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Task Force Recommends Changes to Tech Education Plan

A statewide task force has approved more than 50 recommendations on how Idaho should implement education changes that will phase in laptops for every high school teacher and student while making online courses a requirement to graduate. The task force was created in May as part of sweeping new education changes backed by public schools chief Tom Luna. The group is charged with executing Luna’s plan to boost technology in the classroom and held a final meeting to vote on a list of recommendations for lawmakers to consider next year.

Among the biggest changes in the list of task force recommendations: Idaho abandon plans to phase in laptops for students grade by grade, starting with high school freshman in 2013. the committee instead recommended that the computers be deployed in 9th through 12th grades, starting with one-third of all high school students. But with the change, Idaho may also need to alter a new rule requiring Idaho high school students to take at least two credits online to graduate.

Under the other recommendations made by the task force Tuesday, teachers and students statewide would be given the same model laptop and school districts would offer parental training as part of the laptop program, making it a requirement if students want to take their devices home. Another recommendation would allow districts to also provide laptops to school counselors, librarians, and principals, in addition to teachers and students.

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