Luna's tech task force approves recommendations

Luna's tech task force approves recommendations

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by Ty Brennan

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 13, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 10:30 PM

BOISE -- It was one of the most contentious pieces of legislation during the 2011 legislative session, and now a task force has unanimously voted on how to implement new technology in the classroom.

It's all part of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's Students Come First plan.

"There's nothing more important in Students Come First than this component because it's going to prepare every child for the 21st century,” said Luna.

Luna says he's excited to see the unanimous decision made by the task force on how to move forward with implementing laptops to every high school student and teacher over the next five years.

"This is the part of Students Come First that makes sure we have equal access and opportunity for every student in Idaho,” said Luna.

Here are some of the rules the task force has set regarding the use of the laptops.

- All schools will have to establish an acceptable use policy, which will outline what kinds of websites can be accessed, among other things.
- District staff will be able to monitor all activity on the laptop to ensure acceptable use.
- Students are allowed to install personal things on the laptop, like pictures and music as long as it doesn't hinder network or the laptop.

As far as implementing the laptops into the classroom, the task force has asked for more hours of professional development.  They say this will allow teachers more time to come up with ways to use the laptops in their daily lessons.

"The most effective professional development is teachers teaching other teachers," said Stephanie Cook, Idaho Teacher of the Year and subcommittee member.

The recommendation is to increase professional development time from 22 hours to 72 hours. Luna says that increased time will be covered by the budget already set.

The next step for the task force is to present its recommendations to the Legislature when the session begins in January.  Luna doesn't expect any issues.

"I'll strongly support these recommendations going forward and I expect the Legislature and the governor to agree to them also,” said Luna.

A referendum vote to do away with Luna's Student Comes First plan is set to go up for a vote in Nov. 2012.

Luna says he isn't worried and believes that once people see the success of the plan, they'll change their minds.

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