join us for our upcoming OTAN webinars on OERs and Microsoft Office.

Taking a Look at the Top Tools for Learning 2019

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 Begins

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.

OTAN Tech Talk on Screencastify + Teaching Vocabulary with Technology Training Coming Up!

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.

Survey Shows How Teachers and Students Are Using EdTech

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.

Creating an Accessible Website

No matter how small or large your website is, the reality is that your website should be accessible for all users.

Using Social Media to Get the Word Out

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.

Celebrate Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2019

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.

Teaching Basic Digital Literacy Skills

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.

OTAN is Launching a New Website!

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.

Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2020 Call for Proposals is Now Open!

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.

Getting Ready for Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

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.

On the Way to Integrating Technology

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?

Helping New Teachers Be Successful

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.

OTAN Tech Talk on 21Things4Students Coming Up!

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.

Using Technology to Build Relationships

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

Our office will be closed Monday, September 2nd in observance of Labor Day

Back-to-School Series: OTAN Special Programs and Events

OTAN organizes a number of special programs and events throughout the school year of interest to the adult education field.

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

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.

Back-to-School Series: OTAN YouTube Channel

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.

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

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.

Back-to-School Series: OTAN Trainings

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.

Back-to-School Series: Create an OTAN Account

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.

Exit Tickets - A Simple Way to Do Formative Assessment

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.

Helping Our Students Develop Digital Literacies

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.

Getting Started with Technology in the Classroom

Technology can be overwhelming. Once we get started using it in the classroom with our students, though, we can begin to see the possibilities.

The Case For Visual Thinking

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.

Using An Escape Room to Engage Learners

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.

Please Join Our Open August OTAN Trainings

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.

OTAN Tech Talk – Data + Mail Merge = MAGIC! Coming Up!

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.

Lesson Planning: Back to Basics

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.

Tech Tools to Help Students Improve Their Writing

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.

Making Online Courses More Interactive

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.

Using Social Media to Find and Share Best Practices

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.

Rethinking Homework

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 Shifting to "Digital-First" Approach

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.

New USA Learns Course Launched!

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.

Coaching Teachers to Success

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.

Picking the Right Tech

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.

A Renewed Interest in Competency-Based Education

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.

Improve Your Communication Through Texting

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?

OTAN Tech Talk on Blended Learning Across Platforms Coming Up!

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

Our office will be closed Thursday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day

Giving Students a Voice in Your Classroom

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."

Making Classroom Presentations More Engaging

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.

Take Advantage of ISTE Conference Resources

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.

Gamifying Professional Development

Hello again from the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia! Today we want to discuss a topic getting a lot of attention at the conference – Gamification.

Using Augmented Reality in the Classroom

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 Micro-credentials the Future of Teacher Professional Development?

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?

Making Our Content Accessible for Students

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.

Shifting the Role of the Teacher

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.

Start Planning for the 2020 Census!

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.

Another Resource to Explore: Educational Podcasts

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.

Finishing One Year and Starting Another

The 2018-2019 school year is coming to a close, but OTAN’s June calendar is still busy with events we are attending.

OTAN Tech Talk on the Multiple Uses of Quizlet Coming Up!

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.

Whither MOOCs?

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.

Teaching With Social Media

We have written some articles recently on the value of social media for professional development and building professional networks to grow as educators.

Congratulations Adult Education Students!

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.

Building a Professional Learning Network Using Social Media

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?

How to Improve Online Communication

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

Our office will be closed Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day

The Role of Technology, From a Student’s Perspective

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.

Web-based Class Activities and Tech Videos on the OTAN Website

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.

Gamifying Your Instruction

With the widespread popularity of video games, a concept that has caught on recently in education is gamification.

OTAN Webinar on Putting English to Work Coming Up!

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.

Thinking About Digital Access and Inclusion on Global Accessibility Awareness Day

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.”

Please Join Us for Our DLAC Team Presentations This Week!

OTAN's two-year Digital Leadership Academy (DLAC) assists adult education agencies in meeting their technology integration, distance learning, or blended teaching goals.

OTAN Webinar on the XPRIZE App Learning Upgrade Coming Up!

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.

New Website Aims to Address Student Privacy

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.

Thank You Teachers!

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.

OTAN Tech Talk on Free Adult Education Apps and Resources Coming Up!

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.

Using OTAN Resources to Celebrate May Events

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.

The Pros and Cons of Online Learning

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).

The Push to Make Digital Books "Born Accessible"

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.

Digital Equity Act Introduced in Congress

On Thursday, April 11, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), along with nine co-sponsors, introduced the Digital Equity Act of 2019.

A Basic Guide to the Skilled Trades

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?

How to Identify Technology-Using Teachers at Your School

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.

More Resources to Create an Accessibility-Friendly Environment

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.

USDA Offering Grants and Loans for Rural Broadband Connectivity

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

Adult Schools Celebrate Adult Education Week!

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.

Adult Education Week Begins!

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.

OTAN Tech Talk on the Excelsior Online Writing Lab Coming Up!

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.

Leveraging Technology to Become a Better Teacher

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 – Resources to Help Teachers and Students

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.

Thank You Randi and Congratulations!

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!

Virtual Field Trips Bring the World to Your Classroom

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!

Are You Ready for Adult Education Week?

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.

Nominate a Deserving Student for the Adult Education Students Succeed Program

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.

Using Video Effectively in Your Instruction

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?

New Online Resource to Help Students with First Amendment Questions

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.

Two OTAN Online Events Coming Up!

We have two online events coming up that may be of interest to you and your colleagues!

Getting Started with Flipped Learning

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."

A Variety of Resources (and a Reminder about OTAN Resources) for Your Instructional Needs

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.

States Pushing Ahead with #GoOpen and Open Education

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.

Keeping Yourself Cybersecure

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.

Using Technology to Keep Students on Track

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.

The New Internet, Coming Soon

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.

Disability and the Promise of Artificial Intelligence

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.

Using Virtual Reality to Explore the World (and Beyond)

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.

The 21st Century Textbook

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.

The Conundrum for College Students

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.

Congratulations to the Adult Literacy XPRIZE Winners!

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.

Working to Make Online Content Accessible

Did you know that up to 20% of the population is potentially excluded if your website is not fully accessible?

OTAN Tech Talk on LinkedIn for Adult Education Coming Up!

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.

Teaching in the 21st Century

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.

OTAN Webinar on Pilot Program with i-Pathways Coming Up!

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.

Reasons to Implement Blended Learning (and Your TDLP)

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 support@otan.us for more assistance.

Soft and Hard Skills That Are in Demand

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 to Present at the Upcoming EL Civics Conferences

OTAN is excited to present at the upcoming EL Civics Conferences that will take place across California in January, February, and March.

Two OTAN Online Events Coming Up!

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.

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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.