Thursday, December 02, 2010

History of Educational Technology

Love this slide show from NYT. Sadly, I remember all of these from the chalk board, invented in 1890. But the most nostalgic is that rasty mimeograph machine. So glad those days are over!

What is your favorite?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson - Concept Animation

This video by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), creates a visual representation of a 12 minute talk by Sir Ken Robinson about what's wrong with our current education system. Although I've heard him explain these concepts before, it seemed like the visual support of drawing illustrations of the concepts helped me integrate them better. Does it help you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Student Videos to Promote Voting

Susan Gaer's ESL class at Santa Ana College Continuing Education made this video encouraging people to vote! It's part of a contest on the Easy Voter Guide site. There are quite a few other student videos from other community colleges in California. Check them out and get your students to vote for the one they like best!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Videos of Teachers using Facebook

Exploring fb for education - a wiki dedicated to this topic, with a page of videos of teachers talking about their fb projects. One popular use is having students create a fan page about a historical character, and take on that character's identity on fb.

There is also a group on fb for educators using fb.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


It's been a while since I've had time to follow a bunny trail. That is not good! We need time to let our curiosity take us down a path without any goal. This morning I followed a Facebook link by Ron Fujihara to an article on the blog Free Technology for Teachers about a tool for creating timelines of news story topics.

The blog is by Richard Byrne, who has published quite a few free books on technology for teachers. I took a look at Google for Teachers, published on ISSUU, which in itself is an interesting site if you ever want to publish a free book or explore beautiful books and magazines from around the world. But I digress from my digression. The new world elevates ADD to an art form, doesn't it?

Back to Google for Teachers. I'm going to embed the whole book here because you can see how ISSUU works, and you can also read the book!
So I was flipping through the pages, thinking that this could be a great resource for OTAN's various Google webinars. I was also thinking that there wasn't much new for me here when I came across his description of PaintMap, which describes itself as "a geolocation-oriented painting sharing website." It's a site using Google Earth where artists can upload their paintings and tag the exact spot on earth where they were painted. As a visitor, you can click on a featured location or just explore the world on your own. I looked at Chicago and found this painting of one of the Art Institute lions, painted at night, with an interesting story about the painting.

It must be a fairly new site, as there are only 388 artists signed up so far, and no paintings of Sacramento, or Los Altos where I grew up. But I enjoyed looking at various artists visions of different locations around the world. It's quite different than looking at a map or a photograph. It would make a good addition to a report on a home town or country, or any location. I hope the site flourishes.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Checking out HootCourse

I'm creating a course called OTAN on HootCourse. The hashtag is #otanhoot. It's a great idea to create an interface that helps teachers conceptualize how to use Twitter for course work and communication. HootCourse relies on Twitter and Facebook for course creation and content, so there is no unique sign in. You can sign in with either your Twitter or Facebook signin. I can write a post on the HootCourse site that will be automatically posted here on Blogger.

Not only that, but I can embed the whole course right here, and post from here. Can you post to Twitter from here too? Oops, I see you don't have to add the course tag, HootCourse does that for you.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Karen Cator at Gov 2.0 Summit

The Department of Education releases the National Educational Technology Plan, and Karen Cator reviews it at this summit meeting. It still kind of boggles my mind to hear federal officials talking about the long tail, supporting personal passion and motivation in learning, universal design and getting every classroom in the country connected, and broadband everywhere, and even the next generation of assessment - beyond the bubble-in, yes!

I haven't reviewed the whole plan yet, but Ms.Cator did mention in her talk that this plan is for "cradle to career" and that we are all lifelong learners, so a glimmer of adult education is in there somewhere.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Mobile Screen Technology of the Future

This is a vision of how screen technology will be working by 2014, by a company that does user interface.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Peggy Marcy suggested this site, Storybird. You can create a story using art from various artists. There are many story creation sites, but I like this one because of the art. Different artists post a collection of work here, and you can choose one to illustrate your story. Some of the art is charming, and some is quite beautiful.

My story is for young children, but I imagine your students could get as complex as their language ability allows. My story is about a hungry bear. If your students create a Storybird, please post a link here to share.

Here are some other examples:
A princess who collects too many pets.
Learning life's lessons

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo Sharing

I'm preparing for a discussion at the Project IDEAL conference tomorrow about social media tools. All I need to do at this point is add a few examples and links, but it's impossible to do this fast! Every link leads to many possible bunny trails, following one link to another, learning interesting things that may or may not have anything to do with the task at hand. Is this ADD, or multitasking?

