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Speaker 1: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.

Melinda Holt: Hello, Everyone. I'm Melinda Holt, a project specialist for OTAN, the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network. And I'll be your host for this OTAN Tech talk.

The title for this OTT is "Become Digital Leaders, OTAN's Digital Leadership Academy." And we'll detail the mission and goals of the Digital Leadership Academy as well as provide information on how agencies can apply for the two-year project. Our presenter Neda Anasseri is a project coordinator at OTAN and oversees the DLAC. Neda, it's all yours.

Neda Anasseri: Thank you, Melinda. Thank you, everybody, for joining this OTAN Tech Talk on the Digital Leadership Academy. I'm happy to be presenting for you today.

A little bit about OTAN which I know that you all love OTAN services and have been participating in many different professional development opportunities. But as you know, OTAN's Vision-- leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

You are looking at a list of training and other courses that OTAN offers from training in person and online to an El Civics Exchange and training on the continuous improvement plan along with curriculum offers and the learning management system. That is not a limited list of what OTAN does. We do so much more. And, of course, if you would like to learn more, you can go to www.otan.us or you can contact support at otan.us.

So today's conversation is going to be about our two-year professional development opportunity which is also known as the Digital Leadership Academy a.k.a. DLAC. We'll talk a little bit about why we chose to do a two-year professional development opportunity, a little bit of history, the application, the project outline, what's involved in those two years, some statistics, and the time commitment along with ideas from past agencies that have participated in the DLAC previously.

So many, many years ago we have offered-- throughout the years we've offered different professional development opportunities, long term, short term, and so on. It is a very, very much difficult to try to execute a project or a plan in just a short period of time. We believe in two years, the first year being learning about what your agency needs are with a plan in mind of some sort, and then the second year-- towards the end of the first year you're implementing the project. And then the second year is really the opportunity to understand what your project's needs are, some of the feedback pieces that your project needs, and other evaluating factors so that you can execute and sustain your project long term.

So here are some quotes. Behind every great team is a strong culture, great leadership, and passionate, committed people. Absolutely. And I'll talk about that team approach in just a bit.

There's no more effective way to empower people than to see each person in terms of his or her strengths. And I'll get to that in just a minute. But long term PD has been identified as just kind of linking it to the project management cycle.

Think of a project management cycle. When you have an idea and then that idea turns into a project and then that project turns into the implementation. And then you need some time for feedback and other evaluating pieces so that you can actually execute and sustain your project.

OTAN has a history of professional development opportunities. As you can see here we've had the Instructional Technology Assistance Project also known as ITAP. We've had the Technology Integration Mentor Academy also known as TIMAC. I'm a TIMAC alum. And then we also have the Online Teaching Academy also known as-- I think it's OTAC.

So these are all academies that OTAN has provided over the years. They have been year-long academies. So these helped us identify that two-year piece. We've known that one year opportunities have been successful and we've seen a lot of great progress. But what would that second year do for you? So that's what happened. These guys got married and they had a kid and that kiddo is the Digital Leadership Academy. And we're very happy to share this information with you today.

So what we do when it comes to DLAC is our teams are really all over California. And what I mean by that is that we strategically choose geographically diverse agencies throughout the state. We have such a large state. And we want to make sure that we're identifying the needs of each area specifically when it comes to addressing the needs of maybe rural areas or areas in the South and the North that might need additional access to edtech and distance blended learning activities.

So it's-- so we are purposely trying to target the entire state when it comes to professional development. And that's who we want to see online. We want to see them accessing all of our tools, all of our resources, and all of our academies. So that is in the scoring process of the application which I'll go into in just a bit.

We are very-- we pride ourselves in creating digital leaders. We've had successful leaders graduate or complete the Digital Leadership Academy and then go on to positions such as teachers going into administration positions, administrators going into more County level directorship, and others that leave maybe education to become more of technology gurus and leaders as well.

It's focused on leadership training because we know that we need this training for probably the entire agency, but we have about two to four people that we know can actually lead the effort at the agency. So since we cannot have everybody apply for DLAC at your agency, we want you to at least have a small group of folks that get that leadership training and bring it back to your agency to make things happen and to execute the project that you are interested in developing.

