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New OTAN Online Tool for Teachers

Posted on 05/16/2012

Image courtesy of TPACK.

OTAN has long provided resources on our Web site for teachers to use in the classroom. Now we have released a new tool called Teaching with Technology. With this tool, a teacher can search for technology to use with a particular lesson. For example, a high school diploma instructor looking for biology resources might choose High School Diploma as the program area, then choose Biology under Science. Nine resources are found, one of which is the Virtual Frog Dissection site. Choosing that link provides a description of the site, suggested activities, and step-by-step instructions on how to use the site with students.

Each program area has a video of a teacher explaining how he or she used the site to find a teaching resource, and how the resource was used in the classroom. In the video on the High School Diploma page, Leila Rosemberg from Culver City Adult School describes and demonstrates how to use the frog dissection site.

The site also provides a key word search, so if you are looking for a comic strip site to use with ESL students, you might go to the ESL area and type "comics" into the key word search. Barry Bakin, and ESL Instructor in the Los Angeles Unified School District, shows you how to do this in the video on the ESL page. Key word searches also include many instructional strategies related to evidence-based reading and writing instruction, so for example if you want to find a site to use with a "graphic organizer", or a site that helps you identify "prior knowledge" as a pre-reading activity, you would type those phrases into the keyword search in quotes.

The goal of this Web tool is to organize educational technology resources in a way that makes them easy for teachers to find and use. Currently the program areas included are ESL, ABE, GED and High School Diploma. Searches can be based on level, standard or competency, and subject or skill. The ESL and ABE areas can be searched by CASAS competency. GED and High School Diploma are organized by subject area.

The resources were added to this site by teacher technology users who also provide notes on preparing the lesson, tips for teachers, and suggestions for more ways to use the particular resource. A resource is often a Web site, but could also be technology tool such as an electronic whiteboard or digital camera. The research behind this model comes from researchers at the University of Michigan and is referred to as the TPACK model (www) because it is based on the integration of technology, pedagogy and content knowledge.

The Teach with Technology site was unveiled at the CCAE state conference in Fresno and was received enthusiastically by an audience of teachers who were happy to be able to search for technology by level and content area. Use this flier (PDF) to let your colleagues know about the site. We are planning to expand the site further next year, so feedback and suggestions are welcome. Please send comments to Marian Thacher, mthacher@otan.us.

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