Eleven middle schools in New Orleans, La. will get iBooks as part of a US$4 million project approved this week, according to The Times-Picayune’s Brian Thevenot. Thevenot’s news comes in a new article entitled Eleven schools to get laptops.
The schools are buying about 2,000 iBooks which will be distributed to each eighth grader next month. To be used in language arts and math classes, the iBooks themselves will not be allowed to leave the school. Thevenot reported that the systems will be equipped with software from San Diego, Calif.-based CompassLearning, which helps to diagnose the individual student’s weaknesses.
Thevenot said that the decision to buy iBooks instead of PC-compatible laptops drew criticism from the school system’s technology chief Lonnie Luce and others. In fact, Apple was not the lowest bid for the schools — IBM beat Apple by about $160,000. Luce argued that having a single platform to support in the PC-dominated district would be less of a headache and would ultimately cost less money. A committee agreed with Luce, but CEO Al Davis and chief academic officer Ollie Tyler overruled their recommendation.