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Eye On Boise

Tech task force considers different rollout for student computers

The “Students Come First” technology task force has four subcommittees: “One-to-One Governance and Instructional Integration,” with the “one-to-one” referring to the goal of providing one “mobile compputing device” for every student; “Classroom Technology Integration;” “Platform, Specifics and Procurement;” and “Online Learning Implementation.”

State Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, chairman of the “One-to-One” subcommittee, was the first to present his panel's recommendations this morning. They include having all schools provide face-to-face parent training as a required measure before students are allowed to take their new school-issued laptop computers home. “Let's engage the parents in this process,” he said. The subcommittee also is recommending that districts establish policies for use of the computers, covering everything from Internet filtering to appropriate use; suggests an insurance fee for students to pay; and recommends a different rollout of the laptop program: Instead of going first to all 9th graders in the state, they'd go first to a third of the state's school districts, so that all high school grade levels in those districts would get them at once.

That could create problems with the new requirement for online courses, DeMordaunt noted. Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he thought that would be a problem, as the state shouldn't require online courses for kids who don't yet have computers. If the state goes that route, the Legislature should change the online course requirement to phase it in in a way that matches the computer rollout, Goedde said.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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