Speaker: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network. Integrating online learning in ABE and ASE classrooms. OTAN technology and distance learning symposium 2020.
Jaemi: I'm going to get started. My name is Jaemi Naish. And I'm the director at Tamalpais Adult School in Marin County. And I'm also an OTAN subject matter expert, which is a little bit funny. And I'll tell you a little bit about why. We are adult school in Marin County, is a small one. We served just under 600 students a year in three program areas GED, high school diploma ESL, and a small career program.
And what I'm here to do today to talk to you about is how to integrate technology into your ABE and ASE programs. So your GED and your super advanced ESL. So happy to see everybody here today. I'm going to start off with saying, I'm probably the least techie person in this room.
So even though that says techie and I'm a subject matter expert. I'm not. You'll see evidence of that in my presentation, maybe not. Hopefully, not too bad. But where I do excel and where I do shine is in program development and especially technology integration into our programs, OK?
So I work really hard for every piece of technology, every program I learn, I probably double time what most people have to do because it doesn't come naturally to me. So I'm here to kind of put out there that if you are somebody who feels like it's a very daunting experience or daunting thought to had to integrate technology into your classroom, your school, or your program, I'm here to tell you that yes it is but you can do it, OK.
So I'd like to start with about six years ago, and some of you I'm sure were in the adult education field when the GED went from paper-based testing to online testing. Does everybody remember that? And it caught a lot of people off guard for so many reasons, right? There was not any online publishers ready to give us materials to use with our students, so that was one. And two, a lot of us just didn't use technology in our programs. And Tam Adult School was one of those.
So we went from very low tech school where I think we were just using email frankly amongst ourselves not certainly with our students to today it's very much integrated into our programs, and I'm happy about that. But it's taken you know six years. And three of the first years were the hardest, I think. So we definitely went from technology no to technology go, OK?
So can anyone-- I just want hear from a couple of you, why should we even consider integrating technology into our programs. Do students actually need to have technology in baby levels, why? Expedites and accelerates learning, yeah. What else? So backing up that comment a little bit. How do you even apply to get into college?
Jaemi: Yeah, and has anyone ever sat where their student and done that? It's hard. I mean, it's not easy. And if someone isn't tech literate, they're not really going to be able to do it on their own. So thank you for bringing that up, yeah. And they're going to be different in five years too, right? Yeah.
So I think I'm not going to belabor the point, but bringing technology into your programs is really preparing our students for what they need for real life across the board, across the board. And so it's not a secret that the reason that we do what we do in adult Ed. It's not because we make a lot of money. It's because we want to help students and we want to help them see them be successful. So it is all about the students, right?
So that's just a reminder. So when I'm bringing in new technology or I'm training our teachers or I'm thinking about what we can do to make things better for our students, I'm always thinking about our students, and so is our staff. So I feel very lucky about that. So again just a reminder, it is about our students.
So how do we set up programs for tech success? What needs to happen so that the technology that we're using in our programs is effective, OK? So some of these may seem just really obvious. And they are. But we've learned through trial and error that these are some of the important components of bringing successful technology into ABADAC.
The first one is just have it be smartphone accessible, right? How many people review their OTAN tech survey data for their sites? OK, so who can tell me-- I know Francisco is going to know, at your site, how many of your users have one of these? Yes, it's actually consistent across the state. Almost everybody has one of these. It's usually in the 90 percentile. And I bet at your school, it doesn't change from year to year very much.
So if it's really nice. We know that our students work really hard for every dollar that they have. Most students don't come in with an iPhone and a computer, right? That's one or the other. And if they have to choose one or the other, it's usually going to be this. Their pocket computer, right?
So if you can, make sure that whatever program that you choose is iPhone accessible. And they won't always be the case but it will be helpful. The second component is we've all looked at programs or tried online learning platforms where you had to click through about 50 million clicks to get to somewhere. Our students aren't really going to do that. Is the staff going to do that? Not really. They might try. But if it becomes frustrating. So if you have to click through a million clicks to get to that one place, it's just probably not going to happen.
