Register Now for the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium
Registration is now open for the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium, which will be held at the Willow Center of Hacienda La Puente Adult School on February 25-6, 2011. Register now, it's free. Attendance is capped at 200 and we are now at 120. You may register for one or both days (Friday and Saturday). Registration ends when attendance reaches 200 or on February 18, whichever comes first.
Adult Education on Facebook
It is estimated that Facebook is used by one-tenth of the human population, allowing them to exchange information and develop social connections. Many educators view Facebook as a mechanism for marketing and expanding opportunities; some use Facebook and other social media tools to distribute information and to build community.
The early adult education adopters of Facebook are discovering ways of using it for showcasing student work, marketing their programs, or for providing professional development. See the cover article by Branka Marceta in the Winter OTAN Online Connection.
As educators learn how to navigate the promises and pitfalls of Facebook and other social media, education agencies are grappling with the related policy issues. Fortunately, a good number of agencies are willing to move forward with a social media presence as they evolve their risk mitigation strategies. If you work for an agency where social media is supported, consider how you might use this new medium of communication to enhance your work.
Build Your Personal Learning Network
How do you stay on top of what's happening in your area of interest? Let's say your area of interest is adult education. In addition to the tradi tional ways of increasing professional knowledge like journals and conferences, you can now connect digitally with others in your field, regardless of where they are located. This is known as building your personal learning network. It is also your professional learning network, but it's personal because it's customized to you. It might include ABE people but not ESL people, or math people but not literature people. It is tailored to your personal interests.
If you have not looked at Twitter, check it out at twitter.com. Twitter is a Web site where users post short messages on what they are reading and thinking about. Twitter has grown rapidly and now has over 200 million users who send out more than two billion "tweets" per month. On one list of top tools for learning, Twitter is listed as #1.
How do you take a sip from this fire hose of information? You will only see the tweets of those you choose to follow, so begin by following a small number of carefully selected people. You can then add, delete, and divide people into lists. See who your friends and colleagues are following. Start with twitter.com/otan.
New Faces at OTAN
Penny Pearson promoted to Distance Learning Coordinator, with focus on online instruction. She initiated the Online Teaching Academy in November, and is also managing the development and piloting of online courses.
Blair Roy replaced Penny's previous position as a Project Specialist. Her responsibilities include workshops and webinars, support for Moodle online course delivery and for online meetings, and video production. She came from Garden Grove where she taught ESL and ASE.
John Burge joined the staff as a ColdFusion Programmer. He has already created the online registration for the Tech & DL Symposium, among other tasks. He will have other responsibilities related to distance learning.
New Papers on Literacy and Employment
The Department of Labor has released several papers, funded in partnership with OVAE, that reflect the latest analysis of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) on key areas of adult education. These include papers on providing English language learning to adults, helping public assistance recipients gain literacy skills for employment, improving literacy of incarcerated adults nearing release and preparing young adults with literacy skills that will build their future.
New Study on Reading Instruction
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has recently published a report on the topic of the Impact of a Reading Intervention for Low-Literate Adult ESL Learners.
The stated goal of the report was to "help improve research-based knowledge of effective instruction for low-literate ESL adults" as well as to test a new approach of improving the literacy skills of low-literate adult ESL learners.
The report used data collected from 1,137 adult ESL learners in two cohorts across ten sites in four states.
In this issue
OTAC and TIMAC
Online Teaching Academy (OTAC) and Technology Integration Mentor Academy (TIMAC) in full swing. Look for applications for next year in March.
Upcoming Face-to-Face Workshops