Association wants tablets for every student in Alaska


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Alaska needs $15.6 million from the state and $9.6 million from local districts over a four-year period to put tablet computers in the hands of each student, a state school board association technology leader said.

Speaking earlier this month before the Sitka Chamber of Commerce, Bob Whicker, director of the Alaska Association of School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning, outlined a strategy to create the state’s “1:1 Digital Initiative,” which stands for the ratio of students to digital devices.

Whicker, a former education technology executive at Apple, said more than 140 school sites across the state practice a preliminary version of 1:1 at a cost of $200 per student — with the state contributing $120 and local district $80. He says teachers report positive changes.

“We’ve had these 1:1 projects out and about for a while and CDL districts across the state we get teachers reporting to us that student engagement is up, attendance is up, behavior is down,” Whicker said according to KCAW. “This was an iPad project across nine districts in 2011 and it was aimed at literacy and we saw a doubling of expected gains in literacy by all student and for those student 2.5 years behind in reading we actually saw those scores triple. So I’m not saying that’s going to happen, we’re not guaranteed this, but it’s looking like there is something going on.”

Read the rest of KCAW’s report.

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Alaska, Education & STEM, State & Local News, States