So if it's easy to navigate and easy to locate, that's your best bet for your staff to use it and your students to use it, OK? I have our website up here but I don't want to run out of time. But I do want to show you how we've managed to take a staff who is very tech phobic and really just needed it to be right there in front of them. So how we sort of handle that. So putting some of the technology right on our website where they knew where to go and know to locate it has been a nice improvement for usage both for our students and our staff.
I'm going to skip to the last one, which is, when possible provide the technology, the online learning for free for your students, right? It's hard enough that they have to-- they work in two jobs and come to school at night with you. But if you're asking them also to pay 50 bucks to do this on my learning that they may or may not like and may not want to use, they're probably not going to use it. They're probably not going to sign up for it.
How many people have taken advantage of an OTAN pilot for technology? So not very many of you in this room raised your hand. And if you have the opportunity, when OTAN sends out, hey, we're doing this pilot program, is anybody want to try it for free? Raise your hand, get involved. Because they spend a lot of time researching the platforms that they provide to the field for free as pilots.
Some of them I've liked. Some of them I haven't, but we've tried them. And that's really six years ago how we got started into the online, once the GED moved over, it was a GED online prep pilot that OTAN let us try. And that got us started. We didn't end up using that one. We didn't like it at the end of the day. But it was still something we got to try for free at a time when we had no budget whatsoever to explore that. So I would highly recommend and just encourage you guys to look into that.
And then embedded training. If you don't provide ongoing training for your staff and your students when you've introduced a piece of technology or an online learning tool, what's going to happen? Fall apart. So here you gave him this tool, you said go work it out and then you didn't do anything. I know how I felt if I don't get training and especially around technology because like I said I work really hard to get every piece of tech that I learn and know. I'll start doubting my skills. I'll just think, well, I guess, I should have been able to do this and I couldn't. And there must be something going on with me.
And I think teachers feel that same ways too, students certainly feel that way. So we don't want to do that to them because we really need them to embrace technology because I don't know about in your ABE and ACE programs. But we don't have enough instructional hours in the week to teach them all the things they need to know to pass the GED, right? Do you guys?
Yeah, so we know that they're going to need to do online learning to get through that test or to complete those high school subjects to move on to college as you recommended or you've suggested that kind of thing, OK? So does that make sense? OK. So a little bit about what successful technology integration looks like. It's not a whole lot different than what needs to be in place. But again, we talked about training that is just provided throughout the year and it's planned. And there's evidence of that both for students and staff. And then what to do, what's in place? What plan is in place for when something doesn't work? Who do your students come talk to?
So our whole office is trained. So when they're passwords everybody gets a unique Tam Adult Ed log in for their Chromebook. When that doesn't work, and it often doesn't work, they'll need to go see somebody to get it fixed. So our teachers are now trained to do that so it doesn't stop the class and it doesn't stop the student. And we've even put a stop gap in which is a generic log in. So if no one's around, they can still participate in some way.
So we've come up with these little tips and tricks through our learning curve that has really helped us. You mentioned it. Sometimes you have students in class that are incredibly tech savvy and they can help each other. And then that's super helpful to the teacher as well. But then when tech is successful and it's embedded, you'll notice that teachers are helping students, teachers are helping each other. And they're not so reliant on one person to kind of get you through the troubleshooting, which is nice.
So what I want to do is show you our Tam Adult School video. Not so much to introduce you to our school, which is really why that we created the video but because I want to show you-- I want you to kind of watch it for some of the tech embedded in this that hopefully you'll notice. All right, so that is just a little bit about our program. And I'm hoping what you've seen there is how technology is embedded into our program, right?
So what's important to know is what you see in the video is what you would see if you walked on the school campus tomorrow. And again, we've worked really hard to get there. So what I want to just provide today is just a four-step model for technology integration. And we're keeping it simple, right? That's really how it works best is to start small.
