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St. Paul schools look at Dell for Internet-based learning

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE
  • Star Tribune
  • January 16, 2013 - 7:25 PM

The St. Paul school board is considering contracting with computer maker Dell for development of a "teaching and learning platform," or website, that would give students the power to learn anytime, anywhere.

The project could cost about $4.3 million over five years, according to estimates, and would be funded by a $9 million per year technology levy approved by voters in November.

Dell was recommended by a panel that sifted through proposals last spring.

School board members received an update on the technology initiative during a committee meeting Tuesday night and are expected to decide next Tuesday whether to authorize contract talks with Dell.

Kate Wilcox-Harris, assistant superintendent of academic and technology innovation, said Wednesday that state law prohibited the district from detailing other proposals until a contract is negotiated.

The platform would give students 24/7 access to class materials and other digital resources, allow parents to monitor their child's work and supply teachers with curriculum matching their students' needs.

A struggling student, for example, could turn to the website to revisit course work electronically. A bored high school junior could take classes in the morning, work an internship in the afternoon and complete online courses at night.

Wilcox-Harris said the initiative also will require the district to develop curriculum and invest in new hardware. To that end, officials are seeking applicants for four action teams to be assembled next month in the areas of curriculum, infrastructure, engagement/outreach and professional development.

For information, go to: academics.spps.org. Anthony Lonetree • 651-925-5036

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