Each of Miami-Dade’s 350,000 public school students will have access to a digital device by 2015, according to a plan approved Wednesday by the Miami-Dade School Board.
Board members unanimously endorsed the proposal by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to lease more than 100,000 devices, which will be paid off over a period of up to six years. The $63 million initiative, among the largest in the country, aims to provide devices such as laptops or tablets for students from kindergarten through 12th grade who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.
“It’s unprecedented in the United States, this type of purchase,” said Justin Bathon, a director of the University of Kentucky’s CASTLE center on school technology leadership.
Wednesday’s vote comes as federal and state governments are pushing schools toward online testing and digital curricula, and during the early stages of a broad effort to move Miami-Dade’s classrooms into the digital learning era. In Florida, all state assessments will be taken online by the 2014/15 school year. By the following year, state law requires that all schools have digital textbooks.