Dade delays tech rollout as other districts struggle

Tens of thousands of high school freshman and seventh graders were slated to get brand new, high tech hardware this fall as the Miami-Dade school district prepared to launch a massive rollout of digital devices, the Miami Herald reports. But after months of planning, sales pitches and dry runs, the first phase of the $63 million project has been pushed back. The reason? Early last month, at the same time Miami-Dade had hoped to begin distributing the first 35,000 devices across 147 schools, reports surfaced that similar endeavors in other corners of the country were unraveling: students easily bypassed iPad security settings; tablets were deployed only to be retrieved by the thousands; and one district scrapped its efforts altogether after spending $16 million…

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Amid grading controversy, Florida education chief Tony Bennett resigns

Tony Bennett resigned Thursday as Florida education commissioner following two days of controversy over school grades in his home state of Indiana, the Miami Herald reports. He made the announcement at a news conference in Tallahassee late Thursday morning. “The decision to resign is mine and mine alone, because I believe that when this discussion turns to an adult, we lose the discussion about making life better for children,” Bennett said. Coming to Florida from the Hoosier state last January, Bennett had faced mounting calls for his resignation in the wake of revelations, first reported by The Associated Press, that he interceded on behalf of an Indiana charter school run by a prominent Republican Party donor. On Thursday, he called those reports “malicious and unfounded.”

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Ex govs help launch Idaho education task force

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush visited Idaho on Tuesday to stump for public schools chief Tom Luna’s new education laws, saying similar changes are being implemented across the country and critics working to repeal the new laws should first wait for the results, the Miami Herald reports. Bush addressed a technology task force that was formed as part of Luna’s new education changes, which eventually will arm every high school student with a laptop while the state Board of Education considers making online courses a requirement for them to graduate in Idaho…

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New iPrep Academy gives students technology-rich environment

Miami-Dade Public Schools is tightening its embrace with the 21st century by unveiling the newest addition to its magnet school fleet, reports the Miami Herald: the iPrep Academy, a high school that will offer a personalized, technology-rich experience for students this fall at the school district’s administration building near downtown Miami.

“Geographically, it is near businesses and government organizations,” said Albert Pimienta, an administrator with the district’s Instructional Technology Department, which has been working on plans for the school. “But part of the curriculum is also an internship with a local business or government branch. Part of the students’ typical school day will be internship.” The school will give each student a laptop computer to use at the fully Wi-Fi enabled campus and at home. In addition, the curriculum will consist of both online and face-to-face classes at the Honors and Advanced Placement level. According to Pimienta, the combination of computer and traditional classes will give learning a more individualistic twist. “It will make the learning experience more personal,” he said. “It’s not the standard curriculum you see in normal high schools — it will be adapted for the environment.”

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