News

Time is Running Out to Register for the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium 2016!

The TDL Symposium is scheduled for March 11–12, 2016 at Fresno Adult School. Registration is open now through March 1, 2016, or until we have reached our capacity of 200. Don't wait and be disappointed. Once we reach our capacity, registration will close. Registration is only $25 and you must be pre-registered to attend as there will be no "on-site" registration.

Dollar General Adult Literacy Grants Deadline Approaching

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Adult Literacy Grants program annually awards funding to nonprofit organizations that provide direct service to adults in need of literacy assistance. The grant application for this year closes February 25, 2016. Organizations must provide help in ABE, HiSet or GED preparation, or English language acquisition. The grant is available to eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, educational institutions, and public libraries. ll applicants must be located within twenty miles of a Dollar General store and the maximum grant amount is $15,000. Visit the Dollar General Web site External link opens in new window or tab for complete program guidelines.

Motivate Your Students and Introduce Them to New Career Possibilities

PBS Learning Media offers videos titled "Career Spotlight External link opens in new window or tab" that could be the catalyst for motivating your students to continue their basic education and transition to college. There are currently 1,626 Career Spotlight videos, most with support materials and discussion questions to use before and/or after watching the videos. The videos could also be useful for fillers when you need something to start class or end it on an "up" note.

The Current State of Educational Blogging

For the last four years, Edublogger has surveyed how educators and students use blogs. This year, the report is packed with interesting factoids. If you use blogs or would like to this article External link opens in new window or tab could be of interest.

Newsela Recently Released an iPhone and iPad App

If you are one of many educators that has found Newsela useful for reading and writing activities with your students, then you will be interested to know that they have developed a free app which allows students to read articles "on the go." More info on the app...

New Grant to Provide Childcare to Parents in Training Programs

On December 17th, the Department of Labor announced the availability of $25,000,000 in grants under the Strengthening Working Families (SWF) Initiative. The Initiative will award up to $4,000,000 in funds to partnerships between the workforce development system, education providers (including community colleges, community based organizations, and tech boot camps), child care providers, and employers. Read more...

COABE/TALAE National Conference, Dallas, April 10-13, 2016

Attend COABE/TALAE National Conference External link opens in new window or tab in Dallas titled “Bigger & Better in Texas, and collaborate with your colleagues from around the country in the lone star state! Learn about new best practices and receive targeted training from national level speakers. Twelve strands—comprised of more than 200 sessions—will be offered, providing valuable, state-of-the-art training that you will be able to bring back to your adult ed program! Read more...

The California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar Offers Many Opportunities for Professional Development

If you have never visited the California Adult Ed PD Calendar External link opens in new window or tab, we would like to encourage you to visit soon. All three leadership projects, OTAN, CALPRO, and CASAS, use this calendar to list their upcoming workshops. We are confident you will find a topic of interest.

Save Money - Offer Professional Development On-site

Now is the time to schedule professional development activities. We are looking for adult schools that are willing to take a leadership role in providing Professional Development involving the use of technology to teachers in their region. We will provide the training. You just provide the computer lab. There is no charge for this service. If you would like to participate, call us at 800-894-3113 or e-mail lswanson@otan.us for more details!

New Web-based Class Activity for February!

A cat reading a tablet device

Reading Cat by Alfred Hermida
(taken February 13, 2011).

Improve Reading Skills with Lower Level Stories

Reading materials for the low level reader are often difficult to find online. This month's Web-based Class Activity will introduce you to five Web sites that will help your student succeed in reading, even if his or her reading level is low. The article is complete with two activities you can use with your students tomorrow. The sites we will highlight include, Center for the Study of Adult Literacy, the California Distance Learning Project, TV411, Marshall's Adult Education, and English Express.

 

Professional Development

Webinar

Online Workshops & Webinars:

OTAN offers short, online workshops to meet the demands of busy adult educators. Here is a list of a few of the upcoming workshops:

Easy to Make Quizzes for Web Sites and Blogs with Barry Bakin
February 5, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Integrate Learn360 Media into Moodle with Susan Coulter
February 10, 2016 ~ 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Educational Technology Sharing through Alumni Online Meetings hosted by Branka Marceta
February 12, 2016 ~ 2 to 3 p.m.

Moodle v2: Creating a Course Web Site (2 hours) (Updated!) with Blair Roy
February 17, 2016 ~ 12 to 2 p.m.

Organizing Your Online Resources (New!) with Linda Swanson
February 17, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Easy to Make Quizzes and Flashcards for Tablets and Mobile Phones with Barry Bakin
February 19, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Licensing Your Creations (Copyright & Creative Commons) (New!) with Penny Pearson
February 23, 2016 ~ 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Moodle v2: Getting the Most out of the Gradebook (Updated!) with Francisca Wentworh
February 25, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Moodle Courses for ESL  with Debbie Jensen
February 26, 2016 ~ 11a to 12:30 p.m.

Moodle Courses for ABE/ASE with Debbie Jensen
March 4, 2016 ~ 11a to 12:30 p.m.

Creating Accessible Documents (New!) with Penny Pearson
March 8, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Create Quick and Easy PowerPoint Slide Shows for Discussion with Barry Bakin
March 18, 2016 ~ 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Data + Mail Merge = Magic! with Penny Pearson
March 29, 2016 ~ 3 to 4:30 p.m.