I'm reviewing some of the projects created in July and August for the discussion of Social Media in Adult Education, and I'm still surprised at the richness of the discussion. I didn't participate in the photo sharing group, but now I'm looking at their projects linked from the wiki. They created a group on Flickr and had quite a bit of discussion within that group, apart from the list. There are lots of ideas about how to use photo sharing in instruction, especially for ESOL. Illustrations of the alphabet, of everyday interactions (not the happy shopper paying the happy clerk, as one person said), of cooking and canning, of prepositions, of favorite shoes, favorite clothes. The list goes on, and the photos could be collected by teachers or by students. A teacher could create a closed group, where only students in one class could add photos and posts, or the group could be public. Maybe I shouldn't still be amazed at the possibilities of social media, and at the endless creativity of teachers, but I am.

So while I'm at it, I'm going to brag on the blogging group. We had a blog to explore blogging, which has links  to the blogs created by the participants. I had 23 people sign up for this group. About 10 actually responded to messages, and 6 created blogs. When I came back a few weeks later, three blogs were going strong and have posted something new in the last day or two. These are good projects, and they're putting me to shame. I better get busy! This may not sound like a good percentage of success, but it's summer, no one is getting paid (group leaders or participants), so this is all a labor of love.

And there were a couple of wonderful posts from Jayme Adelson-Goldstein about being a lurker. She explained how she followed the discussion, did her own projects, but didn't have time to respond on the list. She illustrated the fact that "lurkers" are not always passive observers. Many are using the materials to suit their own needs and professional development, but not posting about it. There are 1400 people on the adult ed professional development list, so if 6 people actively participated in each of 10 groups, and another maybe 150 to 200 participated in some non-public way, that makes it worth the effort!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Learning so many cool things on the Social Media discussion. Here's a video message left for the group from Steve Quann using Eyejot.

Friday, July 16, 2010

NIFL Social Media Discussion

The discussion of social media for teaching a professional development in adult education is going strong this week! (Thank you, Jackie Taylor and Nell Eckersly!) Despite being on vacation this week and taking care of two toddlers, I've managed to somewhat keep up with the conversation, and have already learned a lot! You can see everything I've bookmarked so far on my Delicious account. Here are some quick examples:

- If you only have time for one link, check out this one. It's a set of slides by Paul Adams who does user research for Google, and reports on what they've found out about how people really relate to their friends, and how they would like to relate to their online friends and acquaintances, and how companies like Google and Facebook could make it easier than they do now. Really interesting! For example, he says that most people have between 4 and 6 groups of friends that are not connected to each other, like friends from college, friends from early in career, friends from kids school, family, etc. Most groups have between 2 and 10 people in them. We don't just have one big group of 183 friends! Social networking sites need to allow us more flexibility, and more control over privacy.

- This article from Education Week describes the burgeoning use of a variety of social media in K12 education, including Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Second Life, and others.

- The POST method of choosing the right tech tool for the teaching objective - People (i.e. audience), Objectives, Strategy, Technology. In other words, choose the right tool for the job, not just the coolest tool.

- Emerging Technologies Matrix for Adult Education - Nell put together this list of social media tools that teachers might want to check out.

If you want to see a synopsis of the discussion, Jackie is doing an outstanding job of summarizing it on the ALE Wiki.

Better yet, join the discussion.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Brenda Dann-Messier at CASAS Summer Institute

Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary of Education at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, at the CASAS Summer Institute - 6 points that OVAE is advocating for WIA reauthorization (and no, we don't know when it will happen):

1. Provide incentives to spur innovation, including increasing the effective use of technology and distance learning.

2. Professionalize our field in order to have highly qualified teachers and leaders. (In California we have credential qualifications but some states don't.)

3. Prepare students for 21st century jobs by strengthening our ties to post secondary education and the workforce, providing and linking to career pathways, strengthening ties to the one-stops, and developing standards for college readiness.

4. Maintain EL Civics and expand it to serve immigrant professionals. The White House now has a working group on "immigrant innovation," and our goals fit with theirs.

5. Increase funding of professional development from 12.5 to 15% in order to support staff to move in these new directions.

6. Strengthen correctional education and re-entry programs by requiring at least 10% of funds to be spent on corrections.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tech Workshop at CASAS Summer Institute

Just demonstrating to workshop participants how easy it is to upload a photo from phone to blog. We also talked about wikis, QR codes, mobile learning and Moodle. Slides and handouts are posted.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ABC's of Investing in Adult Literacy Education

I can't resist posting this alphabet of adult literacy instruction provided by researcher and adult literacy advocate Tom Stitch.

ABC's of Investing in Adult Literacy Education

Tom Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education

A - An investment in adult literacy education usually produces "double duty dollars," meaning a dollar spent for adult literacy education usually produces many dollars of returns on investment in improved productivity at work, at home, in the schools and in the community.

B - Better educated parents tend to produce better educated children.

C - Childhood education and adulthood education are part of the "multiple life cycles" of education; adults' education produces an intergenerational transfer of language and literacy to their children.

D - Developing integrated basic skills and workplace skills programs is a cost-effective way to increase higher paying job prospects in welfare-to-work programs.

