Maine’s program of equipping every seventh grader with an iBook is already making a difference, its proponents say. A Globe and Mail article reports that those in favor of the program claim that, even after just a month or so, the teacher-student experience is being fundamentally changed.
Maine Governor Angus King first announced a laptop initiative for seventh grade students two years ago — the contract was won by Apple to supply the State with iBooks. Since the announcement, King has come under fire for the cost of the program, which the state threatened to cancel on a number of occasions. Governor King recently spent some time with MacCentral to discuss the initiative. See our Oct. 21 article for details.
The Globe and Mail article offers the following endorsements for the program:
Eliott Soloway, a professor of education and computer science at the University of Michigan: “All the evidence suggests that when [certain] conditions are met, technology has an impact. One of those conditions is, of course, access. There is absolute data that say, indeed, computer technology leads to increased understanding and leads to increased effectiveness in the classroom.”
Maine Governor Angus King: “It is way beyond anyone’s expectations. The one-to-one relationship of this incredible tool has exploded the educational process in Maine. Teachers who were opponents are now proponents. Parents are involved. The students are engaged.”
Anna Bragg, an English teacher at William S. Cohen Middle School in Bangor, who has 20 years experience in the classroom: “I’m using the computers a lot for our writing program. One of the neat things is the kids can do a piece of writing. I can retrieve it, make suggestions, make corrections, give it back to them and we haven’t used any paper.”
This week, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian high-school students rank among the leaders in the world in terms of access to computers at home and at school. A typical Canadian 15-year-old attends a school where there’s one computer for every six students. The Globe and Mail reports that the average among the countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is one computer for every 13 students, while the U.S. average is one computer for every five students. However, less than 40 per cent of computers in U.S. schools are connected to the Internet.