County Schools to Provide 40,000 Laptops, Tablets

Devices will support Common Core curriculum.

Public schools are preparing to distribute thousands of laptops and tablets to local students MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Public schools are preparing to distribute thousands of laptops and tablets to local students

Montgomery County schools are planning to hand out 40,000 laptops and mobile tablets to students in the school system.

The first devices will be provided to 67 schools that are part of the district’s Technology Modernization program, according to a school system press release. During the 2014 – 2015 school year, the county will allocate 30,000 devices to students in grades 3, 5 and 6 and another 10,000 devices to high school social studies classes.

The board of education will vote to approve the purchase of the equipment, estimated to cost $15.03 million, on Tuesday. That amount was approved in the county’s 2015 budget for fiscal year 2014-2015, which began July 1.

Officials also expect to get some funding from the Federal Education Rate (E-Rate) program, which supports the use of technology in the classroom.

The initiative is set to expand in coming years, according to the announcement. Eventually, kindergartners, first- and second-graders will receive Android-based tablets, and students in grades 3 through 12 will be provided Chromebook laptops.

“This initiative represents the next big step in our effort to infuse more technology in the classroom,” Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr said in a news release. “We know that this technology, in the hands of a well-trained, highly motivated teacher, can make a huge difference in how we are preparing our students to thrive in their future.”

Montgomery County is Maryland’s largest school system with more than 151,000 students.

The county plans to partner with Google and the company’s suite of education apps to create a cloud-based platform that complies with federal and local education and privacy standards.

This program expands on the continuing school system efforts to install interactive whiteboards in all elementary school classrooms and wireless networks in every system facility.

The devices support Montgomery’s “Curriculum 2.0,” a fully digital teaching plan that aligns with Common Core Standards. Nine schools piloted the technology program in the recently completed school year.

“Our community has been asking MCPS to make more technology available in the classroom, and I am excited to begin ramping up our efforts to provide students with 21st century learning spaces,” Starr said in the release. “This technology initiative will enhance teaching and learning and provide our educators with the tools they need to engage students and individualize instruction to meet their needs.”


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