Print 21 comment(s) - last by bah12.. on Feb 10 at 1:09 PM

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) teamed up with Microsoft as part of its 1:1 device initiative

Closing the education gap in the U.S. has been a hot topic addressed by many tech companies as of late, and Microsoft is doing its part along with a Florida public school district to bring Windows devices to students. 

According to The Official Microsoft Blog, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) teamed up with Microsoft as part of its 1:1 device initiative, which seeks to place the technological tools in students' hands in order for them to gain the skills needed to succeed through K-12, college and eventually the workplace. 

The partnership between M-DCPS and Microsoft will result in the rollout of 100,000 Windows 8 devices by August 2015. Starting this spring, 13,000 elementary school students will get laptops while about 15,000 7th grade civics students and 9th grade world history students will get Windows 8 devices.

To top it off, M-DCPS’s 350,000 students will receive Office Pro Plus for free as part of Microsoft Student Advantage. 

[SOURCE: weebly]

"We applaud M-DCPS for carefully looking at the needs of its teachers and students before making the decision of which technology solution to implement," said Margo Day, vice president of U.S. Education at Microsoft. "We believe that choice in devices is critical and we support the variety of our hardware partners with their diverse Windows 8 offerings."
Earlier this week, many major tech companies backed President Barack Obama's ConnectED initiative with pledges totaling around $750 million. Tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have all pledged computers, mobile devices, internet service, discounts or cash. 
The ConnectED initiative aims to connect 99 percent of U.S. students to the Web via Internet-connected devices within five years. It will also make better use of existing funds to ensure internet connectivity and train teachers on the use of devices and Web services. 

Source: The Official Microsoft Blog

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I'm skeptical...
By MrBlastman on 2/7/2014 12:14:28 PM , Rating: 4
These tablet devices are neat--and their access to video and apps could provide some use, but let's face it, kids these days are lacking in their writing, spelling and mathematical abilities. It is atrocious compared with a couple of decades ago. I'd rather see money spent towards improving those plus critical-thinking skills than fancy gadgets.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By amanojaku on 2/7/2014 12:31:31 PM , Rating: 1
They're not all tablets; the elementary school students are getting laptops. Personally, I think this doesn't go far enough. MS should be including Visual Studio. When I was in school, we had Apple IIs and IIe's, and in junior high IIGS's, and programmed in BASIC. We did a few things, and eventually programmed "Space Invaders" from a guidebook. It was a lot of fun, as it taught us to be disciplined in writing syntax, and even involved math. We were so pumped with our progress that we learned not to give up when things went wrong. It also taught us the fundamentals of technology, which is something everyone will need in the future. Everything is a computer these days, even your thermostat!

RE: I'm skeptical...
By MrBlastman on 2/7/2014 12:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
Ahhh now those are fond memories. I spent so many hours in front of those Apple IIs. :) I'd write all sorts of things above and beyond what we had to for the class--a couple of which were text-based adventure games. My favorite assignment was a patriotic one where we had to animate a "trailer" about a country and my partner and I drew France. I managed to code within it subliminal messages such as "Give us an A" that would appear onscreen briefly and dissappear while the flag was waving.

Ahhhh. Great times those were.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By DanNeely on 2/7/2014 12:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
Visual Studio Express is free, and while I wouldn't want to use it on the job, there's nothing in VSPro (or higher) that's needed to learn how to program.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By amanojaku on 2/7/2014 1:07:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but who's going to install it? These laptops are provided by MS, so, my original statement stands: "MS should be including Visual Studio."

FYI, DT admins. I occasionally get an error when previewing posts.

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RE: I'm skeptical...
By Flunk on 2/7/2014 2:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
See, everyone needs Visual Studio!

RE: I'm skeptical...
By rsmech on 2/7/2014 1:09:37 PM , Rating: 4
When you and I were in school we didn't have our own device, the class or the lab did. It was structured use. You still focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic. My daughter has a pad for school and many of the parents feel as I do. The way they are being used is a distraction more than anything at school and home.

Could they be more useful, yes but they are just handed out and everyone thinks learning just increased because students now have a device in their hands. Implementation is poor.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By MrBlastman on 2/7/2014 1:45:20 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. In the 80s our usage of technology was structured! There was a time and place for it with the majority of time spent on academics. They are totally going about all of this wrong, these days. They don't even teach cursive anymore for crying out loud!

(Not that I write with a pen much these days anyways.)

