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MCPS to roll out 40,000 laptops, tablets to classrooms

By Aaron Kraut

Friday - 7/11/2014, 8:35am  ET

Laptop learning in the 
classroom, via MCPSMCPS on Thursday announced an initiative that would eventually bring 40,000 laptops and tablets to students in classrooms at all schools around the county.

The $15.03 million purchase of the devices must be approved by the Board of Education, which meets on Tuesday and will see a presentation on the technology rollout.

The multi-year effort to provide all students with access to mobile computers on a cloud-based network started last school yearn. Nine MCPS schools piloted the use of Chromebook laptops and Android-based tablets to create videos, podcasts and websites for assignments, allow students and their parents to review lessons at home and let teachers provide real-time assistance to students doing homework.

The rollout plan for the 2014-2015 school year would bring Chromebook laptops to students in Grades 3 through 12, while students in kindergarten through Grade 2 would use primarily tablets. According to a MCPS press release, the devices will first go to the 67 schools part of the school district’s Technology Modernization program.

The remaining schools will receive the devices throughout the year. If approved, 30,000 devices will come to elementary and middle schools for use by students in Grades 3, 5 and 6. Another 10,000 devices will be provided to high schools for use in social studies classes.

“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,” Superintendent Joshua Starr said in the press 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.”

A MCPS-produced video accompanied the press release. In the video, students at the pilot schools are shown using the devices to create a video trailer for a book passage and teachers say the technology has made more kids more engaged.

Funding for the purchase of the devices came in the FY 15 Operating Budget approved in May by the Montgomery County Council with more funding help through a federal program to help schools increase access to the internet and technology.

According to the press release, MCPS got bids from six vendors and has selected CDW Government LLC to provide the devices.

MCPS said teacher training for how to use and teach with the devices will start this summer and continue during the school year.

Photo via MCPS