Charlottesville Virginia introduced Windows tablets this month at its secondary schools—and good for them to do it now so that teachers get the summer to plan for next year.

The local paper reports that “school officials selected the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 model, a Windows 7 tablet with a 10.1-inch display, protective case, stylus and rollup keyboard.”  That’s an interesting choice without the benefit of a big app store.  I’m looking forward to hearing how the keyboards work for extensive writing assignments.

For districts considering tablets, the good news is that Smarter Balanced & PARCC Will Support Tablets for Testing and that will probably include these 10″ screens.

Andy Jones, an instructional technology resource teacher, said, “We’re leveling the playing field for students,” he said. “While a lot of kids already had access to technology, there were a lot that didn’t.”

Technology to power Blended Learning to Advance Student Thinking, or BLAST, cost about $2.4M which was funded by state technology funds, redeployed instructional materials funds, and a payment plan. The district is using Moodle as its LMS>

High school kids will take the tabs home but not middle school students (but that will probably change soon).  I hope they are collecting a student use fee of at least $50 like Moorseville NC does to cover insurance and maintenance.

I hope they study school models in The Rise of Blended Learning and Opportunity Culture to learn more about how to leverage talent and technology with thoughtful blended learning models.

The shift is on.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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