Summary - Exploring Three Online Tool Resources for Adult Educators: OTAN, MARTI, and the LINCS Technology Resource Collection - Discussion Lists - Technology

Exploring Three Online Tool Resources for Adult Educators: OTAN, MARTI, and the LINCS Technology Resource Collection
February 28 - March 4, 2011
Discussion Summary

Discussion Announcement Page

Subscribe to the Technology and Distance Learning Discussion List


We are lucky in California to have a leadership project devoted to technology and distance learning, We also provide information to teachers and administrators about developments in adult education. You do have to log in to see most of the information (although that will be changing in the future), but it only takes a few minutes to register, and you have the option to receive email digests from us along with the OTAN newsletter.

I will just highlight a few of the many areas of the site. Under Ed Technology & Media, go to the video gallery. We have been producing short videos about technology in the classroom for about 10 years. This is a good place for teachers to actually see what it looks like using interactive whiteboards or audience response systems (clickers) in the classroom. Here are a [] couple of videos about putting a mobile lab into a van.

Teaching Tools & Resources is the area with lots of different resources and ideas for teachers. One place to start is with Web-Based Class Activities. Here we post a new article each month about an interactive Web site that provides the basis for classroom activities. The February topic was Wallwisher, a site for creating a [] class wall or bulletin board. It will be changing soon to an article with a collection of wonderful sites about women's history, since March is Women's History Month.

If you look under Teaching Tools & Resources/By Program Type, you will find lesson plans, activities and links appropriate for your program area - ESL, ABE, etc. In California we also have other program areas such as parent education and career technical education. The latest additions here are [] lesson plans for EL Civics topics, under California-approved lesson plans.

Also under Teaching Tools & Resources/By Program Type, there are Sites to Use with Students. These are a large and growing [] collection of Web sites for classroom or independent use, reviewed and catalogued by OTAN.

What looks interesting to you? What might you share with colleagues? Do you have suggestions for improvement? I look forward to hearing from you.

~Marian Thacher, OTAN

If you use RSS feeds, our news items have that functionality - so you are welcome to subscribe.

Another feature is our monthly [] teacher digest. This is where you'll find a compilation of the latest news, upcoming PD opportunities and the latest additions to our Teaching Tools and Resources section. After you register with OTAN Web site, you have the option to have our e-mail messages sent to you and this is how you get notifications when the latest Digest is available. You can also go to the bottom of the home page on OTAN's Web site, click on Digests, and find the current issue. There is also a link to the archived Teacher Digests.

~Branka Marceta, OTAN

We have a wonderful teacher, Kristi Reyes, who stays current with new web tools and interactive sites. We stick with the free ones, although as you can imagine sometimes they start charging after they get established. But once you learn to use one photo-sharing site, for example, the skills are transferrable to another one.

I like Kristi's article about [] getting organized, which we posted for the new year, because that is really a 21st century skill - we have so much more information to organize than we ever did before. We as teachers need to be organized, and we need to be modeling how we organize information for our students, directing them to tools like [] Google calendar, [] Delicious for bookmarking Web sites, and [] Evernote for keeping track of tasks. Kristi goes on to share teacher utilities like online grade books and easily created rubrics for evaluating assignments.

Anyone have a favorite "getting organized" tool to share?

You asked how people hear about the latest article bring posted. We announce them on our home page, and we send out an email Teacher's Digest every month with info about professional development opportunities and other news. But now that you mention it, maybe we should post a quick message to this list as well.

~Marian Thacher, OTAN

One OTAN tool that teachers have found useful is the [] Lesson Plan Builder. Anyone is free to create an account on this site and save lesson plans here. You can go through the WIPPEA model - Warm up/Review, Introduction, Presentation, Practice, Evaluation and Application. Or, you can start with the evaluation and work backwards from there.

Some programs have created one account that all teachers use, and they share a set of lesson plans developed by several teachers. There are almost 15,000 registered users on this site.

You can upload handouts to keep with your plan, and you can download your finished lesson plan as a PDF document, in case you want to print it, save it elsewhere, or share it with your sub.

The [] EL Civics lesson plans mentioned earlier all came from the Lesson Plan Builder.

This may not be a site you would use every day, but it's nice to have a lesson plan online available for a sub in an emergency, or a nicely formatted lesson plan for a day when you are being observed. Teacher prep programs have also found it useful.

