Saturday, July 21, 2007

Priorities for Adult Education Teachers

I recently received a newsletter reporting on a statewide (CA) survey of teachers that asked what their priorities were for professional development related to curriculum and instruction. Here's the result:

1. Effective Lesson Planning
2. Creating a Web Site for Your Class
3. Including Technology in the Classroom

OTAN is actually responding to each of these. We have the Lesson Plan Builder for online support of good lesson planning.

We have been offering workshops and information for several years on free and easy ways to create a class Web site. We have showed SchoolNotes, NiceNet and Yahoo Groups. Now we are offering teachers the opportunity to try out Blackboard or Moodle, very robust course management systems. For our "build Your Own Site" workshop, we used to train people on Geocities Pagebuilder, but we had so many problems with school district firewalls that we abandoned that. Now we are creating a workshop on using Google Page Creator, but it's so easy that we will add more content to fill up the 3 hours! I believe this will be the year that teachers really get into having their own class Web page. The early adopters will finally be able to spread some of their enthusiasm.

We are probably most focused on technology integration in the classroom. Last year we focused on Web 2.0 sites, blogging, podcasting, video editing, using Excel in teaching, audio card readers and electronic whiteboards. We are working on updating the Web home of our videos about technology integration, so that's coming soon.

I'm also working on an interesting project funded by the federal Dept. of Ed. AdultEd Online. Part of that project is to create an online self-assessment for teachers to determine their skills in technology integration, and users can build their own professional development plan based on their results. This tool is in beta right now, and will go live on August 31.

So, are we doing enough? No such animal, I guess. But it's exciting for me to see that adult education teachers are focusing more and more on technology. The possibilities are proliferating so fast, I see it as our task to sort through them and provide manageable chunks of useful information for teachers.

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