One dozen Maine students shared a stage today with Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Governor Angus King to demonstrate as King reported the iBook program in the state, according to an Associated Press article.
King said, “his goal of putting a computer on the lap of all middle school students in Maine ‘is exceeding my inflated expectations.'”
Students demonstrated projects, including a video documentary and video poems, on a large screen behind the governor at Portland High School.
Getting the program in place and keeping it has not been easy for King. The US$25 million plan has come under fire in the wake of a weakening economy that has left Maine with a dangerous shortfall in its state budget. Legislators have already proposed trimming millions off the plan to go to other programs, and Gov. King called the idea to shelve the plan all together “a historic mistake.”
King noted that the state received a generous deal from Apple, which provided iBooks, networking gear and other material for $10 to $15 million less than market value. King also noted that the state is getting favorable coverage elsewhere in the country and suggested that the state legislature would “look ridiculous” by backing out of the contract at this late date.
“I’m here to report on the progress of the largest educational technology project in the history of the world, here in the state of Maine, and it hasn’t been easy, has it?” King said.
Earlier this year, King pledged to not “walk away from it,” and said that the longer he works on the initiative, the more committed to it he is.