E - Educating adult literacy students has been found to improve self-esteem, motivation to learn, and overall mental health; thus cost- effectively providing health outcomes along with literacy.

F - Federal funding for adult literacy education does not exceed $220 per student while funding for Head Start exceeds $6,000 per student, K-12 exceeds $6500 per student and higher education exceeds $16,000 per student. This is unfair and unjust.

G - Globalization of work means that America's workforce will need to compete with workforces around the world, and adult workplace literacy programs can help workers acquire new levels of skills as new demands arise.

H - Health literacy programs can produce increases in adults' understanding of medical problems before they become critical and contribute to medical cost-savings.

I - Intergenerational transfer from parents to their children of motivation for learning has been found to occur when adults are involved in literacy programs.

J - Just-in-time basic skills education in workplaces has helped adults retain and advance in jobs that would have been lost to foreign competition.

K - Knowledge development is as important as skill development, and faster to achieve, in adult literacy programs that focus on helping adults meet daily demands for reading, writing, and mathematics in functional contexts.

L - Literacy education in adulthood has been found to be an important contributor to the success of pre-school programs of literacy development in early childhood.

M - Military services have valued adult literacy education since General George Washington ordered chaplains at Valley Forge to convert an old hospital into a classroom and use it to teach the ABC's to illiterate soldiers.

N - Navy research near the turn of the 21st century found that each dollar invested in academic (basic) skills training returned $14-$22 dollars in recruitment and training savings.

O - Organizational effectiveness in the areas of recruitment, training, job placement, job promotion, and job productivity has been found in cases where workplace literacy programs have been initiated.

P - Promoting the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) of the United States ought to be a major undertaking for communications media, business and industry, and educators at all levels because of the many benefits that this system provides.

Q - Quantitative and qualitative data from research across the last century show that adults can be learn to read, write, compute, and develop functionally relevant knowledge and that this knowledge and skill has contributed to the growth of democracy in our nation.

R - Renewed commitment to adult literacy education by our federal and state policymakers will return itself in greater national achievements in the education of children and the increased global competitiveness of the American workforce.

S - Social inclusion with increased social justice requires that investments in adult literacy education be increased from present poverty levels to levels comparable to the other components of our national education system.

T - Training programs that help under-educated adults move more quickly from poverty or working poor into well paying jobs are possible using cost-effective, functional context designs in which basic skills and job skills education are integrated together into coherent, supportive, developmental programs.

U - Under-educated adults without high school degrees in the United States number in the tens of millions and are presently under-served by a grossly under-funded and marginalized education system. Policymakers need to provide funds to move this educational system from the margins to the mainstream of education.

V - Volunteers have served adults in need of literacy training ever since our nation's beginnings and they continue to serve today. But the services of hundreds of thousands of volunteers need to be reinforced by even greater numbers of full time, paid teachers if the United States is to fully meet the needs for lifelong learning and transfer across life cycles in this more complex age.

W - Women's literacy education is of special importance because research shows that better educated women have fewer children, get better pre-natal and post-natal care, have more full-term babies, send children to school better prepared to learn, and produce greater numbers of secondary school and college graduates.

X - Xenophobia, i.e., fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners, is being fought every day in the Adult Literacy and Education System of the United States by tens of thousands of teachers in programs for both native born and immigrant adults. Better educated adults are less fearful and more accepting of others and this is conducive to better community safety and harmony.

Y - Young adults who are positioned to become parents and who are school dropouts or just poorly educated in the basic skills can receive literacy education and thereby improve not only their own life chances but those of their children when they arrive. Adult literacy education is a form of early childhood education that starts even before children are conceived.

Z - Zest and Zeal for life, greater health, wealth, social inclusion, social justice, family devotion, greater concern for and caring for the diversity of humanity and a greater chance for success in the pursuit of happiness. All these are the realities as well as the intangibles resulting from adult literacy education.


Thomas G. Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education
tsticht at aznet dot net

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting Ready for CATESOL

I'm getting ready for the CATESOL state conference in Santa Clara on 4/23-25, and hoping there will be good attendance!

There will be two labs for the Electronic Village, and many great tech presentations. I'm on two panels, and creating a one-page handout and a wiki for both.

The first one is on Distance Learning: The Future of English as a Second Language. This panel was organized by Kara Rosenberg, Principal of Palo Alto Adult School. We are covering a wide range of topics, from data on distance learning to creating a distance learning program, curriculum, and opportunities for professional development. All our materials and references are on the wiki. It's on Friday at 9 in Convention Center 204

The second one is for the Adult Level Workshop, and the loose theme is Transition. The four presenters will talk about strategic planning for adult education in California (Vittoria Abbate-Maghsoudi, Mt. Diablo Adult Education), the role of technology in transition (me), transitioning students from non-credit ESL to credit ESL at the colleges (Greatchen Bitterlin, San Diego Community College District), and the importance of professional development (Karen Dennis, Santa Ana College). Right now just my part is on the wiki. The Adult Level Workshop is on Saturday, 1:30 - 3 in Grand Ballroom A.

