With students across Maine getting ready to head back to school, 7th grade students and teachers will take part in the largest deployment of technology into the classroom in Maine’s history involving, of course, iBooks. As MacCentral
reported earlier this week, educators in the state that have been part of the iBook pilot program are starting to share their own perspective with other teachers.
As part of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, all 7th grade students and teachers across the state will receive iBooks at the start of the school year. And tomorrow, Sept. 5, at 10 am, Gov. Angus King will travel to Shapleigh Middle School in Kittery, Maine, to talk with students and teachers about the plan to make computers and access to the Internet an integral a part of the learning process. During his talk with the students, King will discuss the results from nine schools that piloted this program during the past spring.
Feedback from the schools has shown increased attendance, less tardiness, and greater student engagement in learning. The governor will also talk about the future of the program and how Maine will serve as a national model on the convergence of technology and learning.
Already 239 schools across Maine have received a wireless network that will allow students access the resource materials available through the Maine School & Library Network.
In January Apple negotiated a contract with the Maine Department of Education to provide 36,000 iBook systems to seventh and eighth grade students and teachers across the state. Part of the Maine Learning Technology Wireless Classroom Solution, the effort’s goal is to make Maine students “become one of the most digitally capable groups in the world.”
The state of Maine’s department of education put out a request for proposals in mid-September, and announced in December that Apple was the top bidder. At the time, the state indicated that the deal would be finalized after the successful negotiation of an agreement and the requisite regulatory approval.
The guidelines for the plan call for seventh grade students and faculty to be equipped with computers by the fall of this year. Eighth grade students will be equipped in 2003. Apple’s contract with the Maine Department of Education runs through the end of June 2006, with the possibility of additional extensions.