So your first step is just get started. Just decide that you want to make a change in your classroom or your school or your program and start there. Do your research. We were just talking about research a little bit ago. And really make sure, we're going to go over this in more depth, and make sure that you research the online learning platform you want to bring into your program, your classroom, your school, right? Or maybe to.
Identify your team. Sometimes your team is just a team of one and we'll get to that too. And then put your plan into action. OK, who feels anything remotely similar to this? I don't know if you can see it. The lady in the screen. That technology is scary but not dealing with it is far worse. Who has teenagers in this room? So you know that if you're not keeping up with them like it is scary. Really that's how I feel.
But I don't let that hold me back because I know I like I'm just going to keep repeating myself. I know how hard I have to work to learn any piece of technology that I bring into our program that I hope our teachers and students will use, OK? So I think it's obvious to integrate technology or to make a change in a program you must persevere, right? And you'll see that across the simple four-step model.
So let's talk about identifying your people. When you guys think about, are you all in here because you want to bring technology into your programs or? OK. Who's made some steps to start doing that already?
Jaemi: OK, research. OK. So good, awesome. So when you start thinking about who your people are, who your team might be, does anyone come to mind especially for the people that have gotten started? Or does anyone in the room go like there's no one right now? So what I want to say is sometimes identifying your people means that it's going to start with you. When we had to become a Pearson VUE test center first. And that was six years ago. And there there's not one person on my side that wanted to help do that. I didn't want to do it, but I knew we needed to do it.
So I was a team will want to got that done. But along my journey, the director of IT for our district was involved. And then we became a team of two. And once we became a team of two and she started providing some amazing guidance, we bought Chromebooks for the whole entire school, created our own domain, and then we needed to provide teaching and training to our students, and to our staff on how to use some of that stuff.
And then my team of two or three became a little bit team of four. And our first teacher went to what was then called the Technology Integration Mentor Academy, has anyone done that? No. OK. Yes. Has anyone done the next iteration? Been part of that at OTAN? OK. If you have that opportunity, you want to do that. I will say a lot there.
So we had a teacher who is probably my least techie teacher, even less talky than I am which is hard to believe. And she went to the Technology Integration Mentor Academy. It was over a period of time. Came back and brought some amazing programs to our school. Now that the teachers wanted to touch him. They're like, no. And we've done it this way forever I don't see why we need to do it differently. But then she started doing all these really neat and cool things in her program, and including just a website was one of them.
And her students in particular in the ABE level were coming and grabbing a Chromebook and going to class and getting on programs and then moving up to the next level and nothing was happening. And they started to complain. And so that just started a movement. So you never know with your team of one or your team of two the ripple effect they're going to have, but they do.
Who can tell me what a SMART goal is? Very good. Who's taken any of the SMART goal training classes that OTAN or Cal, I forgot who is offering them. Has anyone ever taken that? Did anybody work on their SMART goal for their tech plan who might be a well-funded agency. So in your packet here, it's here are just what you need to do to create your SMART goal. And really you're keeping it as simple as possible. You're keeping it brief.
And for your tech plan, for your integration plan, you're really only coming up with one or two of these. Any more than that would be a lot, right? But this just gives you something to kind of plan, something to measure, something to fall back on, right? Any questions about this we could probably do at least a 30-minute discussion on this, which we're not going to do but yeah. But here it is if you need it.
All right, so who can tell me that very important step to-- who can tell me what a growth mindset is? So when you think to your team or you think to who your department is, do you have people that are both fixed mindset and growth mindset in your team? And when you think about who you might want to include on your technology integration plan or your team, who would you choose first? Yeah.
So what I'm not doing today is I'm not saying that fixed mindset is better than growth mindset or growth mindset is better than fixed mindset. But I will say that when you're planning to integrate technology or a change in your program, you definitely want to have a teammate that has a growth mindset perspective. I've certainly had one of my favorite colleagues is definitely a fixed mindset person when it comes to a couple different areas. And that person is not someone I would choose to be on my technology integration team.