Other OTAN workshops are:
- Moodle (Penny Pearson, Friday at 10:45 in the Great American Ballroom)
- OTAN Resources (Branka Marceta, 9 am on Saturday in Convention Center 205)
- USA Learns (Evelyn Fella, 9:45 on Saturday)
- Connecting with Picasa (Penny and Branka, 1:30 on Saturday, Convention Center 204)

Hope to see you there, California!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson on Elluminate

Steve Hargadon interviewed Sir Ken Robinson last night on Elluminate, with over 400 people (mostly educators) in attendance from all over the world. A lively chat accompanied the talk, along with a Twitter conversation using #edchat. You can view the recording or just listen to the audio, and the audio would be fine, there wasn't much visually except a grainy video of Sir Ken.

Sir Ken is all about finding your passion and developing it, and how schools kill that passion if it isn't about math or English language arts. He has some good stories, and is promoting his new book, The Element. You can also watch his TED Talk from 2006 which has now been downloaded several million times.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Twitter at COABE

Last year I was the lonely tweeter at the COABE conference. This year, and the combined COABE/Proliteracy conference there were at least 10 of us - progress!! Go to Twitter and search for the tag #chgo10 to check out the conference. #adulted will also give some good results.

Budget Cuts to California Adult Education Programs

Next year, 2010-11, is not looking good for adult education in California. This is the second year that adult education has been in Tier 3 of the education budget, meaning that districts will receive the same amount of adult education funding that they received in 2007-08, but they are not required to run the program. The first year, many districts were able to backfill their budget deficits with reserves, including adult education reserves, and with federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, but this year there is no more ARRA funding and in many districts reserves are already spent, so they are looking for ways to make cuts.

OTAN has created a Budget Cuts Wiki page to keep track of news articles from around the state about how the budget cuts are affecting districts and local agencies. It's mostly sad news, but it's helpful to see that this crisis is not specific to any one program or district. It is pretty much across the board.

Three Funding Opportunities

Here are three funding opportunities I learned about at the COABE/Proliteracy conference in Chicago:

1. Adult Numeracy Instruction Professional Development Program - will be announced soon. Two states will be chosen to participate in the pilot of this professional development. Each state will train a team of two instructors and one administrator from 10 agencies. For more information, contact Kathy Chernus at MPR Associates, kchernus at

2. Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL)- up to 12 states will be selected through a competitive application process to receive intensive professional development and technical assistance on research-based practices in effective instruction, beginning with a focus on proven strategies in writing instruction for ABE Learners. State Directors of Adult Education have received applications by email this month. Applications are due in May. States will be selected by June 2010. There is a wee bit of information online, and the contact for more information is Mary Ann Corley at AIR, mcorley at

3. US Citizenship and Immigration Services is offering $4.5 million in grants to agencies for expanding local capacity to prepare legal residents for citizenship. There are also grants for increasing "the capacity of members or affiliates of national, regional, or statewide organizations to offer citizenship services in underserved communities." These grants must have between 2 and 4 "sub-applicants." There will be five of these $500K 2-year grants.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Daniel Pink on LearnCentral

Just listened to Steve Hargadon interview Daniel Pink about his new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. There were over 200 people (mostly teachers) in the Elluminate room for this discussion, and the chat was going like crazy.

The gist of the presentation was that what motivates us is
autonomy - our desire for self-direction
mastery - our desire to get better at what we're doing
purpose - we want to be part of something larger than ourselves

He is writing mainly for business, but the concepts translate very well to education, especially adult education where our learners are not forced to be in class, but choose to be there because they have a purpose, they are striving for mastery. I'm not sure how well we address autonomy. We talk about project-based learning and students being in charge of their own learning, but how well do we really do that? We remain, I think, mostly teacher-directed, and don't leave enough room for learners to choose their own path through the learning.

The other concept that stuck with me might not be originally his, but he called it a FedEx day, in a company where for 24 hours employees can work on whatever they want in whatever way they want, at home or at work, during the day or all night, whatever. Their one responsibility is to share with their colleagues what they are working on. Now that's tempting!

Here are some links from the chat:

An article on social networking for students, K12, but some good ideas about acceptable use for adults as well.

An article from Harvard Business Review on motivation and what really motivates us - short answer: progress. Is that really true? I guess I do feel more motivated on days when I feel like I''m making good progress on a task, especially a particularly challenging one, because on the days when I'm not making progress I feel very UNmotivated!

Last one, a short video of Daniel Pink talking about the two questions you should ask yourself every day.