The plan calls for 17,500 new Chromebooks for grades 3-12 next year at a cost of $4.4 million, and $2.9 million in 2014-15 for 5,300 iPads for grades K-2. The district also wants to spend $48,000 next year to train teachers on using the devices in the classroom.
While other school districts have bought laptops for high school students, Sioux Falls has been held back by the price tag. But at $279 per Chromebook and $499 per iPad, the new devices are considered relatively affordable.
And with the state taking the Dakota STEP tests online in spring 2014 and beyond, Sioux Falls administrators worry that demands on technology during the testing period will disrupt class time if they do nothing.