Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the fourth largest school district in the US, is to implement a 1:1 device initiative for more than 350,000 students by August 2015.
Developed to improve student’s access to technology and foster the development of employability skills, the initiative will see the district roll out 100,000 HP and Lenovo Windows 8 devices by next August.
Beginning this spring, 13,000 elementary school students will receive new laptops, while 15,000 seventh-grade civics students and ninth-grade world history students will be given Windows 8 devices. In addition, more than 10,000 interactive boards will be added to classrooms across the district.
“Technology, by itself, is not going to close the achievement gap between the rich and the poor, a gap that threatens so many of our minority students,” said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of M-DCPS. “When technology is used correctly, we have seen powerful results in our very own technology-rich iPrep Academies, for example, with better test scores and increased employment opportunities.”
As part of its Student Advantage programme, Microsoft will provide Office 365 and Office Pro Plus to all students within the district, as well as access to OneDrive, its cloud-based information storage system.
Microsoft will also offer technical support to ensure the district’s educational materials will run properly on wireless devices and to enable students to access their device, the network and applications with one login detail.
In a blog post Margo Day, Microsoft’s vice president of US education, indicated that Microsoft is committed to helping staff to improve their teaching with its technology.
“It’s critical to help teachers reduce the time they spend on administrative tasks such as grading homework and with the use of tools such as shared OneNote Notebooks, this is finally possible,” Day said. “We believe that choice in devices is critical and we support the variety of our hardware partners with their diverse Windows 8 offerings. It may be that fourth graders will benefit from a more ruggedised laptop, whereas students in middle- or high-school need the flexibility of tablet devices.”
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