One of PA Virtual’s core principles is that “technology can be leveraged to be a powerful tool to support an effective education.” With that principle in mind, PA Virtual provides each student a laptop and printer to support the learning process. The laptop and printer are considered instructional property and must be returned when the student leaves PA Virtual. In the information below you will find general information related to the PA Virtual equipment and software and discover how this technology works for you.
Each laptop comes equipped with the programs necessary to complete school work preinstalled (List of Pre-installed Software). We recognize the need to install additional software based on a student’s grade level, course load, and special education requirements. This software, although not preinstalled, can be installed by the families with a call to the Technology Helpline (1.877.883.3653). The technicians will be able to help you install any Approved Software based on the child’s special needs. NOTE: all ISP software and/or drivers are considered “approved”. If you need to install software to connect to the Internet, you should call the Technology Helpline (877.883.3653).
Blackboard Academic Suite
Blackboard is the learning management system that functions as our virtual schoolhouse. Logging into Blackboard is equivalent to walking through your school’s doors and entering your teacher’s homeroom. Blackboard enables PA Virtual to engage students in exciting new ways by keeping them informed and involved. Through this innovative technology, we work as a community to build a better educational experience. Blackboard is used as a “one-stop shop” where every member of the PA Virtual educational community can attend classes, receive School news, access educational resources, and coordinate events.
PA Virtual uses Blackboard for:
- School-wide announcements
- Logging attendance
- Viewing course schedules
- Accessing assignments and receiving feedback for classes
- Outing calendars
- Health Screening Calendars
- Service learning projects
- Blackboard Collaborate and recorded sessions
- Transcript and record requests
- Accessing Family Support Programs
- Contact information for teachers and School staff
- Video and photo galleries
- General School news and calendars
- Student assessment information and schedules
- Updating personal contact information
- And much more!
Blackboard Collaborate is the virtual classroom that has transformed the teaching and learning experience at PA Virtual. Blackboard Collaborate enables world-class communication, collaboration, and education in the virtual setting. This program is an intuitive, instructor-led environment that delivers real-time, interactive education and encourages real learning and collaboration. All direct instruction by PA Virtual teachers takes place in Blackboard Collaborate. This program provides web, audio, video, and social networking solutions.
In addition to the classroom experience, Blackboard Collaborate allows the PA Virtual Community to come together for school-wide assemblies, virtual outings, and other social opportunities.
Online School (OLS)
The Online School is the learning system from which all lessons for students in grades K-8 are housed. The OLS is used to provide students access to daily and weekly lesson plans. Parents, students and teachers access the daily plan through the OLS and also record their daily instructional hours. Detailed lesson plans are provided for each subject to guide students through the learning process. This asynchronous approach allows students to move through the curriculum at a pace that is conducive to their learning needs. The OLS charts the progress through the K12 Inc. curriculum and allows for the teacher to set the course for the student so as to provide the optimum learning environment. The adaptive capability of the OLS helps create the personal learning approach for each student.
Lynda.com, an educational online training service, has been integrated into PA Virtual’s online content management system to make it easily accessible to all of our students and employees. Engaging and current, Lynda.com videos cover thousands of software, creativity and business skills. Through Lynda.com, PA Virtual Charter School will be providing access to nearly 6,000 professionally-produced training courses and more than 135,000 individual informational videos to its staff and students. To see a demonstration video, click on the following link: promotional video.
PA Virtual Secure E-mail
To create a solid avenue for communication, each student and Learning Coach are provided with a secure school e-mail account that functions as the information highway for the School. All Blackboard accounts will be associated with the PA Virtual–issued e-mail address, so any e-mail message sent through Blackboard will go to the School-provided e-mail address. Important information concerning the school is disseminated through the e-mail and parents, teachers and students utilize it as the communication method of choice.