With that, we have a system to help identify one's strengths within a team. And so that helps our digital leaders be able to go back to their agency and lead the efforts. Along with team building and other trainings that we offer through this Academy, that will help the team succeed. During that process, we're building technology skills along with helping to plan and implement a project around blended learning technology rich programs.

It is a competitive application. Many, many show interest. It is a time commitment as well.

And as you know, OTAN serves-- we owe a title to agencies and has recently been accepting non-WIOA agencies as applicants as well. We took our-- we could only accept up to 20 participants. And that will give us about five to seven agencies. But we recently increased that to 30 participants, which allows us to have a little bit over 10 agencies which we're very happy to announce.

This also allows us to get outside of that WIOA title II agencies. But we do-- we do ask that your teams or at least two people, at least two no more than four. Because, again, remember that geographically diverse piece that I was talking about. We want to allow for other agencies to access DLAC as well.

Administrators. If I have administrators on the lot-- for this OTAN Tech Talk, the administrators are encouraged to be on the team, admins are involved in the application and the project even if they're not on the team. So we always encourage an administrator to be on that team because we could see that the plan definitely gets a lot more attention and is successful.

But at the very least, if we have the administrator nominate-- the administrator is involved in this professional development and is complete, it's in the loop for the entire two years. And we might ask them to participate on several different occasions. It is a two-year commitment. And this is a big question that everybody asks, what about costs.

Well, OTAN invests in DLAC as much as we ask the agency to invest in DLAC. So what that means is OTAN will pay for items such as travel, lodging, equipment, and it really varies. I mean, we've been online for a little while now. So for the most part, we know that you have headsets and webcams and such, but those are some of the pieces that we allow for as far as costs are concerned to help you join our online meetings.

And then we also food, lodging, travel like I said. Now, it takes a different commitment and costs and investment on the agency level. Remember, this is a two-year academy that involves a plan. And in order for that plan to be successful, there is a time investment at the agency and there is a cost investment at the agency, that can vary.

It may be that you need to carve out some time per week for those educators that are involved in DLAC to be able to spend time on making sure that this professional development opportunity is allowing them to execute their plans so that you might be spending time on paying your teachers. You might be spending time on additional equipment depending on what that project is. But that is up to the team to discuss with their administrator. That's the key. Is whoever it is that's applying needs to discuss this with their administrators to be able to understand what the needs are, how much it's going to cost the agency because there is an equal amount if not more of an investment on the agency side.

So I talked about that project. It's basically we are asking you to not only have that idea in place but really look at your data, look at a gap, look at a need within your learners. We need a project outline, a strong one. So not only are you deciding on the team and who is able to be a part of that team but you're also looking at what is it that we want to focus on.

A plan and project as a team with the administrators or the administrator does need to be a part of that discussion. And then I ask that we have the colleagues and your mentees or mentors to look at specific needs around education technology, learning management systems, blended learning, HyFlex learning. All the buzzwords that are in education right now when it comes to adult learning.

We are transitioning from a pandemic and we're moving forward to hopefully some additional online learning opportunities for our adult students. So what does that look like? What do your students need?

You might be looking at data through your data integrity report, through tops enterprise and courses. You might be looking at your federal tables and looking at the needs of your through NRS and looking at the educational functioning levels. Are there systems in place? Some people might be looking at attendance practices, registration practices. Others might be looking at learning gains through testing. How to reach additional students online.

So it is not limited. It doesn't-- we don't not control the project. It's really up to the agency to really spend time with their team to identify those needs.

Here's a little bit about the expectations and the time commitment for those deliverables. So you look here on the chart on the left, there's a year one timeline so you can see that we ask those to come to Sacramento County Office of Education that's where OTAN lives. And they will come in for training. So the applications are now open. The applications will close in August and our first, and our cohort will start sometime in September as far as the introductions.

You'll know that you've been accepted in September. And then we ask you to come out to those training days in October. So those training days are locked in.