Is this a tool you can see yourself using?

~Marian Thacher, OTAN


The Maine Adult Regional Technology Initiative has been in existence for a couple of years with the goal of promoting the use of digital technology in adult education programs. A number of trained mentors have worked collaboratively with local programs to encourage integration of digital tools and teaching methods in their classrooms. Our working page is where you can find some examples of the locally customized professional development that has taken place.

Recently Maine's Office of Community and Adult Education is leading an effort that will harness broadband technology to benefit adult students statewide. Through Maine's ConnectME Authority, the office recently received nearly $750,000 in funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to be paired with $254,682 in state adult education funds, over four years. The grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will expand the Maine Adult Regional Technology Initiative -- MARTI by providing intensive, ongoing training and mentoring in educational uses of technology to 112 adult educators across the state.

Ten trainer-mentors will review existing state curricula and develop blended models of face-to-face and online adult education instruction. Teachers will use techniques such as creating and sharing documents through, exploring research studies with WebQuest, and using other online tools. Funds also will be available to MARTI classrooms to improve access to broadband and technology tools. The new grant supports Maine's existing effort to expand statewide broadband access by building out from local adult education programs that agree to become community centers for local access to broadband training and online connections offered in every corner of the state.

Recently mentors have joined to create an online course using Moodle that we are anxious to kick off.

~Jim Burke, MARTI Mentor

One of my especially pleasing tasks has been working with an adult ed teacher in a project we call Every Day Words. Link: We use Google Sites and Google Docs with students and staff doing their work and presentations through a classroom site. Learning is both face-to-face and via distance.

We found it to be inexpensive, engaging, and user-friendly.

~Jim Burke, MARTI Mentor

From the Beginning

The Maine Adult and Community Education Program launched the Maine Adult Regional Technology Initiative (MARTI) in 2007 to provide adult educators professional development on the effective integration of technology in teaching and learning with the goal of improving student engagement and achievement.

MARTI closely mirrors the professional development central to the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI Governor Angus King launched the MLTI program to provide laptop computers to all 7th and 8th grade students in Maine. MLTI also provided schools wireless networks and the technical assistance to use these new tools. MLTI was later expanded by Governor John Baldacci to include the state's high school students if the districts chose to join. The MLTI program, internationally recognized for its vision and scope of services, encourages students to take the laptops home where parents can use the computers to access information through a portal designed just for them! MLTI transforms teaching and learning using project-based, inquiry-based constructivist, methods and strategies powered by technology.

The Department of Education adopted the eMINTS http://emints/ program, developed by the University of Missouri as part of the PD support for MLTI. This effort was funded through the USDOE Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title IID - Enhancing Education Through Technology. The eMINTS program utilizes on-going regional training provided by trainer/mentors who also work with teachers in their classrooms. eMINTS is one of the only research-based programs that links improvements in student achievement to technology-rich classrooms and intensive professional development.

The MLTI/eMINTS trainer/mentors are a cadre of highly skilled and experienced teachers from across the state and across grade levels and content areas. They went through extensive professional development training and most have been in their positions since the inception of the project.

MARTI was created to provide Maine adult educators the opportunity to experience key aspects of the MLTI/eMINTS PD. Training was provided by four MLTI trainer/mentors after regular K-12 classes had ended for the day. Three new trainer/mentors joined the team for the 2009-2010 school year. The MARTI training began in four widely scattered adult education programs serving ten teachers. The program met with much success. By September 2009 MARTI had expanded to 13 programs involving 27 teachers.

Teachers in the MARTI program report that they implement teaching practices that take advantage of current technologies to improve learner persistence and motivation. They are introduced to tools and practice that increase teacher efficacy. New skills increase the capacity of adult ed teachers to reach more learners with a wider range of learning options.

The MARTI training paves the way for extending the learning experience beyond their immediate location. The PLCs increase the sustainability of growth begun in professional development efforts.

The MARTI mentorship model has provided consistent and sustained support over time that ensures each participant is continuing to learn, grow, implement and assess the practices in the learning experiences created.

The training extends to administrators as well. One real world has been a more efficient means of sharing critical learner information with instructors using web-based documents. This has reduced intake and processing times for getting learners into experiences that will be appropriate for his or her needs. In some programs, this has resulted in intake and student information processes that previously took days to complete are now complete in only minutes!