So many other areas this person is amazing and like my right hand person but definitely not for technology. And so it's OK. So you just have to sort of be smart and think about who that person is or who your teammates are. So if you look on the third page of your handout, actually maybe it's your second, sorry, second page your handout, there's a handout here that says 25 ways to develop a growth mindset. And I'm not going to go over these with you now because I actually really hope to show you another video, which I'm nervous that isn't going to play, about growth mindset that is wonderful.
But these little lightning bolts are areas that I found particularly impactful when it comes to integrating technology using a growth mindset perspective, OK? OK, so when you think about who you are as a person, how many people feel like their growth mindset people? I mean, it's OK not to be-- yeah, obviously.
Jaemi: How does it show up for you? How do you know your growth mindset person? And isn't it awesome at the end of the year-- because I don't know any GED program where someone comes in and said almost no one comes going, I'm great at math. But isn't it the best feeling ever for them and you where they go, I got this, like now I love math. And we all have those too, right?
OK, and so enough on growth mindset although it is important to keep it in your mind. So then we talked about researching, online learning platforms creating one or two SMART goals, identifying your funding, and and/or identifying funding or pilot programs such as OTANs where you can access it that way. And then backwards mapping. So what is it that you want to do? When do you want to do it using that smart timeline? And planning backwards, OK?
OK, so I talked a little bit about the one willing participant for my team and that was me. And hopefully, you will you know not have that scenario for too long. I didn't have it for too long. Once your teachers see all the good things that you're doing and how your students are enjoying it and benefiting from them, you'll have people that want to sign on with you and integrate technology into your program.
Professional development. We talked about the dire importance of creating professional development and planning for it throughout the year, otherwise, your tech integration will flop, OK? And then of course to persevere. All right, so one of the things and this is also a growth mind set component is celebrating your successes no matter how big they are, no matter how small they are. Sometimes they feel bigger than others. I got an email last week from a teacher that said, for instance, at Tama Adult School we're using Acellus mainly for our high school subjects completions. We piloted the program last year and we really only piloted it with high school subjects students but it was it took off.
This year, we decided to trial it with some of our GED and it's gone really well. So a teacher last week texted me and said, wow, Katia raised her GED science score by 11 points on the GED ready using the Acellus GED science program. And that was in about a five-week period. And this is a really strong student.
And so then what I asked-- well, I was of course, elated to hear that news. And she's actually taking the GED test at our site today in science. So we're wishing her good luck on that. But I reached out to her after that email because I knew I was presenting here and I said, tell me about, would it be OK if I shared your experience with how online learning has gone for you? And so this is what she sent to me and I'll paraphrase it. And sorry for my 52-year-old eyes here.
Of course, I can share my opinion with you about my online learning experience. Studying for the GED test by using Acellus has been enlightening, much more efficient, and very entertaining. I really enjoyed using Acellus for the social studies test. It saved me a lot of time since I don't have to read the whole history and the program focused on the most relevant events. The instructions on Acellus were engaging, entertaining, and very clear. I'm using it for science as well.
I just can't imagine how could have been without Acellus. Online learning is good because I can do it whenever I have time and whenever there's Wi-Fi available in a coffee shop, at the library, in my spare time at work. Using online learning and audible technology, it's important for me because I'm an extremely busy person. I work a lot and it saves me time. But most important, it helps me better understand the main ideas of subjects that I would be struggling to digest through reading long passages in a different language.
And then we just skip a couple of things. Portable technology is a great resource for teachers that must consider to support their ESL students in reaching their goals. So this was just two days ago from a student who is enjoying her online learning experience. So what do we know about adult learners? Do they tell you right away if they hate something or don't like something or? Yes.
Jaemi: How can you tell?