Then we have commitments that we asked to for you to be online with us once a month. So it's very important for us to meet on a monthly basis. So we'll have a November meeting-- a two-hour November meeting, a two-hour December meeting.

And then we ask you to come back for an in-person training in January, more online meetings in February. In March, we hold a distance technology and distance learning symposium. And so everybody on DLAC is invited to present along with-- not only present but along with participate in TDLS as well.

We ask you to join more online meetings. And then we May training dates for May-- sorry-- May training dates for the first year. Those may training dates are around the mid-project. So you've been with us for about a year, and now it's time for us for us to know where you are within your project.

Sometimes when you apply for DLAC you have a specific plan in mind. But by May, that has changed. And you might have morphed it into something different and/or maybe enhanced it into something different. And that's OK. But we do ask that you report to us mid-project and let us know how things are going along with your cohort.

We have a variety of different online project meetings that happen between June and July. And that really all depends on your coaches and I'll go into the coaching piece in just a minute. You will have coaches assigned to you.

We have a partnership with World Education and the ideal consortium where we deliver a distance learning one on one facilitated course. The world editor provides us with the facilitator. And that, of course, is really designed about orienting, recruiting students in an online environment and what that looks like.

There are so many different benefits from that course that really help even if your project isn't aligned to necessarily online learning for your students. There's so much more to it than just that. Regular online meetings with coaches. I talked a little bit about that technology and distance learning symposium, and there might be some site visits.

You can see year 2 is similar. We don't bring you to Sacramento as much. So in year one we ask you to come to Sacramento three times. In year 2, you are going to be coming in twice in October and in May. But you will be required to attend online or to our monthly meetings as you can see here in orange. Along with again, the technology and distance learning symposium presenting at the technology and distance learning symposium, regular online meetings with coaches. Another course through world education and the ideal consortium called the resource evaluation.

So we know that through-- for year 1, you are working really hard on implementing those projects, but you probably gathered and gained a bunch of different resources. And so the DL 102 courses designed to help you evaluate those resources. Help you at your agency evaluate what those resources are going to look like. Participation, the technology and distance learning symposium, and then maybe additional site visits if necessary.

Everything is managed through our learning management system. As you all know, we were managing a lot of our materials and courses through Moodle, and we've made the transition to Canvas. So our new cohort will be on Canvas. And, of course, we model what we ask folks to do at their agencies. So all that coursework will be on a learning management system. And in this case for DLAC it will be on campus for the next cohort.

It's an idea to just really make sure that we have a centralized space for everybody to be able to access the resources, we can communicate with you through Canvas. We have opportunities for discussions because at this point you are amongst that big cohort, so there's an opportunity to discuss. And then it gives us-- allows us a space to calendar, specific training days, and manage a lot of that projects space as well.

I mentioned coaching. Every agency gets a coach. And why is this important?

We know at OTAN that we can provide you with all the resources. But at some point, we need additional guidance at an agency or specific team members need additional guidance. So it's important for OTAN to have that leader for you, that mentor for you, that coach for you.

And this coach, we have our own internal framework on what our expectations of our coach is. And really they're just there to be your cheerleader, to be there to connect you to connect the dots for you, or connect you to items that OTAN has that might be able to support your project and outside of OTAN. Probably utilizing other state leadership projects like CALPRO or COSAS in some of their opportunities that they have. Really the coach is designed to be that link for you. To help you throughout the process for the two years.

All of our coaches are experienced adult educators, administrators. Folks that have been in the field that names that you know and love, and will I'll share with you in just a minute who those are. It's allowing you to have continuous ongoing support.

And you have us at OTAN. Project coordinators myself, who leads the digital leadership academy along with all of our staff. The folks that and love like Melinda Holt, Marjorie Olavides and so many more. And then we have outside expertise come in like our course facilitators through World Education and the IDEAL Consortium.

Here are some names that you might know. Each agency will have their own coach. And these are our five coaches for our next cohort. We've Susan Gaer, Susan Coulter, Francisca Wentworth, Blair Roy, and Cindy Wislofsky. All very valuable to the OTAN subject matter expert pool who give us a variety of different experience.