The MARTI Model

The MARTI training focuses on working with cohorts of teachers in each program or region through the creation of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) that often cross school district boundaries. Six to 8 teachers and their directors team with a trainer/mentor to build a PLC. Successes or less positive results are shared with peers and the practices adopted are sustained through social networks after the training ends. Additionally, each MARTI teacher participant receives one-on-one training support during regular class time to aid in content-based skill development and technology integration.

The Department has provided MLTI professional development resources in every middle school in the state since the program was launched with a direct presence in the Adult Ed community for the past two years through MARTI. The technical assistance provided in these DOE programs, have helped to create educational experiences that take advantage of the technology to provide quality learning experiences to more of our adult learners every year.

NOW - MARTI for More!

The Maine ConnectME Authority (, in collaboration with the Maine Adult Education, submitted a grant proposal to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP for statewide technical assistance training. ConnectME was awarded a nearly $1 million dollar grant for adult ed programs to provide Maine citizens technical assistance and training to use the new broadband capacity being deployed also funded by ARRA grants.

The four-year grant will also fund expanding the MARTI program to teachers in adult education programs across the state. Adult educators, already closely connected to Maine communities and organizations that serve them, will in turn provide on-going training to staff community members based on individual student needs and learning styles, key tenants of adult education. The goal is that at least 250 teachers will participate over the four years of the grant. Each will receive a $500 stipend for successfully completing the training. Adult Ed programs will receive $2000 grant to support administration of the program and providing community-based broadband technical assistance training on request.

The new MARTI program covers two semesters and is comprised of two on-line courses. The MARTI trainer/mentors just created an eight-week course on integrating technology in teaching and learning. An existing ten-week course on Differentiated Instruction and Universal Design for Learning will be adapted for adult educators. Training will also include regional meetings at the beginning of each course so participants can meet in person. The trainer/mentors will also be working with each teacher in the classroom with students once or twice a semester.

The training will cover:

  • transmitting learning materials over broadband to learner's mobile devices,
  • email and social networks that can help establish PLC for learners as well as teachers,
  • real time chats with many participants,
  • voice collaboration and conferencing services,
  • video collaboration,
  • the ability to easily have remote learners share computer screens with teachers to receive individual guidance.

The same intensive training will be offered to Literacy Volunteer tutors and staff in the fourteen programs providing that important service throughout Maine. The PLC training aims to create a core of experienced teachers that can spread positive learning experiences and sustain training efforts in each program beyond the training provided by the grant.

Training provided in MARTI will increase each adult education program's capacity for integrating technology in teaching and learning as broadband capacity expands. Teachers, learners and administrators will be introduced to synchronous and asynchronous methods of communication shared with all those that have access to broadband networks.

Ten trainer/mentors are in place awaiting students. Five new MARTI trainer/mentors will be recruited and trained in the first year of the project to support the effort. $186,400.00 is also set aside for grants to improve infrastructure in programs found to be in greatest need.

Some key benefits of the MARTI grant will be the creation of resources that ALL adult education programs in the state and beyond can utilize in their learning experiences and creating distance learning opportunities so that programs can share courses and resources to expand offerings to learners. The addition of distance learning options will vastly increase the number of offerings smaller programs can provide their learners. Teaching over distance is different and the MARTI project will include distance learning training as well.

The MARTI Project combines a proven model of professional development with the statewide coverage of Maine's adult education programs to provide citizens technical support on ways to utilize our expanding broadband capacity for education, economic development and personal enrichment. The state's one hundred and six adult education programs will be offered the opportunity to become the local Community Connection to broadband knowledge. Using resources developed by ConnectME, adult educators will provide community presentations, workshops and coursework making 21st Century skills available to all.

Adult educators and administrators will also be provided specific information about how broadband capacity can help individuals and organizations meet learning goals, share data or expand markets. The project goal is to train at least 250 teachers and reach thousands of citizens over the four-year life of the project.

The adult education programs will be promoted Community Connections through the professional development portal and the website of the Maine Adult Education Association Links will be provided from participating programs to the ConnectME Authority. The project will be promoted through adult education course catalogs and other publications as well.

Jim Burke, one of the MARTI Trainer/Mentors is also participating in the discussion and can provide his perspective.