Jaemi: Yeah. That's it. That's exactly right. They don't come back. They won't use it. And when they become comfortable with you, when you start soliciting their opinions. I mean, I could read you the last of what you said here because it's funny. They will just be open and honest. I mean, her last sentence is, let's see. I just think where was Acellus and why wasn't I signed up before. So and I love getting that feedback. And I feel guilty that she wasn't signed up and didn't have it before.
So if you go to your first page here. These are some of the online tools that either we've trialed or that we are currently using. Our team goes over this usually annually and takes off things that we're no longer using. Acellus Academy has been a program that our adult school piloted last year. It's for high school subjects. It's a WASC-accredited ADG program.
There's many of them out there. But for the district I work in, that needed to be in place, those two components, even for our adult school. And the rest of our district is using it. Now, I've talked to a couple other people just today who are using Edgenuity and Odyssey where there's all kinds of different programs out there. And that goes back to what is your plan? What's your vision for your technology plan for your site but it also could be related to your district. So again, these are just some of the tools that we use in our in our school and across our programs.
And I would love to hear other people's opinions. But again, when it isn't so much about that particular vendor, it was not easy to navigate. And our teachers and our students won't use something that's not easy to navigate. Our students have also-- and so I love hearing different experiences from different educators because it is so difficult to find Spanish language GED prep materials. And so what I love about your story and the question that started is it didn't work for us, but it doesn't mean it won't work for other sites. And just because something works for us and is on this piece of paper doesn't mean it's going to be good at your site. So that research component is big.
I would recommend two especially when you're in the early phases of integrating, talk to your adult school colleagues because you have some really good tips and tricks. I will, you will, so it really makes sense to reach out to your people. I would also say collect data. So this is a form of collecting data, right? Just asking for the email. This is a student opinion. This is data. But you could do so much more, right?
I think you talked about acceleration. That online programs provide student acceleration. It could look like instructional hours through distance learning. It could look like passing your high school subjects in a timely way using your online program. It could look like getting through the GED quicker. It really is going to depend on the student and on the school. But if you don't collect any data, you really you're not going to know how you're doing other than sometimes that anecdotal like they're not using the program, they hate it. You know, those kind of things that you see.
Because I think sometimes when you aren't part of that decision and it's set and they go, here's your new program, sometimes you have to figure out what to do about it. But if you in this room have a say in what you can implement at your own site, you can do it the right way. So you're not just going, here it is flop it in it down and let's go. So again, I think to persevere especially in this phase and to collect data is will be amazing.
Let's see. So I wanted to just show you a little bit-- it's hard to see. But Sue is really our first partner. She was my first real teammate at our site. She was willing to-- she was the one I said her family lack when she was coming to the TIMAC Mentor Academy. And she's remains one of the mentors on our site for teachers who want to integrate technology. And our teachers have been at our site for many years. So they were really used to doing things in a certain way. And having a new person come in and kind of mess that up a little bit. Well, she wasn't new. But having someone decide they were going to do something, kind of threw everybody off kilter. But then they embraced it. And now everybody does it. Now everybody is integrating technology.
So I want to show you her site not because it's like this amazing site but because it really works more. And more importantly, it's the students love it. It's easy for them to use. So she'll notice she changes that every day. So her students will come in, they'll grab a Chromebook, go to her sites. Pushed out to the Chromebooks but they'll go onto the site. They'll see what their assignment is. She links everything. So they just have to do one click, right? They're not looking around for everything.
I'm very thankful-- know probably like all of you guys, we're really trying to educate our students on coronavirus and keeping the flu and cold away, not just coronavirus but we are working on that. So her just giving some information there. So it's a simple site but they love it.
What it also does is that it brings in some of the sites that you will see on this piece of paper here that we use regularly and that she uses regularly with her students. So it's very easy. It's very one click-oriented. And it's been a great tool for her students. And really what it does, she is our lowest level ABE , is just set them up to use technology and get into some of the GE online, KT Fast Forward, or Acellus in the higher levels. So it kind of just naturally get some up to that level and ready. Teacher led, yeah.