RE: I'm skeptical...
By bah12 on 2/7/2014 5:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
They don't even teach cursive anymore for crying out loud!
Good f'in riddens. I've always thought cursive was a waste of a youthful mind. At the age in which they teach it, the mind is like playdough. I cannot think of a more wasteful exercise than to teach an already reading and writing proficient student how to do it all over again in a slightly different alphabet, all so they can handwrite at a marginally increased speed.

The english language has 2 options, easy to read harder to write plain text. Or easy to write harder to read cursive. This day in age the later has no place, kill it...kill it now. Even if the zombie apocalypse comes it isn't like we cannot print, and all written word would be lost.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By 1prophet on 2/8/2014 9:03:00 AM , Rating: 2
Reasons why you cursive should be taught.

more here

Putting pen to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else, even in this age of e-mails, texts and tweets. In fact, learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By 1prophet on 2/8/2014 9:04:30 AM , Rating: 2
Reasons why cursive should be taught.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By bah12 on 2/10/2014 12:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not suggesting we just let them play angry birds instead of using this time for teaching. What I'm suggesting is that at this age we could inject better skills than cursive. Some may be even better at stimulating the brain. Heck teach them a second language. Or more advanced mathematics, or art, or music.

My point is that they spend a very large amount of time and effort learning the same language twice, and at a time when there are far more interesting uses of their growing mind.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By wallijonn on 2/10/2014 10:56:00 AM , Rating: 2
Good f'in [riddance]. I've always thought cursive was a waste of a youthful mind.

A hundred years ago one would make their mark on a piece of paper and was duly witnessed by someone who could actually read and write.

Today's students do not know how to spell, read nor write. They make a squiggle mark as a signature. They are lost without digital calculator and watch apps. on their cell phones. They are technology dependent, slaves to technology for the rest of their lives.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By bah12 on 2/10/2014 1:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
They are technology dependent, slaves to technology for the rest of their lives.
And it was no different 100 years ago. Technology changes what we deem necessary knowledge to pass on. Do you think back then every child knew how to craft a stone spear or hunt a bison. At one point in history it would have been considered vital knowledge, yet as technology advanced the need to teach our children such antiquated skills diminished. Consequently it also allowed us to start teaching them how to read/write/spell. The very virtues you admire were once considered not important at all, in fact the stability technology brought to our life is what propelled us to advance those skills. When you weren't spending the majority of your time hunting, and trying to stay alive, you then have time to create language, mathematics, reading, and writing.

So yes we are a slave to technology, but that isn't something new.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By Jeffk464 on 2/7/2014 1:34:17 PM , Rating: 5
Its the responsibility of parents to buy this type of thing not the tax payer. Not to out right wing reclaimer but thats just how it is.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By hpglow on 2/8/2014 1:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
Way to give poor kids a greater disadvantage in life! I bet you turn down funding for schools on your ballot every two years and then wonder why crime is on the rise. Listen kids are our future and we need to give the smartest the best chance to thrive not just the self-entitled over-privledged. I'm not saying we should buy one per kid because computer labs worked just fine when I was growing up, but to throw everything on a parent's shoulder is retarded. Anyone who throws a statement out like that has no idea what it's like to starve because their parents had two jobs and no money.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By coburn_c on 2/7/2014 2:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
Don't worry, our kids will no longer learn to write, spell or do math. We have software for that. Don't even need to read books anymore, just make them smart enough to work the machines and fill out the reports.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By bah12 on 2/7/2014 5:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
And I have no idea how to use an abacus, or hook up an oxen to a carriage. So what? What is necessary to succeed in life changes, get over it you technophobe. I'll wait for your response while you go chop wood for the boiler in your hut in the woods so it can get back up to pressure, so you can fire up the electricity for 5 min at a time :)

RE: I'm skeptical...
By Motoman on 2/7/2014 8:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
...really? You're going to compare literacy and math skills to ox-drawn carriages?

Literacy and math skills are, by far, the most important skills to teach to children. Nothing else even matters if you don't cover those two. And if the school district's not as$-backwards, they should be teaching children in a manner that fosters critical thinking skills as well.

THEN you layer on technology. After the kids are literate and have all the math bases covered. Use them as tools, as appropriate, to assist in improving those skills perhaps.

RE: I'm skeptical...
By atechfan on 2/9/2014 5:51:22 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Once you can read and have basic math skills, you can teach yourself almost anything.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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