Google Launches Helpful GApps Tutorials

ORVSD at Klamath Basin

Google recently launched a new series of mini-courses to support teaching and learning with technology. Each course has tutorial videos, supplementary links, periodic quizzes, and a final assessment. Topics include Internet 101, (Google) Apps for Education, Gmail, (Google) Drive, Chrome OS and Chromebooks.

For schools and districts who have adopted Google Apps for Education as well as districts with mobile initiatives or those going BYOD, the GApps Tutorials could be a fabulous supplement to the ongoing professional development necessary to truly integrate technology into teaching learning. The courses are freely available online and participants who log in with a Google account can track their own progress and even receive completion certificates.

Access the GApps Tutorials at

via Virgina Petitt
from Blogger

The Hour of Code – Celebrate Computer Science Week Dec 9 – 13

Girl Typing on Computer

Join classrooms around the country next week by doing an hour of coding with your students. has pulled together resources to make coding simple to introduce to students at all grade levels as well as being easy to understand for teachers who are unfamiliar with coding.

Why coding and why introduce computer science to your students?

The site as some jaw dropping statistics.  By 2020, there will be 1,000,000 more jobs than students in computer science.  9 out 10 schools don’t even offer computer programming classes.  Just to list a few.

Visit the site, look though the tutorials,and try a few out for yourself.  Do you have limited access to computer labs?  Only a few tablets in your room?  The site gives many different options, including non-tech lessons.   For coding and programming apps check out the post on iDevice in the Mountains Blog.

Not only will you be introducing them to computer science, but you will be helping them build problem solving strategies and teaching them perseverance.

from Blogger

Photo credit: US Mission Celebrates Girls in ICT Event with ITU by United States Mission Geneva

Digital Curriculum and Teacher Support


The ORVSD Training Team is happy to be a part of the Oregon School Boards Association Annual Conference this weekend. We’re in beautiful, downtown Portland.

The Oregon Virtual School District is an Oregon Department of Education program. It provides free resources for online teaching and learning that promote the use of technology in Oregon classrooms. We offer Oregon public school educators the opportunity to find and share online resources, learn and use cutting edge online tools, and discuss how to put them to use in the classroom. (We’re not a virtual school district, despite the name. We’re a team of Oregon educators who support Oregon districts in their hybrid or virtual classrooms.)

We offer the following tools and content to all Oregon public school districts:

  • Moodle Learning Management System hosting
  • Florida Virtual Schools digital content
  • National Repository of Online Courses (NROC) content
  • CK-12 Flexbooks
  • WordPress content management hosting
  • Google Apps for Education administration

The tools are just part of the offering. We have a team of experienced, dynamic trainers who provide training and support in every corner of our state.

  • Training

We look forward to supporting your district in the transition to digital curriculum and classrooms. We welcome you to contact us at for your professional development needs.

Newsela Website Helps to Provide Common Core-aligned Materials

student reading on laptop

The Common Core provides a number of challenges to classroom teachers. One challenge is the requirement for the increased use of informational text within lessons. To utilize these texts effectively, teachers must provide materials at appropriate reading levels for each student as well as assess each student’s learning and growth.

A new website named Newsela provides innovative solutions for these challenges by providing engaging news articles that teachers can assign to students at one of four lexile levels and provides matching quizzes to assess comprehension. Although students need accounts to use Newsela,  they do not need email accounts, and may be assigned usernames and passwords through a school district’s Google domain. Teachers create an account at the Newsela website and receive a 5-digit code that their students use to join the class.

Teachers then assign articles to groups of students by standard, topic and lexile level, and monitor student work through a teacher dashboard called a “binder.” Students working online have their progress recorded automatically in both student and teacher binders, but hard copies of texts and quizzes may also be downloaded and printed.

Additionally, Newsela has partnered with the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University Teachers College to identify some best practices for using Newsela in the classroom in large class, small group, and individual groupings. Supplementary lesson plans and ideas have been shared by schools in Newsela pilot projects and other innovative early adopters.

The Newsela website provides a collection of continuously-growing resources for teachers looking for relevant, Common-Core-aligned, engaging non-fiction texts as well as those looking for digital resources for 1:1 or mobile deployment projects. Be sure to take a test drive at

Via Virginia Petit: from Blogger


Google Drive: On Cloud 9

Lisa Schmidt

Two weeks ago, while working on my computer at school, I received the haunting “blue screen of death”.  While this might send many people into a frenzy of stress, while contemplating what might be potentially lost from their machine, I was worried about not having a computer to project the visual elements for my classes onto the screen for the day, week, or until my computer could be fixed or replaced.  The reason that I wasn’t panicking over the imminent demise of my computer is because I have all of my teaching materials stored in my Google Drive.  Google Drive stores your documents in a cloud.  All of the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings that you create or upload into your Google Drive are stored online in the cloud.  Therefore, I wasn’t stressing about losing my documents, because they are safely stored.

Before Google Drive, I had been a victim to lost documents because of computer crashes or thumb drives or external hard drives that failed to be infallible.  We all know that we need to back up our documents that are saved to our computer’s hard drive, but in the rush of our everyday lives, we forget to or don’t back up our work.  With Google Drive, you don’t have to worry about backing up your documents because they are stored in the cloud.

In addition to the safe storing features of Google Drive, the organization of documents is user friendly.  All of the folders that you create are found on the left side and when you click on a folder, its contents populates so you can see what you have placed in it.  You can also change your view of how your drive presents your documents in your Google Drive.  I prefer the list view, but some prefer the grid view so they can see thumbnails of the documents.  You can also sort your documents by title, date of last modification, date of last edit by you, date last opened by you or by quota used.  Also, you can “Star” your documents to easily find your most important or most used items.  If you need to locate a document, but you can’t remember what folder you saved it in or its exact title, you can type in words that you think are in the title or used in the document in the search bar at the top of your drive and it will search all of your documents.

Another bonus feature of Google Drive is the ability to upload or download your documents.  Sometimes I receive items from others as a word document and I just upload them into my Google Drive and have it set to convert to a Google Docs format.  You can even upload folders from your computer into your Google Drive.  If you need to download your documents, you have a variety of options: Microsoft Word; Open Document Format; Rich Text Format; Portable Document Format; and others.  You can download your presentations into PowerPoint and your spreadsheets as Excel Sheets.

While the organization of your documents is pretty straight forward, the fact that all of your documents are saved in the cloud is comforting.  You can also download your Google Drive to your computer’s desktop to work on items when you are not connected to the internet.   For more information about setting up your Google Drive to your desktop, click on this link.

All in all, not only does Google Drive help me organize my documents, but it also lets me feel comfortable about safely storing my documents in the cloud.  I can access all of my documents saved in my drive from any computer connected to the internet.  This allows me to work on the same document from home or school and not have to save it to an external hard drive to get it from one place to another, or email myself the document as an attachment and then have to resave it over and over again from one computer to another.  Finally, it allows me to work on the same document without worrying about having to have compatible computers.  At school we have Dell computers and at home, I have a MacBook.  Never has using two different brands of computers been an issue.

I received a brand new computer at school the other day and it was quick to set it up to my liking because I did not have to load all of my documents off of an external hard drive to my new computer’s hard drive.  All of my documents were found after logging into my Google Drive.  I hope you see the benefits that Google Drive has to offer!  Don’t forget, ORVSD provides trainings on Google Apps and can help you with incorporating Google into your school and classroom.  And, don’t forget- Klamath Basin Ed Tech Day will be held January 24 at Mazama High School in Klamath Falls.  Hope to see you there!