But she gives them a lot of work at home. So remember, when I started off saying, there's no way we can give them the amount of work they need in one year in just direct instruction time. So we really ask our students to do homework, they don't always, but we hope that they will. I'm back to your goal and Francisco what you were saying with, hey, if you want to do it yesterday, you got to put in some time, right? OK.
One of the things here that I wanted to show you. Here is a picture of a student. She is taking, it's not a very good picture, but she's taking a picture with her iPhone of her schedule. So when I was the counselor at the school, I would meet with every student and I do a paper schedule with them. And then I get up and I go make a copy, and then come back, and I give the copy of the paper and then they would lose it the next day or that night. And then they call the office because they forgot what their class was.
And so this particular student, probably about four years ago said, I don't want a piece of paper, I can just take it with my phone, right? And I just wanted to cry, because I was like, yes. Yes, thank you for that amazing idea. And not one more paper copy was made after that point. And so I don't know if it was in this session or one of the ones I was in before. But our students always have trouble remembering their log ins, right? I have trouble remembering my log and for God sake.
So they also take pictures of that because what they don't lose is their phone, right? So they can scroll through, they have it, it's there, they have their schedule. Along with their schedule is our office number, their teachers information. They have their log in for their Chromebook. They got everything they need on that piece of paper. And once they log in once, it's just remembered, right? So they're gone. They're gone at that point.
So that's a little bit about some of our school and what we've done here. We've talked about this doc. And then that brings us to the end or brings me to the end of the presentation. You guys have questions about anything about what the adult school does or each other? Not every single one of them. So lots of them are because as I mentioned, that's what we try to do. Acellus is not free. GCF learned free. Has anyone ever used that site? It's a good site, right?
Finally, I'll just say, we use Remind. The rest of our district uses something else. They won't let us use that something else because our students fluctuate so much, right? So we needed to have Remind as especially for school closures and emergencies and things like that. And it's been fine, it's been fine for us, yeah.
I would say if you have an opportunity to develop a relationship with your district IT people, that is super important. And you can even just start small. Our district IT person has been instrumental in taking us from no tech to where we are today, which includes having our own domain. I can tell you it wasn't 30 grand because we wouldn't get it if it was.
I mentioned though OTAN. I mean, if you have the opportunity to take up one of their pilot programs, you should absolutely jump on that. They're very generous with the amount of licenses you get. And often it's not just for one level or another, it could be in an EDSL program, a GED high school diploma. And then you have to search, it's really hard.
We were lucky in our district and maybe yours is the same, but they were using Acellus in special Ed so we got to pilot it for free. And because it worked well in our special Ed program in our five schools, we got to use it. And now we get to use it for free although they didn't make me the district coordinator of the whole program for all the schools. So there you go. So I'm paying for it in some way. But I'm so happy to use it for our students.
So you just have to sometimes put your foot in a door and really your IT person, but you never know special Ed is where I learned about Acellus. And if any of you have taken any of Francisco's classes, he is really so good. I mean, he makes you feel like you can do any anything. But what Francisco's talking about is partnering, right? So it's really figuring out who to partner with and that is part of your integration plan is identifying your team and your partners.
Many of the libraries in California have a high school diploma program too that students can access. It's not necessarily for English language learners, it's pretty high level. I probably only had a couple that have gone and done it. The other thing, and you could maybe answer this, I know and I don't know if this is a Marin County Library thing, but they there used to be this tutoring in English and Spanish from, is it 4 o'clock till 10:00 in any subject and it was live tutoring.
Audience: We have that in our library.
Jaemi: That's incredible right there. I mean--
Audience: Any subject.
Jaemi: Any subject, English or Spanish. Yeah. So I hope you guys are getting the flavor that the more you ask of each other the more interesting and great valuable resources are shared, not one person can have all of them but collectively like there's been some great things shared in this room. Well, thank you guys very much. Thank you for sharing all your words of wisdom and expertise too. Thank you.