If a workshop appears to be closed and you would like to participate, call us (800-894-3113).

Other workshops are also available, so keep checking the California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar External link opens in new window or tab for the latest workshop additions.

Face-to-Face Workshops:

Contact us at 800-894-3113 or e-mail support@otan.us to schedule one of our workshops at your school this winter or spring! We will do most of the work for you. We just need your available computer lab.

Face to face workshop

The deadline to register for many Face-to-Face workshops is two weeks before the workshop, so register early to avoid disappointment!

Moodle: Create a Course Web Site 
Friday, Feb 19, 2016 ~ 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Grossmont Adult School - Foothills Campus 
1550 Melody Lane
El Cajon, CA 92019

Chromebooks for Adult Education
Monday, Feb 22, 2016 ~ 4:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tamalpais Adult School
375 Doherty Dr
Larkspur, CA 94939

OTAN offers a wide variety of no-cost, hands-on, three-hour workshops. We will come to your school if you have at least 10 interested participants and an approved lab. If you have a smaller school and need more participants, consider coordinating with other small schools in your area to fill your workshop. If there is a technology topic not listed that your staff needs assistance with, let us know and we will discuss creating a new workshop to meet that need. Here are some of our workshop titles:

Visit our Web site to see the complete list including descriptions and prerequisites for each.

Teaching Resources

Web "Sitings":

Quill: Grammar, Writing Editing Proofreading Activities External link opens in new window or tab
Quill provides learning activities that engage students in the writing process through Web applications teaching grammar, vocabulary, and writing skills. Teachers have a dashboard that shows them how their students are progressing on the Common Core standards. They can choose from over 150 activities and view the results through a mastery-based system. The link above if for an activity to use with ESL students, but this could also be useful in ABE and ASE classrooms.

GrammarFlip External link opens in new window or tab
GrammarFlip is a self-paced, instructional program that provides a unique sequence of engaging videos on grammar, mechanics, and usage.  Topics and concepts such as parts of speech, parts of the sentence, punctuation, and usage are introduced in relation to each other. This scaffolds learning and solidifies student understanding as the program progresses. Students watch instructional videos at school or home, having the ability to pause and review sections that remain unclear to them.  Students then move on to a series of practice exercises which provide instant feedback to reinforce their learning. Teachers can set up classes and watch their students' progress. 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Money Smart Podcast Network External link opens in new window or tab
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is offering podcasts on financial topics such as the Basics of Banking; Checking Accounts; Savings and Spending Plans; and Borrowing Money. Many of the episodes have transcripts and reference materials which can be used as class handouts, such as this one on check writing (PDF).

Consumer.gov - Scams and Identity Theft External link opens in new window or tab
Avoiding identity theft is a hot topic these days. This site presents the topic at about a 5th grade reading level, so it could be used for ABE and ESL classes. Would be useful for an EL Civics unit on Consumer Economics. They also offer many other money related topics such as Making a Budget; Opening a Bank Account; Using Debit Cards; Prepaid Cards; Saving Money When You Shop; Buying and Using Phone Cards; Sending Money Overseas; Renting an Apartment; Credit, Loans and Debt; Payday Loans and Cash Advances; and Car Title Loans. Under the Toolbox tab you will also find Lesson Plans and Lesson Materials, Worksheets and Presentations, and Video clips on these topics. Very helpful site.

Federal Trade Commission: Identity Theft External link opens in new window or tab
On a related topic, this site from the Federal Trade Commission can help a student who may have fallen victim of identity theft. It covers the steps they need to take to report the problem, including contacting places like the Social Security Administration, debit/credit card companies, bank accounts, DMV, etc. It would be a good reference site that students (and anyone) should be aware of.

Medline Plus External link opens in new window or tab
MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, it brings your students information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues at a language level they can understand. MedlinePlus offers health information, anytime, anywhere, for free and without advertising. It's written at about the 7th grade reading level and offers many health videos on a variety of topics.

Screencast-o-matic External link opens in new window or tab
This free screen-recording program is all online - no installation necessary. You simply create an account and press the “Start Recorder” button. The free version allows you to capture 15 minutes of screen time, then publish it to YouTube and/or save it as a video file. You can upgrade for a small annual fee (currently $15. yr.) to have the ability to edit, add scripted recordings, publish to Google Drive, Vimeo, and Dropbox and several other features. But it's a good tool even at the basic level for quick instructions for students on how to do something that's not too complicated.

Tech Tips and Information

Google Spreadsheet Formula Everyone Should Know About External link opens in new window or tab
In this post, Tammy Worcester Tang explains how to make data gathered from a Google Form easier to view in the spreadsheet which collected the data using a special formula. I think you'll like it if you use Google Forms.

Create a Table from a List in Word
Have you ever set up a list of some kind in a Word document and then decided it might be best presented as a table? Well if you have, but thought it would be too much work, this tip on Converting a List Into a Table (Tip #3) External link opens in new window or tab will let you see how easy that is in Office 2010.

Interesting Quote

Information and Technology
"The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential."
~ Steve Ballmer