And we just love the areas that they represent from ESL, ABE, ASC, administration, educators in the classroom, and so much more. Community college experience, some OTAN experience and so much more. So we're very, very lucky to have them on board.

Of course beyond the resources that OTAN gives you, we hire leadership experts that help you take that role on, that leadership role on so that you can go back to your agency knowing how you can lead with this project. And we hire Dr. Paul Porter as our expert consultant. He is there to help us with a lot of that time management pieces that we might need additional assistance with.

You might receive some pushback from some of your colleagues or you might encounter some issues. So we have sessions on conflict management. And how to be yourself-- a mentor and a coach. All these are sessions that Dr. Porter provides us with.

Dr. Porter is a retired superintendent along with a retired, I believe, retired now Professor at UC Davis extension. He has a variety of different experience from K-12 to the community college to the University level. We're very lucky to have him as our consultant. And he's been a longtime consultant for OTAN and has been doing a lot of our leadership training as well.

In addition to conflict management, time management, and those pieces that I mentioned earlier, we also offer a Gallup's CliftonStrengths assessment. So OTAN purchases those assessments. And then Dr. Porter is our trainer for Gallup's Strengths. What Gallup believes is if an individual identifies what their top five strengths are, they can utilize them and understand how their team works.

So if we can invest-- so OTAN will invest in purchasing that assessment for the team and then they work together to identify what their strengths are so that they can go back to their agency and work with their larger teams at their agency knowing what their top five strengths are. It's a very interesting training. And it really allows you to-- when you start looking at Oh, that really is me, that's a real good reflection of who I am and how I like to do things and how I think things. And it just helps you understand how you can use those strengths to work with your colleagues even in your personal life believe it or not.

So at this time, I'm going to go into the individual projects that we've had over the last several years with our previous DLAC cohorts. DLAC 1 was a group of seven agencies. We had about 21 members. It was a mix of northern and Southern agencies. We had groups of 2 plus members from a variety of different program areas. And I'll go into that in just a minute. And also, we had a good representation of not only K-12 districts but we also had a good representation of community colleges and nonprofit faith-based programs such as Catholic Charities.

Their projects-- Their projects vary. Many of-- we had some ESL teachers that were very interested in utilizing some of those Chrome carts that we had in our classrooms at some point.

And so San Mateo is really all about taking those carts to the community and utilizing them with their ESL students and providing enriched ESL programs at different community classrooms throughout their area.

A very unique Baldwin Park team decided that their project was about or was around training and motivating individuals on technology and just providing that technology boot camp peace. And they extended that beyond their agency. They actually became their area-- their consortium leaders when it came to technology.

So many of those teachers that were in the cohort then became the consortium EdTech consultants. And so that was a very great way to extend your learning. They almost think of it as-- they had their DLAC with us, but they also took it and made it into a DLAC light at their consortia level-- that's exactly what we want to see happen. Beyond being a part of DLAC with OTAN we hope that you can take it at your agency and then make it your own DLAC of course.

There were CTE programs that were focused around building a nursing program on Moodle. There were GED programs that were really all about getting folks trained and ready to take those tests from Oakland and San Diego Community College District managing their learning management system at that time.

For DLAC 2, similar seven agencies. We had about 21 members as well. Many different student needs. But the unique part about these guys was that they wrapped up their Academy in 2020. Yes, right at the heart of where everything happened as far as the pandemic is concerned and COVID-19. So they were our trailblazers when it came to distance and blended learning.

So second year into the program they were able to get their agency, their consortiums, their areas ready to get their students online. And it also included a bigger community colleges like La City College. They were also in this cohort.

And I'll tell you a little bit about their projects. Corona-Norco was focused on an Abe bridge class that was able to enhance the learning and math and English, and they were able to adapt Canvas as their learning management system through their district. El Monte was all about digitizing their HSC materials. So stepping away from some of the resources that were in hand, all their packets, but rather using them on a learning management system that they chose to be Moodle at that time.

