Oregon schools adopt Google Apps to save cash, expand ed-tech offerings

Oregon parents will have to sign a new consent form before their children use Google Apps.
Oregon parents will have to sign a new consent form before their children use Google Apps.

Oregon’s 540,000 public school students will be able to get teacher feedback on classroom projects in real time and create web sites and online videos, after the state school system announced April 28 that it will be the first to use Google Apps for Education in K-12 schools statewide.

Moving to the free Google Apps for Education – a host of school-friendly features the internet giant has pushed in recent months – will save the state $1.5 million in IT costs because the service is hosted entirely on the web, with no hardware, software, or technology upkeep involved, Oregon Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo said.

Oregon’s districts will have use of Google’s services for up to five years in this landmark education technology deal. The Oregon Department of Education will review an “additional multiyear extension” during the fourth year of the agreement, according to the agreement details. Participating school districts will have to distribute new parental consent forms for any student who wants to use the Google applications.…Read More

Life-saving mandate? Every Oregon school would have an automatic defibrillator

It’s likely that every Oregon school will be required to have an automatic heart defibrillator available by 2015, reports the Oregonian. The House Education Committee voted 7-3 in favor of the requirement Feb. 19, and it now heads to the House floor. The full Senate approved Senate Bill 1033 earlier this week. Members of the House panel said they were reluctant to impose an unfunded mandate on schools, and they said they hope local donors will help pay the costs. But they said the potential to save lives moved them to vote yes on the mandate. Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, will make the case for the bill when it comes before the House. She testified with tears in her eyes that, in 2001, her young nephew died suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart problem at school. “This equipment very possibly could have saved his life,” she said. Automatic defibrillators, designed to be easy for lay people to use, shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. They typically cost $1,500 to $2,000. Some lawmakers questioned whether tiny rural schools can afford and truly need one. The bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Jason Atkinson, R-Central Point, noted, “Rural schools often do more than just be a schoolhouse. Often they are the place for community events. … Emergency services are very important. We don’t actually think about them too much. But as a guy who has ridden in an ambulance twice in the last year, I’ll tell you, it’s nice to have around. This is important for rural Oregon.”

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