~Bob McIntire, Adult Education Team, Maine Department of Education

Maine's Moodle site is here: David Patterson heads this up at Maine DOE and is very knowledgeable in the area of distance learning. I am fascinated with the possibilities, but at this point, have to call myself a beginner. I wish I were able to give you access to what we are developing, but I'm afraid it requires an id/password.

It is, however, a 8 week online course for Maine adult education teachers and includes the following:

  • Week 1 Introductory Week
  • Week 2 Tech Integration Overview using Grappling's
  • Week 3 Blogs as Tools for Literacy
  • Week 4 Finding and Using Online Resources
  • Week5 Communicating in Google Docs
  • Week 6 Classroom Connections
  • Week 7 Podcasting in the Classroom
  • Week 8 Pulling It All Together

Again, David Patterson can give you more specifics.

BTW, there is what I think is a good model for using Google tools and Elluminate in an asynchronous/synchronous course at iFacilitate

The simplicity and availability of Google Apps without having to be locked in a silo site appeals to me, which I guess is obvious. ;) The iFacilitate course is starting this week. I've looked it over and am very impressed . . . plan on being part of it.

Your idea of having a repository of online courses certainly makes sense to me. I'm also deeply involved now in using the Ck-1 FlexBooks to create customized free textbooks available. Here's the one on earth science that I'm working on now:

~Jim Burke, MARTI Mentor

The dollars available for the adult education training component was from a much bigger project of moving broadband infrastructure into the hinterlands of the State. Bob Mcintire of Maine DOE can, I'm sure, give you more specifics on the grant writing process he used.

~Jim Burke, MARTI Mentor

You can learn more about the funding source at

~Bob McIntire, Adult Education Team, Maine Department of Education

The notation "Week 2 Tech Integration Overview using Grappling's Week 3 Blogs as Tools for Literacy" caught my eye since I wasn't sure what the "Grappling's" in week 2 referred to.

~Barry Bakin,

Pacoima Skills Center,

Division of Adult and Career Education,

Los Angeles Unified School District

My apologies of not making "Grapplings" clear. I had to include an address, but then forgot before sending. :) **Grappling's Technology and Learning Spectrum** is simply a way of looking at technology integration . . . giving three levels of implementation. Where the heck the "Grapplings" came from and what it refers to, I don't have a clue, but I'm pretty sure it is a creation of Bernajean Porter. I've emailed Bernajean a number of times. She is very personable and is always willing to share her work.

The national eMINTS program uses Grapplings in their work with K12 educators. And again . . . it is a simple/straightforward way of thinking about the use of technology in the classroom.

Now there are other tools that are a bit more sophisticated. For example, Check these out if you might not have seen them before:

These are used by statewide Maine technology mentors in reviewing and visioning the possibilities of technology integration.

~Jim Burke, MARTI Mentor

LINCS Technology Resource Collection

Thank you for this opportunity to share a little information about the LINCS Resource Collections.

LINCS is the Literacy Information and Communication System, a national dissemination and professional development system, providing information on literacy research, practice, and resources. One of the three components of LINCS is the Resource Collections; three subject oriented collections containing at total of eleven topic areas. All of the resources undergo a review process by Collection staff as well as outside experts. You may read more about the process at

The collections can be accessed by going to and selecting the subject area that contains the topic area you are interested in. We, along with Blaire Willson Toso, work on the Technology and Distance Learning topic area of the Workforce Competitiveness Resource Collection Nell Eckersley moderates this list, Technology and Distance Learning, and we work closely with her especially in the area of training and workshops.

Accessing one of the topic pages will provide a list of resources that have been approved through the review process, along with a brief abstract. Clicking on the title leads to a profile page that includes additional information including a link to the resource itself as well as comments from the reviewers.

In addition to providing resources, the Collections work closely with the other two LINCS components, the Discussion Lists and the Regional Resource Centers. The Collection and Discussion list staff work together to identify resources to be reviewed and to communicate newly approved resources to the appropriate lists in individual posts as well as the Collections News Letter. Collection staff has developed workshops and trainings that are then offered to states through the Regional Resource Centers.

Emerging Technologies in Adult Literacy and Language Education is an example of a resource, which has been used in an extended professional development activity, supported by the Collection.

If you have a moment, please take a look at the Collections, especially the Technology topic and let us know what questions you might have, and what types of resources we might focus on to provide you information that will help you in your work.

~Maria Marvin and Tim Ponder, LINCS