Escondido was all about Google in the classroom and how to utilize and bridge some of those resources with Canvas as well as Google Classroom for ESL. Unique program was hacienda La Puente where they came in with three different projects. So they had a representative from ESL, they had a representative from ASE and they had a representative from CTE, the parenting course. And they wanted to not only have their three different projects for their program areas but also one project to help train teachers together. So in, essence it was almost like four different projects.

And that doesn't necessarily need to be the case for everybody else interested in DLAC as well. So just to let you know that that's not our expectation. But that's what Hacienda La Puente came forward to want to do.

LA CCD, LA City College, they digitize their real Civics COAAPs. Mount Diablo created a great system as far as accessing all classes, ESL classes using Google Sites. And San Juan was really focused around training teachers on technology, especially in their ESL department.

Right now we have DLAC 3 who is all online. They are our cohort that we had to primarily just meet online. We haven't met them in person, but we will. And actually next week. So this is a bigger cohort. 12 agencies were involved. This is when we made that increase. So now we're accepting 30 participants.

They're also a unique group because now they've applied and they know the needs after the pandemic and what they wanted to do as far as expanding some resources to students that they know that may not be in person. Many of them were interested in accessibility efforts. So when we talk about accessibility, it really is a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA and Section 508. in the law, and they had-- it includes County offices of Ed, K-12 districts community colleges.

Their projects, which are wrapping up in May of '22 they built a pharmacy tech bridge course in Canvas. Like I said, Accessibility Teacher Training, San Diego Community College included their adults with disabilities department. So we have a team that not only of ESL teachers but they also included a teacher from their adults with disabilities department.

Canvas teacher learning onboarding. Many of our agencies have adapted Canvas as our learning management system and they needed to train their teachers and provide resources for them. So some of their projects were geared around that technology bootcamps. Online EL Civics modules and extending those modules to be able to reach or train teachers to reach more students online.

HyFlex instruction was a buzz. Word that we know and we've heard throughout this several months or even years. So HyFlex ESL Instruction and Registration was a focus for one of our agencies, ESL Online Learner Support and Digital Literacy.

We're happy to announce that DLAC for applications are now open. So you can apply for DLAC 2022-2024. And so by doing that you are going to identify with your administrator.

If you're interested, I would suggest go to your administrator and say, hey, I would really love to be a part of this cohort. And then maybe start the discussion around what that would look like, who should be-- who else should be a part of that cohort. Maybe you already have a teacher friend that you want to be involved in this project. You can take that proposal to your administrator and we can work with you on strategies of what that would look like, how you can approach your administrator with some of those questions or comments, or if you have concerns that maybe this is something that you're not ready for. Maybe there are some limits where we can help you think about strategies and ideas of what that could look like.

So if you're interested I know that this is a long term project, but it is helpful. Again, for sustained long term projects. This is a way to look at it to make sure that it's sustainable for the future.

We love bragging about our alums, so you could see on this. And this is just three out of the very, very many that have been through our program. Dr. Thoibe Rublaitus who nominated her team from Corona-Norco this last cohort DLAC 2. She is now Dr. Rublaitus. And she was also in TIMAC, which is a previous professional development opportunity that OTAN has provided.

Farzana Cassim, who's also been a part of many other teams as well. And has also been a coach and a subject matter expert for us. And is also an ESL classroom who used to be an ESL learner and became an ESL teacher, which I admire very much.

And then Dr. Yesenia Delgado who also completed her doctorate. During the program, during the Digital Leadership Academy and is now not only used to be an instructor at Hacienda de La Fuente but is now a counselor in her department and is moving on up.

Thank you so much for listening to me present on the Digital Leadership Academy. I hope you consider applying. If you have any questions, you can reach me at nanasseri@otan.us and I'll be happy to answer any of your questions. Melinda.

Melinda Holt: All right. Neda, wow lots of good info on DLAC. And it of makes me want to apply.

I'd like to encourage viewers at this time to subscribe to OTAN's YouTube channel where instructional tech videos related to adult education can be found, including OTAN Tech Talks. All of this information and more is available on the OTAN website at www.otan.us. Thank you all for watching this OTAN Tech Talk.